The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

 A still from the 1995 film, Se7en

A still from the 1995 film, Se7en

MY RATING: 4.5/5
AUTHOR: J.D. Barker
PUB DATE: june 27TH, 2017
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”
For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

After hearing about this book from Crime By The Book (my favorite crime fiction blogger), I knew that had to pick it up. And I am SO glad I did (THANKS ABBY!!!). I devoured The Fourth Monkey, and completely immersed myself inside of the dark world Barker created for his readers, hanging onto every word.

The story begins with the death of a serial killer Sam Porter has been tracking for several years now (not a spoiler). But before the killer takes his own life, he abducts one last victim.  Porter must race against time, and use the personal diary that the 4MK killer has left behind to try and save the last victim. 

I LOVED this book. The plot is tight and seamless, and detective Sam Porter is an admirable main character. Porter has his issues just like any other protaganist would in a Cop vs. Killer story, but who wouldn't have inner demons after tracking down a clown that slices up his victim's body parts only to mail them to their loved ones afterwards? 

Barker avoids your average cop cliche by paralleling interactions that take place in a heightened noir reality (much like Se7en) against grounded, authentic dialogue between the main characters. It creates a cinematic backdrop for the drama to unfold, but keeps the cast of the author's characters very much grounded in a twisted reality of sorts. And if you've been following me for a while, you know that I have the utmost respect for an author that manages to invoke emotion without having to list off every gritty, gory detail. Much like the rule in film, show don't tell. The Fourth Monkey is dark, and sometimes even explicit. But it could have gone much much further. And I am thankful that it stays right where it is. 

The Fourth Monkey managed to keep me guessing until the very end. I loved the way the book balanced itself between the linear narrative and the serial killer's diary. It was chilling, and at times uncomfortable but It was so hard to put this book down. The 2nd book in the series releases next year and I CAN'T wait. I wish I could get my hands on it now. But for now I'll keep spreading the word about this fantastic crime fiction read. You can check out the book for yourself by clicking the Amazon link above! But beware, the twisted world of The Fourth Monkey is not for the faint of heart...

Patience E. RandleComment