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4MK Thriller #1

The Fourth Monkey

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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.

404 pages, Hardcover

First published June 27, 2017

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About the author

J.D. Barker

23 books4,719 followers
J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, A CALLER'S GAME, released February 22. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

A note from J.D.
As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.


I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.


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5 stars
15,260 (44%)
4 stars
13,412 (39%)
3 stars
4,357 (12%)
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337 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,077 reviews
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,380 reviews7,088 followers
November 18, 2021
I've found it particularly difficult to write a review for this one. Whenever I tried to transfer my thoughts to paper ( ok ipad ) I found that ( in my excitement) I seemed to be giving away some small detail that would possibly spoil it for other readers. The shock and horror that I personally felt whilst reading this story, would have little value for others if they knew what they were about to read.

Unusually, the story begins with the death of the man known as The Fourth Monkey Killer, a killer that has terrorised Chicago for the last 5 years. We're all familiar with the three monkeys - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. The fourth monkey represents 'do no evil' which, coming from a serial killer is something of a contradiction in terms!

On the day he dies, he was about to deliver a message to police informing them of his latest abduction, so the race is now on to discover her whereabouts before it's too late.

The killer leaves behind a handful of clues for Detective Sam Porter, not least a personal diary, which dates back to his childhood. Herein lies the fascination with this story - this was no ordinary childhood - and his thoughts and actions (given his age) are utterly chilling!

Oh boy, this was a completely gripping storyline , but exceptionally graphic, and not for the squeamish. It played havoc with my emotions and was really distressing at times, yet impossible to put down.

So why, if I found parts of it so distressing would I rate it 5 Stars? Well, it was an exceptionally clever and well thought out plot - the writing was simply superb - and the author brought this serial killer very much to life, the minutiae of his life story was utterly absorbing, and then there was the conclusion - just when I thought it had ended, when everything had been done and dusted, there was another twist right on the last page, and oh boy was it a cracker!!

As psycholigcal thrillers go, it doesn't get any better than this. A remarkable read that I think will be one of the stand out books of 2017!

* Thank you to Netgalley, HQ and J.D.Barker for my ARC for which I have given an honest unbiased review*
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
August 2, 2017
After finishing this book, I rated it three stars. I had just browsed the glowing reviews of fellow GR members and fell pray to the idea that I should like the book more than I did. But the more I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt with my rating. I just didn't think this book was very good.

It was kind of like reading Since We Fell all over again. Not only are both books bogged down by tedious (albeit, in this case, gory) backstory, but they also contain frankly ludicrous plot developments. Underneath the icky serial killer MO, this is a very average, forgettable mystery that only produces surprises when verging on the ridiculous.

The Fourth Monkey starts with the death of a serial killer; one who has evaded capture for years and has a very distinctive method - he sends the victim's family the ear first (hear no evil), then the eyes (see no evil), then the tongue (speak no evil), and finally the corpse is found with a sign - DO NO EVIL. Hence the four monkeys.

So when a man is found dead, carrying a signature white box with an ear inside, the homicide detective Sam Porter knows two things: 1) this must be the man they've been looking for, and 2) there's a girl locked up somewhere who will die if they don't find her fast. On 4MK's person is a diary documenting his bizarre childhood and the more Sam Porter reads, the more he starts to believe that the killer is playing with them in death as he did in life.

I found it quite a dull read for the most part. One "twist" about Sam Porter's past is both obvious and worthy of a serious eye roll. Other than that, though, Sam is given very little development. I love thrillers that make you care deeply about the characters, especially the detectives, but Sam is pretty stock. I will have forgotten him by tomorrow.

Also, there are no other characters worth remembering. The cartoon villain is almost comical in his theatrical performances. He is not complex; rather, he practically walks around twirling his mustache and saying "Muahaha". When we delve into his past, the story gets ever more bizarre. And not in an interesting way. After 4MK goes through some standard serial killer motions (killing cats, perving on naked women), we get caught up in some farfetched mafia plot line.

Long, boring diary excerpts and ridiculous twists? I'll pass on the sequel.

