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

The Fourth Monkey - JD Barker

This is another book I was hesitant to read because the title and cover didn’t appeal to me –  I really need to stop judging books by their cover because I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Book Description:

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.

My Thoughts:

It been a while since I read a mystery book where I kept pausing my read to see if I could figure out, ahead of being told, what the clues left by killer meant. I was fully engaged in this novel and I loved how it was a mystery full of puzzle pieces that fit together to create a complex and clever mystery, rather than one you could never predict because the author went for the ‘shock value’. But predict the events in this, I did not, despite all the clues!

The Fourth Monkey contains one of the best mysteries I’ve come across in a long while. I particularly liked the diary entries from the killer, in the mind of a serial killer is one of my favourite places to be! While the events being describe in the diary may read as unbelievable to some, there was no doubt these were the words of killer – so cold, so distant.

The killer abides by his rule of “Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil. Do no evil.” so when a victim’s tongue is found, the race against the clock begins and this added a great level of suspense to the novel. Despite the blurb describing the novel as fast-paced, I didn’t think it was, in fact, I thought the slower pace allowed Barker to take his time unravelling the mystery, keeping the suspense alive for as long as possible. I thought this novel was more mystery than thriller and that is not a criticism in any way.

I really liked the characters in this one, including the character of the killer. I enjoyed the relationship between Porter and his colleagues, Nash and Clair, their friendly banter and humour gave this novel the right amount of entertainment. I especially liked their jokes about their colleague, Watson, brought in on the taskforce to help them solve the case – as a huge Sherlock fan, I thought of the same ‘one-liners.’

A very brief mention about the ending – I loved it! I wouldn’t describe it as an open ending but it left great scope for the second book.

An interesting mystery coupled with a great cast of character makes The Fourth Monkey a great choice for fans of mystery books and I highly recommend it!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for granting me access to a digital copy of this book via Netgalley*

20 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

  1. Glad this was a win for you Janel. It’s the best when the clues are there but well hidden so the reveal is a surprise…I love that. This is definitely a book for digging deep into the mind of a serial killer but the graphic descriptions in the diary entries were the downfall for me which led to my DNF.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve never been a fan of the too graphic descriptions so I can see why it was off-putting for you. But I agree, I’ve been let down by the “shock factor” a few times recently so I liked the laying of clues in this one!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Janel! I’ve been a bit hesitant to read this one – the sound of it appeals, and a recommendation from Jeffery Deaver is always a plus, but I’ve seen mixed reviews for it. Will definitely give it a go now though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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