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The Fourth Monkey (A 4MK Thriller) Paperback – May 29, 2018
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Two days to save her . . .
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.
One day . . .
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows that 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 as the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.
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“The Fourth Monkey has one of the most ingenious openings that I’ve read in years. This thriller never disappoints.”—James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author “A first-rate, devilish thriller.”—Eric Rickstad, New York Times bestselling author of The Names of Dead Girls and The Silent Girls "This book lives up to the hype....fast paced, complex and filled with twists and turns, once I picked up this novel, it was incredibly hard to put down....At this point, this novel has me feeling a serious “book hangover”. And, with that ending, I am really hoping this will not be the last that I will read about these characters. 5/5 stars. A must read." — Clues and Reviews "Bram Stoker Award finalist Barker ingeniously blends horrific images into a bizarre plotline to create this devilishly dark thriller."— Library Journal “…Nice twists on classic thriller tropes.” —Publisher’s Weekly “Superbly constructed and immaculately paced, this is one of the few serial killer thrillers that bears comparison with Thomas Harris’s 1981 masterpiece Red Dragon.”—Daily Mail “J.D. Barker’s second novel is a terrifying romp.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Not since Hannibal Lecter had a friend for dinner has a serial killer been so skillfully rendered on the page.” —Taylor Elmore, Writer/Producer of Justified and Limitless “Creepy, scary . . . and impossible to put down! The Fourth Monkey is everything a thriller should be—a must read!” —, NY Times Bestselling Author “In the tradition of SE7EN and THE USUAL SUSPECTS, THE FOURTH MONKEY combines breakneck speed with a baffling puzzle. It has pace to die for.” —, New York Times Bestselling Author of Murder As a Fine Art and First Blood “A chillingly delicious page-turner.” —, NY Times Bestselling Author “Gritty, masterful suspense…Lee Child, you’ve met your match.” —, NY Times Bestselling Author “Brilliant. Complicated. Psychopath. This character is truly riveting.” —Marc Webb, Director of The Amazing Spiderman, Gifted, & (500) Days of Summer “A state of the art thriller, a current nightmare, a panic wrapped up in a box.” —, Award Winning Author of Bird Box “Serial killers in fiction are a dime a dozen these days, and it takes a powerful lot of thought and crafty planning to come up with one who’s unique. In THE FOURTH MONKEY Barker does just that — and gives us more than one. And he bounces his bad guys off a colorful cast of believable characters. For you puzzle fans, there’s a story within the story as strange and twisty as the tale itself. But make no mistake, this is a suspense novel through and through, and it’s in no way shy about it.” —, Award Winning Author of Off Season and The Girl Next Door “This book is seriously brilliant: the best serial killer thriller I’ve ever read.” —Lisa Milton, Executive Editor HarperCollins HQ “Absolutely freaking brilliant! I didn’t want this book to end but what a fantastic finish! This is going to be THE crime thriller of 2017.” —Maxine Groves, Top Amazon and GoodReads Reviewer “Gripping, addictive, and devilishly clever. From its opening salvo The Fourth Monkey grabs yo —
About the Author
- Publisher : Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 29, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1328915395
- ISBN-13 : 978-1328915399
- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #41,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2018
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Side kicks keep a reader turning the page without wanting to eat or sleep I. Between. I can’t wait to read the next in the series and find out what 4MK does next.
“Sorry it took me so long to visit, I’ve been a very busy boy.”
This book had me at “Se7en meets Silence of the Lambs,” two of my favourite films EVER!! I love my crime thrillers, sometimes when I need a break from the world of romance my other love comes into play. I love CSI, I love Criminal Minds and this book was the perfect mix of the two, along with a gripping, thrilling investigation. JD Barker is a new to me author and if this book is any indication of his talents then I have quite a few books to look forward to. This was a book that I would love to see on the big screen, the scene setting, this authors play on words, an all-consuming plot all led to an unputdownable read, one that held my attention from the very first word until the very last.
JD Barker turns the world of criminal thrillers on its head with The Fourth Monkey in so far as it starts with the death of The Fourth Monkey killer, a serial killer that has evaded capture in Chicago for over five years. A serial killer that never leaves any evidence, a serial killer so smart the police have nothing to go on, a serial killer that taunts them, teases them and makes them look like amateurs, time and time again. The clues are all there on the body, now it just needs someone with just as sick a mind to interpret them, to understand them and to find The Fourth Monkey Killers last victim. It is a race against time.
“Pawns must be sacrificed for the king to fall.”
We all know the story of the three wise monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. According to lore there was a fourth monkey…do no evil. So why would a serial killer be labelled The Fourth Monkey? Quite a contradiction considering the field this man excels in. The Fourth Monkey got his name from the three white boxes that he sends to his victim’s family, first the ears, then the eyes and then the tongue. While I felt the killing was a necessity for this serial killer, the thrill of the chase was what got this man off. The Fourth Monkey Killer was a master manipulator, he trails bread crumbs, he leads the investigating officers on a merry dance, a dance that had my rapt attention throughout.