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Profile Image for Mary Beth .
381 reviews1,651 followers
August 3, 2017
I just loved this book. It was so terrifying and horrifying. Wow, this book is dark and creepy in the most wonderful of ways. It was just fantastic. I have been waiting for this book for quite awhile. It was also so demented, disturbing and gory. J.D. Barker is vivid in his descriptions. For example, at one point I was reading a scene that involved a rat and could picture everything clearly in my mind. The author really knows how to get into your head. I hate rats. They are so disgusting.
I loved every minute of this amazingly crafted, sick and twisted book! I could not go to sleep. I had to stay up ; I had to finish the book. It kept me up all night. Non stop, adrenaline filled, nail biting , heart pounding suspense. None of those adequately describe the intensity of reading The Fourth Monkey. The author manages to create the type of images that make your spine tingle and the hairs rise up on the back of your neck. It’s creepy and vicious.

Porter and his partner Nash were incredibly likable. Porter's backstory was effortlessly weaved into the story, which made his character seem even more human. I thought the secondary characters were well drawn as well. The diary drew me into the mind of the killer in a way that was uncomfortable, intriguing, and endlessly fascinating. If you like the thrillers where you dive into the mind of the killer and that isn't too heavy on the typical police procedural, then this book is for you.

Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil, Lastly, do no evil.
This is the final message that is left with victims. The serial killer goes after people who have done something evil and goes after someone that is very close to them. So when a white box with a severed ear in it is found, the race against the clock begins to find the victim and this added a great level of suspense to the novel. Part of the story is also told from the serial killer's diary, a nasty piece of work from when he was a child.

I just loved this book and loved the ending. I was actually very shocked. This book is filled with twists and turns and things the reader will never see coming. I loved the diary too.
I will be reading more books by this author.
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
266 reviews18.8k followers
April 29, 2022
Las 4,5 estrellas son por lo siguiente: el asesino es una máquina, preciso, meticuloso, con un pasado desconcertante que determina toda su vida. Los diarios son los capítulos que se llevan toda la historia.
Giros por todos lados, bien construidos y de los que nunca sospechamos.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
793 reviews12.4k followers
April 27, 2017
4.5 stars

This has to be one of the most sick and twisted books I have ever read...I LOVED every moment!

I’m going to keep this short because I don’t want to give anything away. A cat and mouse game ensues between a detective and serial killer when the killer gifts the detective with his diary, which tells the story of his extremely disturbing childhood. The voice of the serial killer jumps off the page and lures the reader into his deranged world.

The Fourth Monkey moves at a fast pace. There's a lot of detailed gory scenes which made me cringe, but there’s some humor mixed in to ease the tension. The last page left me wanting more. I highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,463 reviews9,618 followers
April 29, 2018

Okay, there were some things I didn't like but overall, I loved it! I was not expecting the awesomeness and totally psychoticness of the killers up bringing!

I didn't really give a rats ass about the police stuff. Half of their stuff was stupid anyway. But the killers DIARY had me glued!! Reading about his life as a young boy and his whackadoo family. It was diabolical!

Anyhoo, it was awesome and I'm glad I read it!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐾🐺

Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,601 reviews24.8k followers
May 23, 2017
This is a horrific serial killer thriller that will have you reading non stop till the end with its gripping narrative. Sam Porter is a Chicago detective dealing with a personal trauma that has him on leave. Then he gets a call from his partner, Brian Nash, to get himself pronto to a traffic death. For five years, Sam has been trying to get the Fourth Monkey serial killer, who sends three white boxes consecutively, containing the ear, the eyes and tongue of the victim alluding to the three monkeys who hear, see and speak no evil. This is to punish a relative of the victim, who turns out to have done evil in direct contradiction to the fourth monkey saying, do no evil. This is a dark tale, lightened only by the humour and banter of Sam's team.

The traffic death is that of the serial killer, who was in the process of posting a white box with an ear in it. Sam and his team race to find the final victim before she dies. There are several items on the body of the killer, all of which are vital clues for the police as the killer taunts them from beyond the grave. One is a journal, that Sam reads, that depicts the childhood of the killer with his parents and their next door neighbours, the Carters. It is a grisly read with parts I do not care to dwell on, I really don't need the nightmares. The killer has a close relationship with his parents, particularly his father. who instills the need to be polite at all times. What happens is directly related to the police investigation. The victim turns out to be fifteen year old Emory Connors, the illegitimate daughter of Arthur Talbot, a powerful and wealthy man. As Sam and his team try to get to the bottom of what exactly Talbot has done and find Emory, there is twist after twist until the connections come together and the surprising truth comes to light.

