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.
I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Expected release date: July 2, 2019