The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker (2017)

Review by CJ

Page count:



Chicago Detective Sam Porter has spent half a decade chasing down the Four Monkey Killer, AKA the 4MK, a brilliant and sadistic killer who uses murder to punish those closest to his victims. Can Porter save the 4MK’s latest victim in time or will evil once again be done?

The Fourth Monkey is a well written, compelling crime thriller with engaging characters and twists for days.

With high praise given by Jeffrey Deaver for The Fourth Monkey, it is no surprise I was reminded of the Lincoln Rhyme series while reading. Also present are hints of television’s (in my humble opinion) best crime dramas such as Criminal Minds and NCIS. The team of characters joining Sam Porter in his investigation are fun characters who share a great rapport with each other. But they are also fiercely dedicated to finding the person responsible for these heinous acts. While we don’t learn a lot about the heroes other than the protagonist, Barker uses dialogue and action to give them personality and character.

Its similarities to the best of crime novels, cinema and television give The Fourth Monkey a depth that elevates it to the top of the genre. But it is The Fourth Monkey’s plot and new twists on an oversaturated genre that set it apart from the rest. The twists in the story are delightful and the killer’s journal providing flashbacks to their past left me wanting to know more every time it switched back to the present.

J.D. Barker has written The Fourth Monkey in a way that brings it to life. I don’t often cringe when reading novels with violence, but there were several moments in The Fourth Monkey that made me exclaim aloud. The smallest characters are written in such a way as to leave an imprint on your mind, handy for later reveals. Overall, it is a wonder to watch the world Barker creates in The Fourth Monkey unfurl.

While reminiscent of many high quality crime dramas/thrillers, The Fourth Monkey breathes new life into the genre with great writing and a plot that keeps the reader turning the page long after that last “one more chapter”. I cannot recommended The Fourth Monkey enough to fans of the crime genre.



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