Book Review: American Predator

AMERICAN PREDATOR | Maureen Callahan
07.02.2019 | Viking
Rating: 5/5 stars


Most people have never heard the name Israel Keyes. He is one of the most meticulous and least publicized serial killers of the 21st century. Keyes was a predator who hunted for victims across the United States. Seemingly taking people at random, he would utilize the “kill kits” he had buried in various parts of the country to kidnap and murder these individuals. Keyes had no pattern. He would break into homes, abduct victims in broad daylight, and dispose of their bodies hours later. 

Keyes was able to fly under the radar for many years. He lived a seemingly quiet life running a construction service and raising his young daughter until the day he was finally caught. Maureen Callahan has conducted years of research and interviews to bring together Keyes’ story starting with his final victim and moving back in time.


I pride myself on being a bit true crime obsessed, but I can without a doubt tell you I had never heard the name Israel Keyes prior to the release of this book. I ended up doing a hybrid of listening to the audiobook and reading my physical copy because once I started I truly didn’t want to put AMERICAN PREDATOR down!

Maureen Callahan walks the reader through Israel Keyes’ criminal life backwards, starting with his final victim and working into the past. The chronology of his previous victims isn’t always entirely clear, as Keyes rarely gave investigators the details they desired, but Callahan makes the timeline easy to navigate for the reader in the way she structures the book. I felt like I was right there with the investigative team as they interviewed Keyes and learned about his past. Each chapter was some new and horrifying revelation about Keyes as an individual or a crime that he had committed.


Often in true crime books it seems as though the writers can get lost in the details. This is understandable as there is typically a wealth of information. I never once felt Callahan got too descriptive with her writing or gave me unnecessary, repetitive, or minute details. The book also never felt like a regurgitation of facts. This read like a work of fiction with the way it flowed. I was captivated and wanting to know more information the entire time I was reading.

I don’t want to dive into any details about this story other than a warning that you should brace yourself! This book is an incredible work of true crime, but it is also a horrifying story of a real life monster. If you’re a lover of true crime this book needs to be on your radar immediately!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

10 thoughts on “Book Review: American Predator

  1. This book was TERRIFYING. But I loved it so much. Having read a ton of the news articles and listening to podcasts I honestly feel like Callahan did the best job of summarizing his crimes and the strange interviews that occurred. I still have nightmares from this guy!
    I feel just the same, that she wrote this in an exciting, but not overly done way. It was never dry or boring.

    Liked by 1 person

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