... riveting ... a fine book—exhaustively researched and candid without being prurient—that should be as illuminating to law-enforcement as it is fascinating to the general reader. If only there were some way to keep it from being read by would-be serial killers.
A gripping and chilling look into how a serial killer operates in plain view and exactly what it takes to capture him, American Predator is a must-read for any true crime enthusiast ... an objective and insightful profile of not only her subject, but also of the law enforcement professionals investigating his crimes. Her lack of sentiment is refreshing as she never elevates Keyes to the level of pop-culture idol, but instead reveals his true nature ... Instead of glorifying Keyes’ sociopathy, Callahan strips it bare ... Using actual transcripts of these conversations, Callahan gives the reader a front-row seat to not just the psychology of a serial killer and master manipulator, but also the thought process of the law enforcement professionals interviewing him who are working equally hard to force him to tell them more than he thinks he is ... succeeds in unmasking the unglamorous truth that drives sociopaths like Keyes: They inhabit their world alone, every other human on the planet exists merely as prey.
... a riveting true crime saga ... With an even hand, [Callahan] details the power struggles between the Anchorage criminal justice system and the FBI as their cooperative efforts close in on the insidious Israel Keyes, who seems to have materialized out of thin air ... Callahan doesn't elide the truly gruesome nature of the violence in Keyes's wake; however, she still manages to maintain the dignity of those who lost their lives to this cruel individual's secret mission. American Predator reveals a horrifying truth about the human capacity for bloodlust.
The bottom drops out of your heart early in American Predator ... The first half of American Predator is propulsive and un-put-downable in its mounting dread. The second half suffers from slowed momentum, perhaps unavoidably, as investigators find themselves stymied ... Callahan’s approach is still a smart one. She puts us squarely in the headspace of the investigators and organically builds tension by showing us the case through their eyes. We learn what they learn when they learn it ... While the book doesn’t shy from detailing the extent of Keyes’ crimes, it never reads lurid. The author has, as much as is possible, remained respectful of the victims to whom the book is dedicated.
American Predator hooked me ... The core of the book is Callahan’s vivid recounting of the interrogation of Keyes ... The interrogations are chilling ... In the end, American Predator is unsatisfying in the sense that any nonfiction book about a serial killer must be: Despite all the efforts of his interrogators, we never get inside Keyes’ head. If we come to true crime to try to understand how a monster is born, we finish still in the dark, and maybe it’s darker. But Callahan’s portrait of this monster, and of the men and women who do their best to uncover his secrets, is one that will keep you up all night.
... a terrifying book, certainly the creepiest I’ve read in a long time. For anyone with even a passing interest in true crime, Maureen Callahan’s chilling account of little-known serial killer Israel Keyes is a must-read. I was glued to the pages, staying up way past my bedtime out of fear, anxiety and sheer anticipation. I needed to find out what horrible thing would happen next, and Keyes was all too ready to deliver ... Though the writing is neither lyrical nor enlightening, it hooks with its simple honesty, which had me frantically turning the pages ... just as gripping as any fictional thriller, but its veracity makes it even more disturbing ... This narrative strategy does the trick for most of the book, but as I neared the end, it began to feel more and more like filler for a story that unavoidably contains gaping holes ... While American Predator is descriptive and informative, there’s really a dearth of facts and evidence available for this case ... Given such little information to go off of, she paints a decent enough picture, but ultimately it feels bare-bones. This failing can’t be entirely the fault of the writer, who clearly has done her research. However, a deeper dive into the political intrigue and corruption swirling around Keyes would have strengthened the book ... not further investigating or at least clarifying the hair-raising implications it brings to the table feels not just unsatisfactory but lazy ... Still, I was captivated by the book and would recommend it to any true-crime aficionado who needs yet another reason to stay afraid of the dark.
... riveting, propulsive ... an outstanding account of a serial murderer’s methods and the frantic, conflicted investigation into his crimes ... Callahan recounts the story with a deft touch, blending multiple sources, including his court psychological profile, into a seamless narrative ... Gripping and superbly researched, this is destined to be a true crime classic, alongside titles such as Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter.
The subtitle of Callahan’s true-crime drama is a bit misleading, as the 'hunt' for Israel Keyes is over by page 60. But what follows is a fascinating attempt to profile a serial killer that defies categorization ... Keyes is terrifying, and his crimes horrific, but Callahan’s focus on the FBI’s attempts to learn about his other crimes makes for a truly edge-of-your-seat page-turner even without the “hunt.” A must for fans of Mindhunter (1995)—both the book and its recent Netflix adaptation—and the long-running police drama Criminal Minds.
... replete with disturbing revelations such as Keyes having carefully studied books by the FBI’s top experts on profiling and serial killers. Through Callahan’s access to many of the key players in law enforcement, she has produced the definitive account of a terrifying psychopath.
Although the details of the book are by definition lurid, the author admirably avoids a descent into journalistic sensationalism. Instead, she offers fascinating context about law enforcement investigative techniques and revelations about how a murderer can strike again and again without being detected for more than a decade.