• American Predator

  • The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century
  • By: Maureen Callahan
  • Narrated by: Amy Landon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (6,447 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times Best Seller
An Amazon “Best Book of 2019”

Washington Post "10 Books to Read in July"
A Los Angeles Times “Seven Highly Anticipated Books for Summer Reading”
A USA Today “20 of the Season’s Hottest New Books”
A New York Post “25 Best Beach Reads of 2019 You Need to Pre-Order Now”  

"Maureen Callahan's deft reporting and stylish writing have created one of the all-time-great serial-killer books: sensitive, chilling, and completely impossible to put down." (Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead)

Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. The names of notorious serial killers are usually well-known; they echo in the news and in public consciousness. But most people have never heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. The FBI considered his behavior unprecedented. Described by a prosecutor as "a force of pure evil", Keyes was a predator who struck all over the United States. He buried "kill kits" - cash, weapons, and body-disposal tools - in remote locations across the country. Over the course of 14 years, Keyes would fly to a city, rent a car, and drive thousands of miles in order to use his kits. He would break into a stranger's house, abduct his victims in broad daylight, and kill and dispose of them in mere hours. And then he would return home to Alaska, resuming life as a quiet, reliable construction worker devoted to his only daughter. 

When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was captivated by how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected by law enforcement for over a decade. And so began a project that consumed her for the next several years - uncovering the true story behind how the FBI ultimately caught Israel Keyes, and trying to understand what it means for a killer like Keyes to exist. A killer who left a path of monstrous, randomly committed crimes in his wake - many of which remain unsolved to this day. 

American Predator is the ambitious culmination of years of interviews with key figures in law enforcement and in Keyes's life, and research uncovered from classified FBI files. Callahan takes us on a journey into the chilling, nightmarish mind of a relentless killer, and to the limitations of traditional law enforcement.

©2019 Maureen Callahan (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A deep dive into the twisted life of Israel Keyes, ‘a new kind of monster’.... Serial killers often commit their crimes close to home, inside a comfort zone, but as the author documents throughout this compelling narrative, little about Keyes fit the conventional serial-killer mold...[Callahan] 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.” (Kirkus Reviews)

American Predator is the scariest book I’ve ever read. No exaggeration - the book you hold is bone-chilling. Maureen Callahan explores the black heart of a new kind of American monster - a serial killer that confounded our most elite criminal profilers - and the race-against-time investigation to follow. This is the work of a journalist in her prime, telling you the story the FBI doesn’t want you to hear and delivering an unforgettable tale of evil that will haunt you. Mark my words: This modern true crime classic will stand with the likes of Jeff Guinn’s Manson, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me, and Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.” (Susannah Cahalan, New York Times best-selling author of Brain on Fire)

“Investigative journalist Callahan provides a chilling true-crime narrative in this detailed study of Israel Keyes, whom she describes as ‘a new kind of monster, likely responsible for the greatest string of unsolved disappearances and murders in modern American history.’... Through Callahan’s access to many of the key players in law enforcement, she has produced the definitive account of a terrifying psychopath.” (Publishers Weekly

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What listeners say about American Predator

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Why you shouldn’t listen to Reviews

This read is exactly why you have to judge things for yourself & not depend totally on reviews. I almost didn’t buy this from all the “man voice” comments. The reader of this book is so awesome until I have to wonder if people are actually listening to the book or if they’re reading the reviews and simply commenting in kind.
Landon makes this book unputdownable. Please see for yourself. You can barely differentiate between her “man” voice and her narrative woman’s voice. There is only a slight lowering of the voice to show changes btw speakers. Had she not done that it would have been difficult to keep up if you multitask, like me, while listening to books and get distracted for a moment or two. Please LISTEN FOR YOURSELF!

257 people found this helpful

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A personal plea...

Please, please, for the love of all that is good in this world, Ms Amy Landon, in any future audiobooks you record, PLEASE -- stop doing your "man voice." This would be a fine example of a better-than-average true crime book about a subject that has long needed a comprehensive storyline like this, but oh my gawd. This would be an example of a slightly poorer-than-average narration: robotic, upspeak-ridden, but generally forgivable. But the man voice. Lord almighty, the man voice. This is a book about a man. Most of the investigators are men. There is nothing wrong with a female narrator reading a female author's words from male characters' points of view. Until the reader in question starts putting on a deep, cartoony, buffoonish manspeak affectation for every male who speaks in the book. It's more than distracting. It was almost funny the first time..... this isn't a comedy book. It got unfunny really quickly. I really should have bought the Kindle version.

111 people found this helpful

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Alexa, Read American Predator

Ever wonder what it might be like to hear a crime thriller as read by Alexa? Wonder no more.

88 people found this helpful

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Great story, below average Narrator

I loved this book and I highly recommend it. my only wish is that it had a better Narrator. This Narrator's mens voice impressions all sound exactly the same, so when she is reading conversations its confusing and sounds like the same man talking to himself. Most Narrator's will slightly adjust the tone or speech pattern, where as this one has 2 voices, a Male impression and her own voice. Like I said she wasn't horrible but that just bugged me. Overall great story and dibs to the author for getting us more details on Israel Keyes.

