Best-selling American novelist J D Barker has just released his latest book, a superb thriller called The Fourth Monkey. Here’s a taster of what to expect:
Brilliant. Complicated. Psychopath.
That’s the Four Monkey Killer or ‘4MK’. A murderer with a twisted vision and absolutely no mercy.
Detective Sam Porter has hunted him for five long years, the recipient of box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the bodies of 4MK’s victims.
But now Porter has learnt the killer’s twisted history and is racing to do the seemingly impossible – find 4MK’s latest victim before it’s too late…
Sounds great! So why is The Fourth Monkey such a good read? Let’s find out…
At the beginning of the book we’re introduced to Sam Porter, a Chicago homicide detective, described by his wife Heather as ‘a cop with anger issues’. The Fourth Monkey plunges into an intriguing start with the death in a road traffic accident of a suspected killer, identified from the small white box he was carrying. Several such boxes, all containing body parts, have been sent to relatives of the man’s other victims. This one contained a severed ear; the police don’t know to whom it belongs, but because 4MK doesn’t kill his victims straight away, they believe she is still alive. Several chapters are written from the latest’s victim’s point of view as she struggles to comprehend what has happened and to escape.
What’s more, clues are found with the body that at first don’t mean anything: a dry cleaner’s receipt, a pocket watch and seventy-five cents in change. Other oddities exist, such as the man’s choice of expensive designer shoes coupled with a cheap suit. Oh, and the fact that a diary is also with the corpse; from it, we learn about the killer, from his early life onwards and what has shaped him the way he is, as he uses it to taunt the police.
So what’s the significance of the Fourth Monkey, and why does the killer dub himself The Four Monkey Killer? It’s a reference to the adage ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’, characterised by the familiar picture of three monkeys. The fourth prohibition is, ‘do no evil’, and the killer targets relatives of those whom he judges to done evil but who have evaded justice.
Sharp characterisation, taut writing that ratchets up the pace, and a truly evil antagonist make The Fourth Monkey a great read. As the book progresses, we learn the significance of the random items found with the victim; even the seventy-five cents in loose change has significance and was planted by the killer. This all makes for great reading and an incredible build-up of tension. The book climbs to a sizzling finish and I highly recommend it.
Want to buy The Fourth Monkey? It's available in paper and kindle formats from Amazon via these links: Amazon US/Amazon UK
You can find out more about J D Barker and his books via the following links:
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