It is odd to think of a serial killer being driven by the moral imperative to put an end to evil deeds. This moral ambiguity gives rise to some questions, a man who does despicable things to innocents, to punish the guilty? Is it possible to feel empathy for the killer? Then there is the final twist which does not give Sam's reaction to the act. An impressively plotted novel with a narrative that is bound to hit the bestseller lists. A brilliantly gruesome read that I highly recommend. Thanks to Harlequin for an ARC.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.3k followers
September 2, 2018

Full review, along with a recipe for Slow Cooker Korean Beef Stew featured on my blog Recipe & a Read.

As the great Philosopher Gweneth Stefanious once said: This shit, is bananas.

Ok, ok, in all seriousness - we're coming to you live from Queasy City with our newly elected mayor The Fourth Monkey! Set in the small midwestern fishing village known to some as Chi-City (aka Chicago, Illinois) we enter our story with one Detective Sam Porter - head of the 4MK task force. Porter and his squad have been tirelessly hunting The Four Monkey killer for the past 6 years. The four monkeys represent the proverbial principle of "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, do no evil" and they're integral to 4MKs life and killings.

We're going to have such fun, you and I.

Spoiler alert - when a serial killer tells you that you're going to have fun, in all likelihood, fun is the opposite of what you'll be having. This gritty tale begins simply with a man getting hit by a bus (much like we the reader will feel when this thing is over). While on the outside, it looks like a fairly regular, if not gruesome traffic accident, upon closer inspection the pieces are not fitting together. This man appeared to be on his way to drop a pristinely wrapped white package tied with black string in the mailbox. This is 4MKs signature and inside the box is the ear of one 15-year-old Emory Connors. Thus begins a 2-day hunt for an innocent missing girl, to discover the identity of 4MK and his seeming last hurrah.

Darkness. It swirled around her like the current of the deepest sea. Cold and salient, crawling across her body with the touch of a stranger.

While this is told mostly in alternating POVs between Detective Porter and diary entries from 4MK we're also given glimpses of what Emory has/is enduring, along with a few excerpts from members of Porter's squad. I was incredibly impressed with Barker's writing, particularly in the diary entries. This ratcheted up the creep level to one million. We move seamlessly between 4MK's retelling of his own past as well as Porter's present hunt for Emory.

The suspense here was so thick it was more fit for gills than lungs. Once you get into this thing you absolutely won't be able to put it down. It surprised me time and again. As I've mentioned before I've been on a bit of a thriller binge and it's always exciting when you get something so fresh and visceral that you absolutely can not step away from it. The Fourth Monkey delivered jaw-dropping thrill from start to finish.

While I did feel there was a little bit of gratuitous gore here and there, it didn't detract from the story as a whole. There are a few moments that had me going all squinty in one eye and grimacing at the detail but it was never poorly placed or unnecessary. While gore isn't generally my type of reading I don't feel like it was used to sensationalize the story but ground it in the reality that these Detectives were dealing with.

All in all, I loved this book and I'm amped to pick up the second installment. This was a thrilling ride from the first page to the last and once it grips the reader - it absolutely doesn't let go. The twists were fresh and exciting and I absolutely didn't see them coming from a mile away. I highly suggest you go pick up this book!
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,067 reviews3,610 followers
May 27, 2017
All I can say is...WOW!

Inside the depraved mind of a serial killer. The cold, chilling evil.

So what is it about serial killer books? Curious, human nature I suppose. This is my third one this month, and by far the most disturbing. Normally I avoid these but they seem to be “creeping” into my library. Each one getting darker and more sinister. And I’m so glad I picked this one up. Everything you’ve heard about this book is true...it's just that good!

The fourth monkey represents “Do No Evil.” Dispensing his own brand of vigilante justice. And the goal - punish a family member who’s relative has run afoul of the law.

A recent accident leaves a man dead in the street. It appears that luck is on the side of law enforcement and the man hit by the bus is no other than the infamous 4MK (Fourth Monkey Killer). For half a decade the city of Chicago has endured a nightmare that left 7 girls murdered in its wake. Can the good people of Chicago finally breathe a sigh of relief? Come on now, nothing is ever that simple.

