Wednesday 7 November 2018

Book Review: The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

Last Updated: 6 September 2021

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker book cover

AD* | In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

I read the first book in the 4MK Thriller series whilst on holiday back in September, and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into the sequel. As with The Fourth Monkey, I devoured this one, The Fifth to Die, just as quickly as I just couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.

I felt that The Fourth Monkey was one of the best thrillers I've read in years, so I was understandably excited to get started on The Fifth to Die. While it was definitely good, though, I felt that it didn't quite match the same level of suspense created in its predecessor. 

That being said, there was still plenty to enjoy in this book. 

The Fifth to Die follows on from the events in the first book, with the infamous 4MK serial killer still at large and Detective Porter no closer to finding him. As the story develops, a new serial killer draws the attention of Chicago's finest, while Porter is left alone to start unravelling the trail 4MK left behind. 

It's fast-paced and suspenseful but doesn't quite have that same intensity that was so expertly crafted in The Fourth Monkey. At every turn, 4MK is always one step ahead - a fact which begins to get a little tired as we near the end of the book. In the first of the series, Detective Porter and the killer seemed to have a much more level playing field, which only added to the chilling atmosphere and tension.

More new characters are introduced, along with a whole host of seemingly impossible murders and crimes, which leaves you feeling torn as you try to follow each separate plot thread. Of course, there are still plenty of familiar faces from The Fourth Monkey, but the continued narrative of the overarching plot theme means that you really do need to read the first book in the series before this one if you want to be able to fully understand why certain things are significant to the storyline.

Don't get me wrong, The Fifth to Die is still worth a read, just don't expect it to live up the heights of The Fourth Monkey.

Rating: 3 stars

The Fifth to Die is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read the series? Let me know in the comments below!

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