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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Book Review: The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

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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, unravelling 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.

I'm a little late to the party reading The Fourth Monkey, but when I was contacted and asked to review Fifth to Die, the second book in the series, I couldn't resist taking the chance to sink my teeth into both parts of the series to date.

The Fourth Monkey contains all the tropes of a classic thriller - from your usual cast of down-on-their-luck Chicago cops and hardened detectives to a quirky, engaging killer and, of course, that all-important fast-paced storyline. From the very beginning, you are sucked into the story and intrigued to find out more. After all, how many thrillers start with the murder of the serial killer?

Although it is undeniably gruesome at times, the author does a great job of preventing the gore and violence from dominating the plot. Instead, the storyline is given over to the game of cat and mouse between the killer and the officials, a game where the carefully-drawn lines between right and wrong become blurred and everyone begins to question everything that they thought they knew.

The relationship between the Four Monkey Killer and Sam Porter, the lead detective assigned to his case, is a particularly interesting one. It's clear that 4MK is more than willing to lead the detectives on a merry dance across Chicago, but with Detective Porter, something is different. It is this subtle difference that makes both characters more realistic and true-to-life, providing an edge to their personalities that some of the other minor characters lack. 

As you make your way through the book the pace picks up, leading you towards the ending at ever greater speeds as more and more pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. It's all too easy to forget your own reality and instead, imagine yourself in the War Room puzzling over the latest piece of evidence with the rest of the 4MK taskforce. 

All in all, The Fourth Monkey contains everything you could possibly want from a thriller novel - and then some! Don't forget to keep checking back on the blog for my review of Fifth to Die, the second book in the 4MK series.

Rating: 4 stars

The Fourth Monkey is available to buy now.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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