American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

A gripping tour de force of investigative journalism that takes us deep into the investigation behind one of the most frightening and enigmatic serial killers in modern American history, and into the ranks of a singular American police force: the Alaska PD.Most of us have never heard of Israel Keyes. But he is one of the most ambitious, meticulous serial killers of modern...

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Title:American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
Author:Maureen Callahan
Rating:
Edition Language:English

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century Reviews

  • Emily

    American Predator is by far one of the best true crime books I've read. It has a fascinating format - it starts with Israel Keyes' final victim and works backward. It sounds like this could get sloppy, but Maureen Callahan weaves it together so well. I sometimes have trouble reading true crime because of how dry it can be, but this book was addicting as hell (and not dry at all). The author tells a story, and doesn't just shout facts at you. I loved it, and I highly recommend picking up this

    American Predator is by far one of the best true crime books I've read. It has a fascinating format - it starts with Israel Keyes' final victim and works backward. It sounds like this could get sloppy, but Maureen Callahan weaves it together so well. I sometimes have trouble reading true crime because of how dry it can be, but this book was addicting as hell (and not dry at all). The author tells a story, and doesn't just shout facts at you. I loved it, and I highly recommend picking up this book if you need a new true crime book.

  • Johann (jobis89)

    “If he had been about five seconds slower getting out of his car and going into his apartment, he would have been The One that night.”

    When we talk about the most prolific and horrifying serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer etc, we should be adding another name to the list - Israel Keyes.

    Prior to the hype around this book, and seeing that Last Podcast on the Left had covered him across a few episodes, I really had never heard of this guy before, which baffles me!

    “If he had been about five seconds slower getting out of his car and going into his apartment, he would have been The One that night.”

    When we talk about the most prolific and horrifying serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer etc, we should be adding another name to the list - Israel Keyes.

    Prior to the hype around this book, and seeing that Last Podcast on the Left had covered him across a few episodes, I really had never heard of this guy before, which baffles me! Keyes was a true monster, evil incarnate. Some of the details of his crimes left me feeling sick to my stomach and incredibly uneasy before bedtime.

    Well-written true crime books are hard to come by, which is why I choose to mostly get my true crime fix through podcasts, but American Predator is one of the best I’ve read. It’s informative and detailed, without becoming dry and tedious. Callahan tells the story of Israel Keyes by starting at what is technically the end, by kicking it off with his arrest. And this works really well, as the narrative is told in such a manner where you learn the crimes in a similar order to law enforcement.

    Something I found quite alarming was the control that Keyes had over the investigation, as well as the stubbornness of prosecutor Kevin Feldis, who forced his position as interrogator when really this should have been left to those who had more experience. But hey, the criminal justice system be fucked up sometimes!

    All in all, a fantastic true crime novel. This junkie would recommend adding it to your TBR! 5 stars.

  • Peter Monn

    One of the best true crime books I have ever read! My full review will be up on my booktube channel at

  • megs_bookrack

    :

    My face upon completion:

    You want to feel this way whilst reading a true crime, don't you??? Quite honestly, this was by far the most disturbing book I read in October.

    is a nonfiction account of the capture and subsequent investigation of serial killer, Israel Keyes. Fortunately for the reader, this is much more than a droll portrayal of one monster's heinous crimes. This is a compelling recounting of the investigation of his case,

    :

    My face upon completion:

    You want to feel this way whilst reading a true crime, don't you??? Quite honestly, this was by far the most disturbing book I read in October.

    is a nonfiction account of the capture and subsequent investigation of serial killer, Israel Keyes. Fortunately for the reader, this is much more than a droll portrayal of one monster's heinous crimes. This is a compelling recounting of the investigation of his case, beginning with his final kill and going backward through time.

    I thought this was a clever formatting choice by the author. It made the story seem more like you were part of the investigation versus starting at the beginning of his life and moving forward that way.

    Reading about Israel was completely disturbing for me. Here was a man, a contemporary of mine, born in the same year, and to walk through his crimes was shocking. The fact that he traveled extensively in the state where I was living at the time was the icing on the cake.

    His level of arrogance yet ability to plan and to leave no evidence was bone-chilling. He used his knowledge of surveillance and technology to constantly fly under the radar. One would think his arrogance could possibly make him slip up but it never really did until the final case when it seems things were beginning to unravel a bit.

    Making the case even more disturbing was the seemingly random selection of his victims. There's so much more but I don't want to give anything away.

    In short, read this book.

  • Brandon

    American Predator is the story of Alaskan serial killer Israel Keyes, his crimes and how he was captured.

    I was chatting with a friend when the subject of what I was currently reading came up. I mentioned this book and I began thinking about why I’m always drawn to true crime – specifically serial killers/mass murderers. I certainly don’t admire them nor do I particularly care why they do what they do. Then I realized that I like to see how they inevitably slip up; what is the tiny mistake they

    American Predator is the story of Alaskan serial killer Israel Keyes, his crimes and how he was captured.

