American Predator by Maureen Callahan | Viking | Book of the Month Add-On Selection {Book Review}

;Israel Keyes true crime novel

 American Predator by Maureen Callahan

Book Summary:

“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 fourteen 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.”

Publication Date:

July 2nd, 2019

Genre:

True Crime

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

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(you can find the referral link for American Predator HERE)

I am a huge fan of true crime podcasts and documentaries and I especially enjoy going down the rabbit hole and diving into a series about a specific event or person. I had previously read and listened to a lot about Israel Keyes because of one his crimes happened just a few towns over from us. I wasn’t sure if this book would seem repetitive but after a few of my friends kept recommending this I decided to go for it.

I really don’t read a lot of true crime novels because I have found some of them to be a little dry in the past but I have to hand it to Maureen Callahan! Not only did she write an engrossing book that read almost like fiction, but I learned a lot of new things about Keyes that I had not heard about before.

It does feel a little strange to be raving about this type of genre, but if you are interested in this kind of topic, I think you would just find this book fascinating. I won’t go into too many details but if you are interested in the backstory of Keyes as well as the behind the scenes moments in the investigation of his crimes, you will love this.

This was a hard book to put down and Callahan is truly given at weaving these stories together in an informative and engaging manner. Highly recommend!

I picked this as my add-on book in August through my Book of the Month subscription. You can get your first BOTM book for free by using my referral link HERE.

The Whisper Man by Alex North |Celadon Books| Book Review

The Whisper Man by Alex North book review

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Book Summary:

“In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…”

Publication Date:

August 20th, 2019

Genre:

Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

My Rating:

⁣⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

The Whisper Man came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. In a very oversaturated thriller market, it can be hard to find a suspenseful book that feels unique and satisfying anymore. I was hesitant to read another so-so thriller but The Whisper Man was a pleasant reading surprise.

The characters are detailed and well written and the story is captivating and chilling. This book takes you on a suspenseful ride while also keeping you guessing until the very end. It’s a race against time to solve a decades-old mystery that just might be happening again and it is full of twists and turns with a satisfying ending. If you love suspense and thrillers, you should definitely add this one to your reading list!

Thank you to Celadon Books for an advanced copy of this book. 

Dominicana by Angie Cruz | Flatiron Books | Book Review

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Book Summary:

“Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up within the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.”

Publication Date:

September 3rd, 2019

book review of Dominicana by Angie Cruz

(I bought my own hard copy from Book of The Month and as it was available early through their August 2019 book selections. You can get your first Book of the Month book for FREE by using my referral link HERE.)

Genre:

Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Fiction & Coming of Age Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

Dominicana is a coming of age story that is set in NYC in the turbulent and bustling 1960s. Angie Cruz shares a remarkable story about a young girl named Ana. At 15, Ana was forced to marry a man twice her age and move from the Dominican Republic to America…with her family’s hope, she could achieve the “American Dream”.

Upon her arrival, Ana ends up finding herself isolated from her family and at the mercy of a husband who neither seems to care for her or her needs. While this was a heartbreaking story in many ways, it was also a tale of strength, persistence, and resilience.

I loved that Cruz chose to share this story from the point of view of Ana. While it was very clear she was a teenager in many ways, she has this introspection that made her wise beyond her years. I loved watching her learn how to exert her own independence in difficult situations when the hits just kept on coming. The connection between Ana and her doll Dominicana was just so beautiful and heartbreaking and added so much to the story for me.

This book follows her as blooms both literally and figuratively into the self-assured women she was meant to become. She is able to find joy in the darkest times and I loved the feeling of lightness she was able to find when she spent time with her brother in law. Ana was able to just be without the constraints of other’s expectations or the brutal reality of her marriage to Juan.

This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading but found it even more thought-provoking and powerful once I finished and reflected upon it. I think it would make a wonderful book club selection and I look forward to following more of Angie Cruz’ writing in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for an advanced ebook copy of this book.