Evidence is found next to the dead man that shows there may be one more victim out there...and this one may still be alive! With the clock ticking, detectives Porter and Nash fight against time and fearful citizens, to find the killer’s next victim before it's too late.

Told through several points of view including the killer's own diary - The deep, dark journey into the world of a madman. Disturbing, twisted. (My favorite parts).

Although I had a few plot lines figured out, there were plenty of bumps and shocking moments.
And ooh, the ending!!

Absolutely could not put it down. Again...WOW! Highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley, J.D. Barker and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an ARC to review.
November 4, 2022
“Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” The fourth monkey signifies “Do no evil.” The killer’s pattern is distinctive. He finds someone who has done something wrong, and rather than punish the transgressor he takes someone close to them. Someone they care about. His calling card are boxes containing body parts, the ear to hear no evil, the tongue to speak no evil and the eyes to see no evil. Intrigued? I certainly was.

The story is told in dual timelines, first from a young boy’s journal revealing the birth of a serial killer and then the boy who became the man, and the most sought-after killer by Porter and his team, who have chased the Four Monkey Killer (4MK) for half a decade. This is a serial killer arrogant in his righteousness, forensic in his planning and clinical in his execution, who seems to possess better intel than law enforcement, for it is only in trying to track down their predator that detectives become aware of the crimes committed by another.

With seven girls dead and the police in possession of twenty-one boxes containing the body parts of his victims, his final calling card is the ear of his latest victim Emory the missing daughter of a prominent businessman. But with the man carrying it now dead from a road accident there are seemingly little clues left and little time to find her. That is until the Porter and his team investigate several items found on the killer’s body. It would appear even the 4MK’s death was meticulously planned as he reveals vital clues and continues to taunt and toy with the police from his grave.

This was a fabulous book with a brilliant opening, a sensational ending and everything in between was just superb. The plot was great, the story full of dramatic twists and told at a thrilling pace, the terror and horror perpetuating, and characters deliciously evil. A cracking book and ready to read the next instalment from J.D Barker. I came across this author from Dracul but now officially a big fan of his work.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,027 reviews58.9k followers
August 25, 2018
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker is a 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication.
Spectacular!! J.D Barker has breathed new life into the tired- should have been retired- serial killer trope.

Chicago has been traumatized by the Four Monkey serial killer for the last five years. But, when a man dies in an accident, law enforcement officials are positive he’s the 4MK killer. An unusual way to begin the story, for sure.

But, the kicker is that his latest victim is still alive out there somewhere. She is without food or water and faces certain death if she’s not found immediately. In a taut race against time, detective Porter and his team, must climb into the mind of diabolical killer, via a journal found on the dead man’s body, to save the killer’s final victim.

I have wanted to read this book for a long time, but decided to let it ride until some of the hype died down. With the popularity of traditional serial killer tropes waning over the last several years, I was very curious to discover why this one got such high marks.


Now I know.

If you’ve read any reviews for this book you’ve already gotten the general idea. It’s dark, very, very, very, dark. It’s creepy, macabre, not for the faint of heart, very disturbing, gritty and horribly gruesome. In other words, everything a serial killer themed book should be- but, with relish on top!

But, underneath this intricate plot, written with devious aplomb and perfect pacing, is just a mere suggestion that Mr. Barker is having a little fun with you. There’s a reason why this book is marketed ‘for fans of’ Se7ven and Silence of the Lambs.

Come on guys! I know you! Surely you haven’t forgotten all those outstanding novels of the eighties and nineties- or the movies based on them!! You didn’t see the similarities? Didn’t find those cleverly concealed Easter eggs? This book is loaded with black humor all serial killer aficionados should pick right up on. So, why so serious???

This book is pure GENIUS!! I loved it!!