    I was chatting with a friend when the subject of what I was currently reading came up. I mentioned this book and I began thinking about why I’m always drawn to true crime – specifically serial killers/mass murderers. I certainly don’t admire them nor do I particularly care why they do what they do. Then I realized that I like to see how they inevitably slip up; what is the tiny mistake they make that lands them in prison. American Predator is one of those books that spotlights just such a mistake. In fact, it was a whole baker’s dozen of mistakes.

    In late 2012, writer Maureen Callahan penned an article for the NY Post about a recently deceased killer who for years, managed to fly under the radar of authorities, travelling across the United States taking the lives of complete strangers. Shortly after the story’s publication, Maureen felt there was a deeper story that needed to be told. After years of investigative research, Callahan produces a comprehensive look at Israel Keyes.

    The book begins with what would be the downfall of Keyes, the kidnapping of Samantha Koenig – a young woman in Anchorage, Alaska. What follows is an unbelievable series of errors on the part of Keyes that somehow goes undetected by authorities – it was almost like Keyes was hoping to be caught. Once in police custody following a traffic stop in Texas, a series of interrogations and negotiations with Keyes will uncover his web of death cast over the entirety of the United States.

    Pieced together through hundreds of hours of interviews with those who worked the case as well as those close to Keyes himself, author Maureen Callahan tells the story of a meticulous murderer who somehow managed to go undetected for years. As for how Keyes is portrayed, he comes off as a man doing an impression of a serial killer. I don’t mean to make light of the seriousness of his crimes, but he comes across as such a.. loser. He sits there and quotes lines from Hannibal Lecter movies, idolises Ted Bundy and rubs himself through his pants while giving cryptic clues to a team of investigators desperate to uncover his many murders. I’m not saying I’d prefer some sort of “honorable” slaughterer because such a thing doesn’t exist – it just seems fascinating to me how he managed to be so successful while coming off as such a total amateur.

    Subject’s character aside, I thought Callahan did a great job producing a compelling account of a modern day murderer and his ability to operate so smoothly in a post 9/11 world. American Predator is a solid read that should satisfy true crime aficionados looking for insight into a relatively unknown subject.

  • Valerity (Val)

    This book could really give you nightmares thinking about this man randomly traveling the US, with his buried ‘kill kits’ all over ready for him when the mood struck. Maureen Callahan does a great job introducing us to a frightening killer whose true scope will never be known. There was apparently some attempts to cover up his story by the government for a while when they caught up to him. This was during a period that they were trying to negotiate for information from him. He did give up

    This book could really give you nightmares thinking about this man randomly traveling the US, with his buried ‘kill kits’ all over ready for him when the mood struck. Maureen Callahan does a great job introducing us to a frightening killer whose true scope will never be known. There was apparently some attempts to cover up his story by the government for a while when they caught up to him. This was during a period that they were trying to negotiate for information from him. He did give up bodies, but due to time passing, they were not recoverable. This case is really one for the books, and he was just an anomaly, and that there aren’t others like him wandering around out there. But I think that would be naive wishful thinking now. A must-read for for true crime lovers.

    Also can be seen on my WordPress blog:

  • Diane in Australia

    Israel Keyes was a serial killer par excellence. He was usually the smartest person in the room ... any room, all kinds of people ... including the police, attorneys, and the FBI agents ... and he was well aware of this fact. He was very much 'at home in his own skin'.

    The author spent over a decade researching how the FBI finally caught him, and what transpired afterwards. She did many interviews with folks who knew Israel, and several members of various law enforcement. She had access to

    Israel Keyes was a serial killer par excellence. He was usually the smartest person in the room ... any room, all kinds of people ... including the police, attorneys, and the FBI agents ... and he was well aware of this fact. He was very much 'at home in his own skin'.

    The author spent over a decade researching how the FBI finally caught him, and what transpired afterwards. She did many interviews with folks who knew Israel, and several members of various law enforcement. She had access to classified FBI files.

    She does not drag us through a trial scenario. Yay! Most trials are reported in such a mind-numbing way they create a massive 'dead' spot in any book.

    Due to ineptitude, from most participants, the opportunity to discover ALL of Keyes' murders slipped through their fingers. Infuriating how stupid some people can be.

    If you like true crime, you'd probably like this book. A serial killer ... highly intelligent, physically powerful, emotions aptly handled, and a pure enjoyment of kidnapping, and killing ... not many like him ... thank goodness.

    4 Stars = Outstanding. It definitely held my interest.

  • JanB

    Billed as the most terrifying serial killer you’ve never heard of, I first heard of Israel Keyes on the podcast Crime Junkie. The why, where, and how he was caught, and the hours of interrogation by investigators, make up the bulk of this fascinating book.