69 people found this helpful

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not my style, for 2 reasons

I enjoy True Crime nonfictions- I mostly enjoy how they get caught- the forensics, the work and luck that go into finding them and getting them to trial and the final justice- this book, other than the very beginning, provides neither. They start backwards from catching him and then we find out he is treated like a king, while incarcerated, in order to get information from him the investigators and prosecutors letting him call all the shots as he vividly describes the horrors of the murders- all the hour-by-hour terror the victims went through- then they go back to being enthralled by him as gives away more and more to the prosecutors- in the end, his demise is not justice but getting his own way..our system of doting on serial killers in order to find bodies and get local glory for the DA's is wrong-

68 people found this helpful

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How did he slip by?

How is it possible that he is not talked about more among true crime enthusiasts? Being raised with constant changing religious views, the isolation of living on the outskirts of small Utah towns, Israel Keyes had not only an interesting upbringing but you can see the many signs that lead him to become the monster that he was. This book I have recommended to many people. If you are interested in true crime this is a must read.

61 people found this helpful

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Great research, distracting narration

The “man voice” was distracting and unnecessary in what could have been a great telling of a thorough research job on Keyes. The narration made it very hard to focus on the story.

54 people found this helpful

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Narrator sounds like a robot.

it was difficult to pay attention to the text of the book because the narrator sounded like a robot

51 people found this helpful

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terrible narration

the story was interesting but the narration was way off. the "man voice" was insufferable.

46 people found this helpful

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  • JD
  • 07-16-19

Scary, dark horrific monster tale, with some flaws

I'd never heard of the subject of this book (whose name I'd rather not further glorify). But clearly, he is one of the scariest and most evil people who's ever walked the earth. He doesn't fit the mold of what we've been told of most psychopaths or serial killers (a doting father who was concerned about the effects of his crimes on his daughter?). Truly chilling, and estimates of his victims are probably significantly understated (he said he was active for 14 years, almost nonstop, but a "mere" 11 victims? Seems unlikely). Honestly the kind of book that makes you want to buy an alarm system for your home. It also teaches you that compliance with violent criminals is a VERY questionable tactic. NEVER get in a car. Better to be shot running away than dragged off to God knows what! Fight, run, and yell! (and hopefully shoot or stab if you are armed).

Some flaws in the book. The narrator is insufferable with her cartoonish male voice. Considering that most of the figures in the book are male, and so much of the book is from actual transcripts, a male reader would have been more appropriate. But this female reader affected the same dumb male voice that almost seemed satirical and anti-male. It was a distraction. We are PAYING for this reading, so freaking do it well!

Also, it was just kind of weird how the book was sourced. I know it was unavoidable, but unlike some other true crime, this was mostly leaked and on background source material, with a definite point of view and axes to grind. I realize that since the investigating agencies were all pretty much non responsive, and you had detectives that couldn't be quoted in the first person (except for interview transcripts) for legal or career reasons, the author was limited in her approach. The transcripts were an interesting perspective; if only they read with a real male voices instead of the same dumb female male impersonator voice!

A nitpick, I could tell the author was a big city, probably liberal girl who'd never been around a gun or a firearms enthusiast or hunter in her life. She made it sound like the fact that the subject of the book was a gun enthusiast and hunter or someone who raised and killed his own livestock somehow selected him for being a serial killer, when 99.99% of gun owners and hunters and farmers are decent law abiding people. I'd imagine the average southern or rural reader will be rolling their eyes at some of the breathless implications Callahan makes about guns and hunting (I'm not a hunter, grew up in a big city, but even I laughed at this). Also her comments about Black Talon cartridges was a real howler. They're just hollow points, not "cop killer" or "mass shooter" bullets.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Molten Beaks
  • 10-03-20

Not enough murders!

The book was ok, but nowhere near as gory as the blurb would have you think. Don‘t want to do any spoilers, but only TWO murders are described within the book, and they only found the body on one of them, so who knows if the other one took place?

It is full of extremely detailed dialogue from interviews with the supposed serial killer, where he constantly promises to reveal lots of detail, but the book ends without revealing any details!

There is enough to keep the listener interested, if you like your True Crime Pulp (as I do). But considering I thought twice before ordering as it sounded so gruesome, it was actually pretty tame as far as serial killer stuff goes.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kris
  • 09-26-20

Unnerving

I bought this having studied criminology and in particular, serial killers.

The fact I’d never heard of Israel Keyes almost terrifies me and the light this book shines on institutional cover ups is equally disturbing.

Fantastically put together, the only downside for me was the narration, which sounds a bit robotic, but I’m likely just nitpicking.

