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The Fourth Monkey

Review

The Fourth Monkey

For five years, Detective Sam Porter has been trying to catch the Four Monkey Killer (4MK), a serial killer who kidnaps, mutilates and murders young girls. Sadly, though, there has been little progress in the investigation. Then a bus driver hits a man, and things start to roll fast. The package the man was carrrying contains the latest victim’s ear, and an interesting diary is discovered in his pocket. All the clues point to him being the 4MK, but soon Porter will realize he’s wrong, and he and his team have just two days to find and save the 4MK’s latest victim.

The book starts off as a mystery and then veers into thriller territory with plenty of suspense. Author J.D. Barker does not focus just on the work of Porter and his team, and their piecing together the clues. He also takes readers on a voyage into the mind of a serial killer, who kills not just for the sake of pleasure, but for the purpose of punishing those who at first look like noble citizens, but are rotten to the core.

"The novel is dark and scary, and quite twisted in some parts, but is done so well that I could not stop reading it."

In the aforementioned diary, the 4MK recounts the events of one summer when he was a teen --- the summer that changed his life forever. Barker provides insight into a family that looks like an average middle-class family, but is full of sick and twisted individuals. I really cannot tell who the most deviant person is: the 4MK himself, his mother or his father.

The investigation spans three days, and focuses on gathering the clues and catching the killer. The POV shifts among three characters: Porter, Detective Clair Norton, and the 4MK’s latest victim, 15-year-old Emory Connors. While reading, I felt like I was in the middle of the action and inside the killer’s head at the same time. Some scenes are brutal, and detailed descriptions of torture may not be for everybody, though these are found mostly in the diary portion of the story.

THE FOURTH MONKEY is a great start to a series that probably will feature a game of cat and mouse between Porter and the 4MK. Although there is a cliffhanger at the end, the story is complete in and of itself, so readers will not be left in the dark regarding the life (or death) of the kidnapped girl. The novel is dark and scary, and quite twisted in some parts, but is done so well that I could not stop reading it. The second book in the series is expected to be released next summer, and I already am looking forward to its publication.

Reviewed by Dunja Bonacci Skenderovic on July 7, 2017

The Fourth Monkey
by J. D. Barker

  • Publication Date: June 27, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ISBN-10: 0544968840
  • ISBN-13: 9780544968844