Let’s face it, it’s been a long time since serial killers dominated headlines or graced the big screen- or the small screen, maybe, for that matter. (I don’t really watch TV, so I’m not positive of that) It’s been a long time since a book based on this theme really shook up the thriller genre and spawned a thousand copycats. So maybe this book just landed at the right place and time amid a plethora of mediocre psychological based thrillers. But, I think the author is in some way paying homage to the heyday of serial killer madness. It’s in the old school formula, the detective teams with the smart ass, slightly un- politically correct, Nash, and vibrant and sassy Clair, to the tortured, Porter, who is still coping with a personal tragedy. The current technology is here, but the old -fashioned journals and paper notes left on pillows all hearken back to an earlier time. It is practically a paint by numbers, ‘by the book’ procedural that feels as familiar as your rock concert T-shirt and your favorite pair of faded jeans.

I can picture this author watching a ‘Scream’ marathon and getting the idea to write a novel with a satirical spin of the serial killer trope. All the clichés are there, but cleverly diverted, so that at the at the end of the day- just like with ‘Scream’, this novel will scare the shit out of you!!

I'm warning you. This book should come with a disclaimer: Do not read this book alone at night!!

Barker knows exactly what he’s doing and will have you in his clutches from the first page to the last! But, just like any good thriller, be ready for a showdown, and the requisite, last minute twist that leaves you wide-eyed and breathless.

I CAN NOT wait to read the next 4MK novel!!

So, please let me send heartfelt kudos from the most cynical and jaded thriller reader on the planet to Mr. Barker for a job well done!!
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
June 10, 2018
All I can say is WOW! and thank you so much to my dear friend, Kaceey for encouraging me to read this book! You only told me I don’t know how many times that I needed to read this book and now I know exactly why!!! 5 Thrilling Stars!

THE FOURTH MONKEY (A 4MK Thriller, #1) by J.D. BARKER is a dark, thrilling, chilling, creepy, and suspenseful mystery/thriller/police procedural novel that was a captivating, gripping, and fast-paced read that was extremely hard to put down. I absolutely loved this one from start to finish as I was stepping into the sadistic mind of this sick and twisted serial killer. There are so many good twists and turns to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat with all the cat and mouse games that occurs throughout this story between a detective and a serial killer.

The premise of the book involves the four monkeys which I found to be quite interesting. The four monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil; and the fourth monkey Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil".

J.D. BARKER delivers an extremely intense and well-written story here with some cringe worthy scenes that is told through three different perspectives including the serial killer’s backstory by way of diary chapters. The diary chapters was one of my favorite parts of this story as it really allowed me to get inside the life and mind of this disturbing and creepy character.

I couldn’t help but love Detective Sam Porter's character as he was vulnerable, funny and such a likeable character. I really appreciated the witty banter that ensued between him and Nash as it really helped to ease the tension of the disturbing scenes as they could get a little gory at times.

This book was so exciting, fun and thrilling to read that even had a little bit of horror thrown in to keep me totally engaged and eager to read to see how it was all going to play out. The ending was unexpected and spectacular which left me wanting more. So I am so happy to hear that there is a second book coming out and that this is also optioned for both television and film. I can hardly wait!! Would highly recommend!

In addition to reading this book, I purchased myself a copy of the audiobook and although it took me a little bit to warm-up to the narrator voices, once I did I thoroughly enjoyed Edoardo Ballerini and Graham Winton’s performance and thought they both delivered the perfect voices for the characters.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and J.D. Barker for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!!

Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.

Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,785 reviews1,625 followers
December 11, 2017
I absolutely loved this! Deliciously depraved & darkly deviant. A chilling serial killer, a novel so creepy & horrifying from the outset, from an exciting relatively unheard of author. Fabulously disturbing and the sickest thing I have ever read. If these statements don't pique your interest, nothing will!

The Fourth Monkey is one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2017, not only is there this book but the TV & movie rights have also been purchased so somebody must've thought this would make a good tv series/movie and I couldn't agree more.

Described as Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs, this dark & twisted tale will leave you wanting more of J.D. Barker's deliciously gritty offerings. A stunner of a novel - I loved every moment of it.

The premise of the book involves the four monkeys. The four monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. The fourth, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil". He has shown crossing his arms. The source that popularized this pictorial maxim is a 17th-century carving over a door of the famous Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan. The carvings at Toshogu Shrine were carved by Hidari Jingoro, and believed to have incorporated Confucius’s Code of Conduct, using the monkey as a way to depict man’s life cycle.

