Book Review: “American Predator” by Maureen Callahan

american predatorIt’s hard to say why so many of us find the subject of serial killers to be so interesting. Perhaps it makes us feel safer to read about real life monsters being brought to justice. Or maybe we want to know what signs to look out for in the people we come across in our everyday lives. Or maybe we just like to know that the monster isn’t us. Whatever the reason, Americans have a ravenous appetite for true crime stories, which makes the fact that the first true “21st century” serial killer isn’t more known a bit surprising.

Israel Keys is thought to have murdered at least 11 people dating as far back as 1996. He was very meticulous about each crime, keeping “murder kits” hidden all over the United States, and leaving so few clues that no one even thought to connect his crimes to the same person until he confessed to some after being caught in 2012. This book begins that year, with the crime that led to his capture in Anchorage, Alaska, and the subsequent investigation. The author’s descriptions of how he operated and his general state of mind are absolutely chilling without ever feeling lurid or sensational, while the FBI’s inquiry into his past and their many interrogations are riveting. It is possible that this whole case isn’t better known due to the many mistakes made in how it was handled, particularly by some local officials, but he was one of the most frightening killers to ever roam our highways, whose story one can hope law enforcement can learn from, and who we can all sleep more soundly knowing is no longer a threat. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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