Detective Sam Porter is the lead on this case and the gift of The Fourth Monkey Killers diary is where it all begins and ends. The diary entries are what gives us an understanding of the man The Fourth Monkey Killer was, a diary that goes some ways into describing the events that moulded the man. From childhood to present all pertinent facts and events are described in all their gut churning glory. A vigilante of sorts who kills the innocent to punish the guilty. The morality of his reasoning will make you think and while you know it is wrong that streak of empathy will keep rearing its ugly head.
JD Barker sugar coats nothing. This is a book that will turn your stomach, not only with actions but also with thoughts. I had goose bumps and the fear was real. This author really gets into your head and plays with your mind and that is the sign of an amazing psychological thriller. The twists and turns you will never see coming, the prose utterly engaging and positively chilling, but this is a story that you will never forget and will sickly want more of.
“Luckily, it was downhill. Mr. Carter had been a large man.”
This book is incredibly graphic at times and is definitely not for the faint of heart, many a time my hands were over my eyes as if I could somehow shield myself from what I was reading. This is where JD Barker exceeded with the visceral scene setting…letting your imagination run riot and mine is extremely vivid. Engaging, absorbing, compelling, intriguing, suspenseful, sick and twisted but as I said above, one unforgettable read. If you love psychological thrillers then this is the cream of the crop. Totally loved every single sick second of it.
I’m having a bit of a bad run at the moment, disappointed by books I’ve eagerly anticipated for a long time. This series has been on my radar for two and a half years. I was really looking forward to a series binge but 20% into this book I was dragging my feet and asking, ‘Are we done yet?’
Fortunately the second half of the book picked up for me but I’m still not entirely convinced I want to spend more time with the main characters. I will continue the series and am hoping to be blown away but right now I’m looking at all of the glowing reviews for this book and wondering what I missed.
“Seven victims. Three boxes each.
Twenty-one boxes over nearly five years.
He had toyed with them. Never left a clue behind. Only the boxes.
Porter and his team have been tasked with finding the Four Monkey Killer. When a body is found, along with the killer’s latest box, it’s a race against the clock to find the latest victim.
“She knew of the Four Monkey Killer. Everyone in Chicago did, possibly everyone in the entire world. Not just that he was a serial killer, but the way he first tortured his victims before killing them, mailing body parts back to their families.”
There are multiple chapters from the perspectives of Porter, Clair (one of the other detectives), the latest victim and the killer but I only noticed two distinct voices, the pretentious serial killer and everyone else. Porter, Clair and the latest victim all sounded alike to me. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I’d be hard pressed to tell you much about anyone’s personality.
I liked the idea of a serial killer using the concept of the four monkeys to choose their victims.
“The four monkeys comes from the Tosho-gu Shrine in Nikko, Japan, where a carving of three apes resides above the entrance. The first covering his ears, the second covering his eyes, and the third covering his mouth, they depict the proverb “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” The fourth monkey represents “Do no evil.””
Some of the scenes described in the killer’s diary were a bit too far fetched for me. I know there are as many different types of dysfunction as there are dysfunctional families, so who knows? Maybe somewhere out there is a family who closely resembles this one. I hope I never meet them!
Because it was so outrageous I found their topsy turvy moral compass funny at times. Do not swear, do not say bad things about other people, do not steal, and treat women with dignity and respect were some of the rules, yet at the same time it was completely acceptable to torture and murder people.
There were some fairly gory scenes in this book, and rats. Many, many rats. These didn’t worry me but they may put off some readers.
While I didn’t hate this book (it definitely did get better in the second half for me) I don’t think I’m going to remember much of it. Actually, while I was writing this review not even 24 hours after finishing the book, it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember what happened in the end. Sure, I remembered a couple of key events in the final few chapters but I had to go back and check the last couple of pages. That doesn’t usually happen.
I would encourage you to read some 5 star reviews as well before deciding if this is the book for you or not. So many people absolutely love it. I wish I was one of them.
Content warnings are included in my Goodreads review.
Top reviews from other countries
Porter and his colleagues work around the clock in a desperate bid to find the victim while she is still alive, with little to go on in their search. While all this goes on, Porter keeps dipping into the 4MK's diary and a parallel story emerges of the killer's childhood. Both plot threads are equally fascinating, and this wasn't one of those books where one got in the way of the other. The concept is sick but brilliant and the main characters bring their A-game to the party.
