‘The Fourth Monkey’ – by J.D. Barker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer, has terrorised the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realise 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 MK4 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.

This astonishing crime thriller is the first in the Detective Sam Porter and MK4 killer series. It didn’t take long for this book to have me engrossed and unable to put it down. This is definitely a book where you’re repeatedly saying “just one more chapter”. The story started with the discovery of the body of the Four Monkey Killer yet his identity remained a mystery and so did the identity and whereabouts of his last victim. It is far from the usual start to a book and for me it instantly set it apart from other thrillers, which is my most read genre. I loved the sense of urgency that was there from the start as you wonder if they will find the girl 4MK took before his death before it’s too late?

The diary that is found on the body is an interesting insight into the life and mind of the killer. The diary chronicles his twisted childhood and the strange moral codes instilled in him by parents that should never have had the chance to warp an innocent mind. They made sure the apple didn’t fall far from the tree and you soon realise that he stood no chance of becoming anything but a psychopath being raised in such a way. There are many gruesome scenes in the diary that as an adult would horrify you, let alone a young boy.

A lot of the evidence and clues that Sam and his team found seemed to be random, but as things are studied closer it becomes clear it has all been carefully planned by 4MK. Even from his grave he was in control of what the police found and how his legacy would be remembered, something that is clearly important to him. But as the team try to uncover his identity they are met with answers that don’t make sense and leave them with even more questions. When the truth is finally revealed the shockwaves are far-reaching and change everything they thought they knew. This revelation saw the book take on a new level of excitement and tension and had me racing to the end to find out what would happen next.

The Fourth Monkey is a sensational thriller with an ending that made me relieved I had book two ready to start straight away. The author has written an intelligent serial killer who loves to play games with the police and is one step ahead each time. Detective Sam Porter is also a great character. He’s an experienced detective who truly believes in what he does and will do anything to catch the bad guy. He has his flaws but he was a character I enjoyed reading partly because of them. This is the first book I have read by this author and it is as masterfully written as the synopsis says. One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read and a must read for anyone who enjoys this genre.

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