By: Maureen Callahan
Standalone | 304 Pages | July 2, 2019
Overall Rating: ★★★★
I assume you are reading this review because you love true crime and feel the need to be terrified. If that’s your goal, then you are in the right spot. Israel Keyes is one of the most terrifying serial killers that the US has had, simply because he had no pattern. Most of his victims will never be found because the man left no real evidence. I have listened to a few podcasts and watched a documentary on his case, but none of them have been as detailed and engaging as this book.
The story starts at the end. With Samantha’s disappearance from the coffee kiosk, a story many true crime fans already know. What I found especially intriguing were the details on how the case was handled by police, FBI and even the prosecutor. I was screaming at points because a girl is missing, clearly kidnapped, and they assume she ran away. Allowing people to continue working in the kiosk the next morning, contaminating a crime scene??? NOT OKAY. My heart broke for her dad and even for the team who investigated at points.
The most frustrating part for me, was that they knew he was driving on I-10 from New Mexico toward Houston. I am from NM and live in Houston and have driven that route countless times. The FBI thought it would be useless to rouse the small town cops along the way to look out for him on the highway so they didn’t alert anyone until the next day. While that may be true, everytime I drive home, I know that highway takes me through a border patrol stop where pictures are taken of every vehicle and every person is stopped. They are heavily armed and have dogs. Why in hell did the FBI not just ask the Federal Border Patrol agents to look out? He could have been caught days sooner and another person may still be alive. I WAS LIVID reading that.
If you haven’t heard this story, I don’t want to give away all of the details. And there are many, most of which make it difficult to sleep at night. The reason this case is so intriguing is that Israel Keyes was a “regular guy” and also a creepy mastermind. The man planted Kill Buckets all around the country on the off chance that he felt like using one. He could plant it and not use it for years on a victim. They weren’t well thought out plans or crimes of passion, but a daydream he thought of and set the wheels in motion. It didn’t really matter who the victim was, as long as the play he had written in his head worked out.
Callahan writes the story in a way that sucks you in. At times I felt as though I was reading a thriller, not a true crime book, which is a little scary in itself. Real life can be more terrifying than fiction and I can only hope that he was a one-of-a-kind bastard.
Have you read American Predator? Let us know what you thought in the comments!