However, and it's a big however, for some reason the chapters featuring the diary are in tiny italics so that I had to open the menu of my Kindle and up the font size to make them readable. Then when the chapter finished and reverted to the investigation the font size was of course way too big so I had to open the menu and reduce it again. As the chapters are relatively short, this soon became tiresome. As the story progressed towards its climax, having to change the font size repeatedly interrupted the flow and destroyed the build up of tension.
I don't know whether it was Barker, his publisher, or someone else who wanted to present the diary in this way. Italics are bad enough, but I can (sort of) understand why they are used to aid readers who can't work out that the narrative has changed, but to reduce the font size to make it unreadable is ridiculous. I get that the 4MK had tiny handwriting but I need the readable version.
Judging by the ratings reviewers have given The Fourth Monkey, most people don't have such an issue with the tiny italics. I did carefully consider whether to reduce my rating so much, but I really hate it when authors use gimmicks that get in the way of the story as was the case here. A solid 5 star story, dragged down by a unfathomable and totally unnecessary presentation decision
The story is told in dual timelines, first from a young boy’s journal revealing the birth of a serial killer and then the boy who became the man, and the most sought-after killer by Porter and his team, who have chased the Four Monkey Killer (4MK) for half a decade. This is a serial killer arrogant in his righteousness, forensic in his planning and clinical in his execution, who seems to possess better intel than law enforcement, for it is only in trying to track down their predator that detectives become aware of the crimes committed by another.
With seven girls dead and the police in possession of twenty-one boxes containing the body parts of his victims, his final calling card is the ear of his latest victim Emory the missing daughter of a prominent businessman. But with the man carrying it now dead from a road accident there are seemingly little clues left and little time to find her. That is until the Porter and his team investigate several items found on the killer’s body. It would appear even the 4MK’s death was meticulously planned as he reveals vital clues and continues to taunt and toy with the police from his grave.
This was a fabulous book with a brilliant opening, a sensational ending and everything in between was just superb. The plot was great, the story full of dramatic twists and told at a thrilling pace, the terror and horror perpetuating, and characters deliciously evil. A cracking book and ready to read the next instalment from J.D Barker. I came across this author from Dracul but now officially a big fan of his work.
It starts with a death, due to a road traffic accident between a bus and a pedestrian. The victim having no identification on him except carrying a package containing a human ear (which he was obviously going to post and is extremely significant in the Police investigations into recent murders by the Fourth Monkey Killer, aka 4MK). In his pockets there is a dry cleaner's receipt, pocket watch (which had stopped at 3:14 and was not the time of the accident) and 75 cents in assorted change. He was also wearing, quite strangely, a fedora, very expensive John Lobb shoes, but a cheap suit. In his pockets is some kind of diary which begins with the words "Hello, my friend. I am a thief, a murderer, a kidnapper" and so it begins.....
Due to the contents of the package, they realise the killer has snatched another victim (Emory) and it becomes a race against time to find her, knowing that the killer is laid on the Morgue table so they don't have any answers to their questions.
Sam Porter is, quite simply, a brilliant detective. His team consists of Nash, Clair, and Watson and they are very loyal to Sam.
Sam starts to read the diary and at first thinks it's just the ramblings of a really mixed up child as it's all about his childhood and his parents. However, things aren't what they seem with it and 4MK has anticipated Sam skipping to the last page for answers, so he has to read every page.
I loved how the story was told from the perspective of Sam, Clair and Emory and, basically, our deranged killer (via his diary) who is very, very clever and is always one step ahead of the team, anticipating their next step.
I won't cover any more of the story for fear of spoiling it. I would, however, urge anyone who loves well written, fast paced thrillers, that if you are going to read one book this year, make it this; you won't regret it. However, one word of caution, don't do what I did and read this, in parts, whilst eating. Not a good idea at all. Also be prepared to not be able to put it down, especially to sleep.
Massively recommended and cannot wait for the next book by this brilliant author.
However, I did finish it, and I know exactly how I feel! The Fourth Monkey is gripping, thrilling, greatly disturbing, and at some points, made me want to throw up. And, I loved every single page of it!
The Fourth Monkey is very well written, and it’s in short chapters, which I love. However, it is written in such a way that each chapter is read from the viewpoint of a different character in the book. Most of the chapters switch between Detective Sam Porter and the diary of our serial killer/assumed homicide victim – the Four Monkey Killer (4MK) – from when he was a child. We also read from the viewpoints of 4MK’s latest victim – Emory – and one of the other detectives working with Sam (Clair). I think that this is a clever way of writing a story like this; it definitely adds another dimension. The twists and turns in this book will leave you shocked, gobsmacked, occasionally disgusted, and often wondering how you hadn’t seen them coming.
I loved this book, and for that reason, I’m so excited to pick up the second book in the series, and continue to follow Detective Sam Porter’s story.
I’d highly recommend this book. I give it 5/5 stars