Review: The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker @J_D_Barker

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


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. 


I’ve mentioned before that I have a sick fascination with serial killers and I’m especially interested in the way they think and what made them this way. Were they born to literally kill? Were they taught that killing is a way of life? Were they abused and mistreated then something inside them just snapped one day? The Fourth Monkey is an insanely creepy look inside the mind of a serial killer with a twist. The FMK actually dies at the very beginning of the book, but he left one last victim for the police to find. She’s hidden away somewhere in Chicago and she doesn’t have long before she dies. Porter has been chasing FMK for years now and he won’t let another young woman die on his watch. He’s forced to follow the breadcrumbs left behind by a sadistic killer, but can he figure out the puzzle before it’s too late? 

This is told from Sam Porter’s point of view in the present as he tries desperately to outwit a cunningly smart killer and also has chapters from 4MK’s diary. These entries made my skin crawl as much as they transfixed me, it outlines his childhood and shows how he became the monster he is today. Getting a deep look inside the darkest of minds was so scary, 4MK is so emotionless as he describes his horrifying childhood it gave me chills. 

This was a daring, fearless, in your face read. Barker holds nothing back in terms of his graphic and oftentimes gory descriptions, this is definitely not for the squeamish. I, however loved this approach and even though sometimes the detailed manner in which crime scenes were described was a bit hard to stomach, it really added something dark and sinister to the story. 

Barker’s writing is fluid and sharp at the same time, it held me tight in it’s menacing grip throughout and weaved some stunning twists and turns along the way. This was a down and dirty, nitty gritty read that was an easy five stars for me, no hesitation. Preorder this one, it’s not available until this summer, but I think it’s one that everyone will be talking about, don’t miss out! 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for my review copy. 

19 thoughts on “Review: The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker @J_D_Barker

  1. Renee says:

    I’m still waiting to find out if I’m approved on netgalley😬I’m not feeling very confident at this point and I really want this one!! Love that you said there’s twists and turns…I want it even more:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I know you MAY find this hard to believe, but I have actually studied serial killers at length. My degree is in criminal justice. Yes, I know how ironic it is since I’m such a wuss lol HOWEVER one of my classes was dedicated to studying serial killers. As disturbing as it was, it was also fascinating. I think it all stems from the fact that us “normal” people can’t fathom their impulses… I also studied sexual predators which was another level of disturbing…

    At least you can take comfort in the fact that it’s normal to be interested in disturbing topics… I actually paid to learn about these topics lol

    PS- I sent you a DM on twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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