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

Viking. Jul. 2019. 304p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780525428640. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698191068. CRIME
New York Post journalist Callahan offers a riveting, propulsive account of a highly intelligent serial killer who skillfully evaded capture for years. Israel Keyes, a former soldier and itinerant contractor who planned an unspecified, horrific terrorist act, was arrested in 2012 in Texas after authorities connected him to an Alaska murder victim’s debit card. This book begins with Keyes’s grisly abduction and murder of an Anchorage teen and retraces his troubled and isolated upbringing. Callahan interviewed most of the case investigators and forced open court records to reveal Keyes’s countrywide killing sprees, providing an outstanding account of a serial murderer’s methods and the frantic, conflicted investigation into his crimes. Especially frightening is how Keyes easily avoided detection and then toyed with his captors and played prosecutors and federal agents against each other. Callahan recounts the story with a deft touch, blending multiple sources, including his court psychological profile, into a seamless narrative.
VERDICT Gripping and superbly researched, this is destined to be a true crime classic, alongside titles such as Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter. Hand to readers who enjoyed Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.
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