4 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 05-08-20

interesting insight

Pretty good book, the narrator is ok but her male voice impressions become hard to listen to after a few hours

3 people found this helpful

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  • manfredo
  • 12-13-19

really interesting book

despite many reviews says the opposite I believe the narrator did a good job.
if you are interested in true crime or serial killers this is a must read

3 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel J Clifford
  • 02-27-20

American Predator

Not a lot of content so padded out and choice of narrator poor. The female narrator putting on a gruff voice to simulate men is nuts IMHO.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fiona S
  • 01-12-20

Excellent but Scary

Can't believe how this killer is not more well known. Obviously a cover up by the powers that be. Absolutely tragic the number of errors that were made by the local police and the FBI, a girls life could have been saved, truly heartbreaking-I couldn't bear to read it. Great credit to Maureen Callaghan for writing this book but extremely scary.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jackie
  • 10-08-19

Narrator bored me

Cant even return it for some reason...
Perhaps I would have got into the story if it was another narrator, I couldn't concentrate on what was being said even when I tried, just ended up daydreaming and thinking about other things.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Maz Miller
  • 05-12-20

Not good

Its a boring stiry im sorry i could not gdt into it,which ix unusual for me ..

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dee Cartwright
  • 03-31-20

very much less interesting than the blurb

whilst the reader was fine... in essence this is one interview with a man whom we really know little of. There is no pursuit... he is found immediately and we spend nine hours listening to a chopped version of an interview.

You will probably becdisappointed...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elinor Dashwood
  • 12-01-19

Good but not great

This is the story of (mostly the interrogation) of a recent serial killer Israel Keyes. I found it relied too heavily on interview transcripts - I don't think the writer every actually interviewed family members of the killer or victims, or, obviously, the killer himself. She has a repeated and (to me) unwarranted prejudice against the prosecutor after he apparently refused her request to be interviewed for the books, and this makes me question the objectivity of the account in general.

The narrator does a good job for the most part but occasionally mispronounces words (like pruh-PANE for PRO-pane, and pros-tetics for pros-THetics) and she needs to learn how to change her pitch or tone for subordinate clauses so as not to render sentences meaningless.

Overall, the book was competent but not particularly entertaining or fresh in terms of either writing or insights.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-19-21

Great

great story, was hard to get used to the narrator as she sounded like a computer was talking to you. Took some time to get past that but once you do it was a great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-27-21

Incredible story, challenging narrator

This story is amazing and leaves you hanging for more as your perverse fascination with efficient serial killers proves unexpectedly burgeoning.

However, be warned that both narrator and narration path are far less efficient, and charismatic, than the killer. Starting backward, with painfully monotonous tone, this woman almost bludgeons the reader to death.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-23-20

Loved the story

The narrator sounds like a robot. I enjoyed the book but found it hard to listen too

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-13-20

Really interesting story

The only annoying the was her voice but you sort of get use to it after the first few parts, very well described storyline.


1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-27-20

I enjoyed the narration

I found this book while perusing Audible looking for my next non-fiction read. This jumped out to me as I do enjoy true crime as a genre. I can honestly say that I had never heard of Israel Keyes before reading/listening to this book. I can't believe that I had never heard of this serial killer.

The title of the book says that Israel Keyes was the "most meticulous serial killer of the 21st century", but was he really or did he just have a streak of luck? To be meticulous you are "showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise", and while this in some ways sounds like Israel Keyes, I think it also fails to consider the fact that Keyes was a sporadic killer who killed at random and when he felt the desire. When you think about why Keyes got caught, you have to think, is that really the behaviour of a meticulous person?

I think this book is well research and informative. I like the structure of the novel- how part 1 focused on the disappear of Samantha Koenig and the subsequent parts focus on the apprehension and investigation into Keyes. I like how the reader really gets you invested into the characters involved in Samantha's life, so that when you finally read about her body being discovered your heart breaks.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dicko
  • 03-12-20

Fascinating Story Largely Unknown

As far as Serial Killers go, this guy flew under the radar. This is a fascinatingly well researched book with a great deal of detail. The narration becomes very irritating when Amy Landon try's unsuccessfully to portray male characters voices. Overall though it was an interesting book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ricardo
  • 07-13-22

Deep dive that stops short

Interesting story, investigation laid out well, and narrator gives great performance. Book truncates, however, at the death of the subject, and .. we're done? Don't expect massive amount of closure.

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  • Mel
  • 02-26-21

Great Listen

Interesting story kept me bingeing on listening.Narrator could have been improved but overall if your a true crime fan this story is up there in the top ten of Great True crime Audible

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-16-20

legit true crime but just horrific

Its a good book, might have you checking locks more than usual though.
The narration has a female doing male voices which is jarring with a dumb husband tone to it.
The author makes some fairly strong judgements that felt harsh and without nuance.
The story is well plain evil and its unrelenting but its interesting in a technical sense. I get the feeling there is very much more to know but doubt we ever will.

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  • Gregory McNulty
  • 08-15-20

Hard to put down

Enthralling. I knew nothing about this case and i was engrossed from the start