Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Book Review

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Don't stop reading. I need you to understand what I have done."

The Fourth Monkey will be published in the UK on 27th June. It is written by J.D. Barker and published by HQ.

This book has garnered a lot of attention on blogs and social media, with lots of 5 star reviews on Goodreads. But, as usually happens for me with majorly hyped books, I feel like I'm missing something. I did find The Fourth Monkey interesting and read it pretty quickly; it's got a particularly dark serial killer, a lot of twists and is fast paced. However, it's also completely unbelievable and borders on the silly. But, if you don't mind suspending your belief, and you have a strong stomach, then you'll probably enjoy The Fourth Monkey.

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil… Do No Evil
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 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 is one to read if you want a relentless, twisty-turny thriller with gore and sex thrown in by the bucketful. It is not a slow-burning or subtle novel, you're not going to be particularly moved by it and, with my experience anyway, it won't stay with you afterwards (although it did take me a while to get over a few of the torture scenes).

If subtlety and realism are your thing then The Fourth Monkey is not for you. To be honest, I'm surprised I liked this book as much as I did because I do prefer a slow-moving mystery but you've got to go into this one with your eyes open. It's gory, it's fast-paced and it's not remotely based in reality. But if you know not to expect an authentic story then The Fourth Monkey is enjoyable.

Maybe enjoyable isn't the word, compulsive reading?

The Fourth Monkey has a good basic story; a serial killer found dead, the countdown to find his last victim and a diary to provide background. I do like serial killer thrillers and I especially like books that look at the childhood of the killer. 4MK does do this, and I did enjoy reading the diary extracts, but the whole time I was thinking, this is ridiculous. But, as I said before, suspend your belief and you'll plough throw the book.

I also enjoyed the whole concept of the fourth monkey and the killer targeting people who have broken the 'do no evil' rule. I won't give too much away as it's quite important to the book, but I do like how there is some background behind this.

"The wise monkeys may date back to the dawn of man."

I felt quite connected to both the killer and the 'goodie' Detective Sam Porter, probably because they both get the most page space and because Barker does delve into their minds a fair amount. However, I found the rest of the characters a little two dimentional and sort of fodder to bulk out the story.

As I mentioned before, this is a gory book with a lot about torture. While I don't mind a bit of gore this made me really uncomfortable and at times it just seemed to be unnecessary.

Having said that, I did read The Fourth Monkey pretty quickly and it was pretty scary and twisted so something must have kept me hooked.

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy of The Fourth Monkey via NetGalley in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

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