‘The Fifth To Die’ by J.D. Barker ⭐⭐⭐⭐

9780008250386 (1)

Murder. It’s a family affair.

In the midst of one of the worst winters Chicago has seen in years, the body of missing teenager Ella Reynolds is discovered under the surface of a frozen lake.

She’s been missing for three weeks…the lake froze over three months ago.

Detective Sam Porter and his team are brought in to investigate but it’s not long before another girl goes missing. The press believes the serial killer, Anson Bishop, has struck again but Porter knows differently. The deaths are too different, there’s a new killer on the loose.

Porter however is distracted. He’s still haunted by Bishop and his victims, even after the FBI have removed him from the case. His only leads: a picture of a female prisoner and a note from Bishop ‘Help me find my mother. I think it’s time she and I talked.’

As more girls go missing and Porter’s team race to stop the body count rising, Porter disappears to track down Bishop’s mother and discover that the only place scarier than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

Perfect for fans of Helen Fields, Val McDermid and Jo Nesbo this gripping and twister thriller will have you wondering how to stop a killer when he’s been trained from birth?

Thank you to Harper Collins UK, Netgalley and J.D. Barker for the chance to read and review this book.

Wow! Wow! Wow! That twist! That ending! I was screaming “It can’t end like that!” Barker how could you do that to me?  As soon as I finished this book I needed to read book three. The wait will be torture….

This book started as it meant to go on: intense and gripping. The opening few pages were dripping with horror and suspense and pulled me back in to Bishop’s twisted world. This novel is the second book in the 4MK series and when I was approved to read and review it I hadn’t read book one. I don’t like reading a series out of order and the reviews I read suggested I would get more from this book after reading book one, so I decided to buy and read that first.

Despite the book opening with the 4MK killer, when the first body is found we seem to have a new killer ready to terrorise Chicago. How did Ella Reynold’s body come to be under a river frozen months before she disappeared? And whose clothes is she wearing? As more girls disappear and the killer also targets surprising victims it is clear they’re dealing with an organised killer with particular victims in mind. But can they find the link and the killer’s identity before too many lives are taken?

Although this book does a good job on catching you up on events from the last book and the history of the 4MK killer, having read the first book gives you that extra insight that makes little details more meaningful and increased my sense of apprehension. It also helped me understand Sam’s obsession with Bishop and why he’d risk everything to disappear and track down Bishop’s mother when he receives the picture. This move solidified what you’d expect of Porter’s character. He is someone who sees things through and is determined to find Bishop and get justice for his victims. But Sam doesn’t expect to find himself embroiled in Bishop’s twisted game in ways he never imagined.

While I initially didn’t find this book quite as gripping in places as The Fourth Monkey it was still a book that had those moments where you couldn’t stop reading. The final chapters were particularly captivating and had me transfixed in horror at the nefarious actions and revelations by Bishop and his mother. Suddenly so many little things took on a whole new meaning. The writing and plotting were cunning, masterful, mesmerising and flawless. This book has solidified this author and series as a must-read for lovers of psychological fiction. I just hope we aren’t waiting long for book three.

Out December 27th.

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