    Despite multiple blunders by the police, Keyes was arrested for the kidnapping of a teenage girl as the result of a fortuitous traffic stop. Unfortunately, she had been murdered and they soon discovered they had a serial murderer on their hands

    Billed as the most terrifying serial killer you’ve never heard of, I first heard of Israel Keyes on the podcast Crime Junkie. The why, where, and how he was caught, and the hours of interrogation by investigators, make up the bulk of this fascinating book.

    Despite multiple blunders by the police, Keyes was arrested for the kidnapping of a teenage girl as the result of a fortuitous traffic stop. Unfortunately, she had been murdered and they soon discovered they had a serial murderer on their hands whose victims numbered in the double digits.

    Details emerged that made him an aberration among serial killers. Although he’d been killing for decades, he didn’t fit the MO of a typical serial murderer, nor did he have a ‘type”. He avoided detection through meticulous planning and traveling off the grid. Meanwhile, Keyes maintained a ‘normal’ family and work life, which is the most frightening fact of all. Truly the stuff of nightmares. His personal life and background were explored for clues to his psychological make-up.

    Unfortunately, many of his secrets died with him and some case files are still closed to the public. But the hope is the hours of investigation and interviews will help police and profilers understand and apprehend these killers.

    This is narrative non-fiction at its best and was another fantastic buddy read with my friend Marialyce, which inspired a great discussion. We both highly recommend this book as one of the better books in the genre. For our duo review of this and other books please visit

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    Israel Keyes is certainly the most terrifying serial killer that you have never heard of. There are a lot of reasons why he has flown under the radar of the general public and most true crime fans. One is the FBI never extracted a full confession from him. Two, the police screw up so many things regarding Keyes while keeping him in custody and while processing his crimes that no one is crowing about the Big, Bad Monster that has been apprehended. Through incompetance, he is allowed to commit suicide before his victims can all be identified (Jeffrey Epsteinesque).

    Keyes may have never revealed all of his victims, but with adequate handling, he certainly would have most likely revealed more than what will ever be known.

    I can get lost down a long and winding rabbit hole discussing all the functioning psychopaths among us. Some of you are married to them or have been married to them. They make really successful, ruthless businessmen, lawyers, and bankers. They focus well on objectives, and morality is something they find to be a laughable concept, though on the surface they appear to be pillars of the community.

    Keyes is a meticulous killer and operates without detection for fourteen years. He maintains a family unit, which is unusual. He is self described as two people. One is the man everyone expects him to be, and the other takes pleasure in torturing, raping, and killing people. This story starts at the end because that is where Keyes wants to begin. He is willing to talk about the one that tripped him up and dangle the possibility of others.

    As the story unfolds, I keep thinking to myself that he makes some fundamental errors that are unlike him. Has he let the need, the desire to kill, build up too much that it makes him break his own rules? He certainly doesn’t strike me as the typical serial killer who is bored at not being caught and finally wants to bask in the limelight of his notoriety, like for instance the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader. Keyes even makes a point of wanting things kept out of the press for fear that his daughter will learn that her father is a monster. Keyes lives in Alaska and is always careful to drive down to the lower 48 to relieve his need to kill. The don’t-shit-where-you-live concept. He leaves kill kits buried all over the country that consist of cash, body disposal items, and weapons. I’m sure some of those are still out there, awaiting a man who will never return.

    Keyes’s parents are both religious nutters. He even describes them as “cult shoppers” who moved all over the country trying to find that new sect of religion that better fit their own beliefs. This criss crossing of the country may be why Keyes feels so comfortable travelling through multiple states, looking for the perfect victims. When his mother is questioned for information, she tells the authorities:

    *sigh*

    I can feel my whole body tensing when they finally pull over Israel Keyes in Texas for a routine traffic violation, but really they have an inkling that he is a man most wanted in Alaska. The description of the scene is so nerve wracking that I am muttering to myself, “Don’t let him go. Find a way to arrest him.” They don’t want to give a judge any excuse to let this guy walk. Maureen Callahan does an excellent job of making me forget that I know what I know in the moment. I’m one of those readers, though, who can read about the assassination of Lincoln and still be rooting for someone, anyone, to step in the way of Booth’s unalterable bullet. Alas, Lincoln always dies, and I will always still feel his passing acutely.

    So why does Keyes do it?

    is his answer.

    The frustrating part of the book and for the writer is all the unanswered questions to which we will probably never know the answers. His interrogation is handled with a high degree of ineptitude, and he frequently makes his questioners look stupid. Keyes is unique and doesn’t care about credited kills, unlike most other serial killers who brag about their deeds. This makes it much harder to deal with him or negotiate with him. He keeps control. He is the grand manipulator and constantly turns the tables on those trying to solicit any information from him. All he is concerned about is when they will execute him. When they can’t do that right, he controls that as well.

    This is a fascinating look into the criminal justice system and the inherent issues that need to be resolved. It is truly amazing that the most dangerous criminals with any degree of intelligence are ever caught.

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  • Kayla Dawn

    This read like fiction. Which is good in terms of reading experience but really terrifying considering the subject matter.

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