Book Review // The Fourth Monkey by JD Barker

Book Review // The Fourth Monkey by JD BarkerThe Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker
Series: 4MK #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on June 27th 2017
Rating: four-half-stars
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, General, Mystery & Detective, Hard-Boiled, Police Procedural
Pages: 416
Buy: Hardback/Paperback|Kindle
Find on Goodreads

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 five long years, the elusive Four Monkey Killer has terrorized his victims and sent Detective Sam Porter chasing lead after lead.   When one last clue surfaces, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding 4MK’s latest victim, before it’s too late . . . 

The Fourth Monkey is one of those thrillers that grabs you from the start – the chapter are short and snappy, and you just find yourself lost in the plot, desperate to unravel what’s going on. 4MK is different to most thrillers, in that it starts kind of at the end of the killer’s reign? We step onto the novel as Detective Porter rushes to a crime scene, where there’s a dead man and a white box, with an address on, something familiar to him after five years of searching for the 4MK killer – it looks like the 4MK killer is dead, but the box tells the detectives that even if the killer is dead, there’s still a girl missing, so the hunt is on to unravel just who it was who stepped into that bus and where exactly the missing girl is, who is now missing her ear…

It’s such a thriller way to start a book – you’re thrown into the action and suddenly there’s a dead man and a missing girl, and it’s like the end of the novel has come first, like you’re late to the whole thing, but it’s only the start really, because while the dead man may be the 4MK killer, the team don’t know who he is, where the missing girl is, or why he became the killer he became, but he’s one step ahead of everyone because he’s left behind the perfect crime scene and a book filled with his life story.

There’s so much to unpack in this book. For me, the backstory was exciting, but it got to the point where it eventually started to lag. I also thought it was wildly fantastical and, since this is the start of a series, it’ll be interesting to see if the story holds up – if that’s the *actual* story of the 4MK’s origins, or if it’s make believe. It’s incredibly twisted, there were times my stomach was churning at the scenes unfurling, but it was gripping. It just became a bit over complicated towards the end. Like J.D. Barker had so many ideas and tried to jam them all into this one story, it didn’t need the extra padding, and I admit I was a bit confused at the end, wondering what the heck had actually happened.

The present of the novel is also fascinating – we learn the backstory of the 4MK, we learn why he took who he took and what that led to (the crimes they committed, etc) and it’s like he’s a vigilante, but a weird one because he doesn’t punish the men who did the crimes, he punishes their family and you’re like????? WHY? But that’s his logic. The search for Emory was fascinating and I quite like the detectives we were introduced to, although I felt like we didn’t really get a chance to know them, if that makes sense. This was all about uncovering the 4MK and why he did what he did.

I really liked this book. I do feel it got overly complicated, yes, but it was a well thought out and well executed plot. The diary entries, the present day narrative, it all coupled together very nicely. And that ending! The bits leading up to the ending needed some kind of chart for me to understand, but that last page. THAT LAST PAGE. Has set the stage for a brilliant second book, it’s like it’s all come together and now… the tables could turn completely and I am stoked to get into the next one and see where it all goes. The Fourth Monkey was an incredible thriller, I can see why everyone has been raving about this book, it really was incredibly gripping.


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