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The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

June 21, 2017

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…

 

If you are a lover of cosy mysteries, be warned – this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you like fiendishly clever, psychopathic serial killers with a serious tendency towards sadistic violence, then you have found the book you have been looking for.

Not for the squeamish or the faint hearted, The Fourth Monkey is in the excellent tradition of obsessive cops with sorry personal lives who will go to extreme lengths to get their killer.

Sam Porter is the Chicago homicide detective who has been on leave due to a personal tragedy. For five years he has hunted a serial killer, known to the press as 4MK. 4MK’s trademark is that he leaves pieces of his victims in white boxes tied with black ribbon as an offering to those trying to track him/her down. First it’s their ears, then their eyes…

This killer enjoys leaving clues; it’s almost as if s/he wants to be caught. Each of the previous seven victims has been a young woman. Each has had a close relative who has been guilty of a crime.

So, when Sam gets a call from his partner, Nash, to go to the scene of a traffic accident, he is at first puzzled. After all, he’s on leave and anyway, RTA’s are not his thing. But Nash is insistent that Porter is going to want to see this one for himself.

What he discovers is that the serial killer he has been chasing is apparently the RTA victim. He was carrying one of those white boxes tied up with ribbon and in his pocket is the diary of one sick son of a bitch. The story then alternates between the race to find the latest victim, whose ear is in the box, and the compelling tale of a serial killer in the making.

Will Sam be able to find the victim and will what he learns in the diary help him to get closer to catching his perpetrator?

This is a dark, gruesome, compelling story that draws you deeper and deeper in. Redolent with atmosphere and with well-drawn fleshed-out characters, Barker knows how to push your buttons at just the right moment so that you can feel the horror as it is happening.

Very well plotted and consistently thought through, it is just the kind of deviant crime that I like.

I raced through this one because I needed to know how it was going to end, and I was honestly not at all disappointed. Thrilling and repellent in equal measure, this grisly crime thriller is a must read.

The Fourth Monkey is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 27 June 2017

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