Title: The Fourth Monkey
Author: J.D. Barker
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date of publication: June 27th, 2017
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Number of pages: 416
POV: Alternating 3rd person and 1st person
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
The most anticipated thriller of the year – Optioned for both film and television
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.
In these last couple of months, I have found myself reading a lot of murder/mystery/thriller books. Which is a glad change from the erotica/romance that I have read. A glad change. I like a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing what is going to happen next or what plot twist the author is going to throw in that will make me go “Well, I never saw that coming“. The Fourth Monkey is that book. It is a delicious blend of horror and mystery that will keep you up reading late in the night.
The plot lines of the book were fantastic. You have two major ones: the diary (or as I called it: the making of the Four Monkey Killer) and the race to find out where is last victim, a 15-year-old girl, is being held. I was fascinated by diary and how the 4 MK was shaped into the twisted person he was. Normally, if an author switches from 1st person to 3rd person every other chapter or so, it bothers me. But in this case, it didn’t because when that chapter of the diary ended, the book picked up right where the Four Monkey Killer was leading them. Which I haven’t seen done well until this book.
I felt awful for Porter and didn’t realize that he had a personal tragedy until almost halfway through the book. I did think certain scenes were odd when he was mentioning his wife but I figured, “Hey, he’s a homicide detective working lead on a case and is working odd hours“. It wasn’t until after he got the phone call and everything was explained that I went “No way” and I felt horrible for him.
I will say that I did like the lore behind the 4 monkeys and found it fascinating that there was a 4th monkey. The three monkeys that we know are: Hear no evil (monkey covering ears), See no evil (monkey covering eyes) and Speak no evil (monkey covering mouth). The fourth monkey is Do no evil (monkey covering stomach or genitals) and is very rarely mentioned in Japanese or Buddha lore (click here). The way that the author wove that lore into this story and how the fourth monkey was woven in was pretty awesome.
The end of the book was insane. Not only was the identity of the Four Monkey Killer found out, it was the last person that I thought it was going to be. I literally put my book down and shook my head when his identity was revealed. The final twist at the end of the book made me shake my head in disbelief and make me wonder if there will be a book 2.
How many stars will I give The Fourth Monkey: 5
Why: A beautifully written mystery/horror book that is true to its genre. An excellent read and I am looking forward to reading more books by J.D. Barker
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Violence and language
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**