The chapter setup is very well done and adds to the suspense throughout the novel. There is plenty of action contained in the sharp snappy chapters, the perfect combination for a super-speedy unputdownable veritable thrill ride! The chapters are split between three different perspectives - Porter, Clair & #4Mk's diary entries. It makes you want to continue reading as each chapter ends the next is from a different perspective.

I do hope these characters are used again in his future books as I loved their development and their intertwining relationship(s) especially Porter and Nash. Arthur Talbot turns out to be connected to each individual family that has a member murdered. He has his hands, so to speak, in all of the pies - all of the criminal underworld dealings going on in Chicago for the past 20 years.

It's taken me quite a while to write this review as I didn't know how to convey in words the stunning nature of this book. Definitely the toughest review to write in a long time. Trying to convey the fantastic plot and characters is not an easy job. I now realise that no matter how long I take to write the review I will never be able to demonstrate the superb nature of this novel. I cannot wait until #2 comes out next summer! It's going to be a long wait. If it turns out to be as good as this then Barker will be a thriller readers most anticipated author. It will be extremely difficult for this to be knocked off my best of 2017 number one spot.

One of the best books i've read this year, without a doubt. If you have a soft spot for mystery thrillers with a little horror thrown in for good measure, then you can't go wrong with this! Unmissable! It’s creepy, it’s dark and it’s so much fun to read, leaving you gasping right until the end.

Expertly crafted, compelling from the start, a spectacular ending & undoubtedly so worthy of your time. You'll read this one extremely quickly, desperate to know how events will progress!

I genuinely didn't want this to end and as a consequence I wanted to read it more slowly to savour it. It didn't work though as I was constantly flipping the pages quicker and quicker desperate to discover the next twist and turn. If you're a fan of thrillers do not miss this one as this is the best serial killer thriller I have ever read.

Do yourself a favour & make sure this lands right at the top of your TO BE READ LIST! J.D. Barker is a huge new talent! I truly hope this isn't the last we hear of him. It's a rare occasion when you feel a book cannot be done justice through any review... You must read it!

A word of warning - I have seen some reviews for this that have significantly lower ratings than most others. The main complaint causing these ratings is that the book is pretty sick. So, if you are not into that sort of thing I would advise avoiding reading this. In all honesty, I can't properly understand these issues as the synopsis clearly gives the impression that it will be that type of book. That said, I do appreciate that not every one enjoys the same things. I'm also a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their opinion and although subjective, every opinion is as valid as the next.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,110 reviews2,796 followers
February 4, 2021
The Fourth Monkey (4MK Thriller #1)
by J.D. Barker (Author), Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator), Graham Winton (Narrator)

Since reading She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be and two later books by J.D. Barker, I've wanted to go back and read (listen to, in this case) the three books in his 4MK Thriller series. This is despite knowing that the stories could have more graphic violence than I prefer. I just finished the audio version of The Fourth Monkey and now I can't wait to start the second book in the series, The Fifth to Die, which is already on my phone, waiting for me to start listening to it. 

I love police procedurals and characters that I can like and get to see again, in later books. I'm not talking about you, Four Monkey Killer, you crazy, demented, stinking serial killer! Your diary was sick, 4MK, and despite your beyond dysfunctional upbringing, I do not have any sympathy for you, I do not think that upbringing gives you any right to kill people, especially innocent people. 

Trigger warnings for both people and animal abuse!

Published June 27th 2017
Profile Image for Sue.
1,330 reviews5 followers
April 3, 2017
THE FOUTH MONKEY (4MK) by talented author J.D. Barker is a dark and twisting novel; a combination of Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs. Psychological thrillers are my favourite genre so was very much looking forward to reading it. As I started to read it, I was transported to a time when I watched my favourite movie, Se7en. I was drawn and hooked to this book, and had work not got in the way, I would have finished it earlier.

I would describe The Fourth Monkey as very graphic in parts and not for the faint-hearted. The Four Monkey Killer (4MK) was a serial killer, who tortured his victims before killing them, mailing body parts back to their families.

I enjoy reading books about serial killers in order to understand what makes them tick, getting inside the mind of a deranged and twisted character. Who is he? Why does he do this?

The Four Monkeys comes from a shrine in Japan, where there is a carving above the entrance.

The Four Monkey Killer (4MK) has terrorized the residents of Chicago, for over five years. There had been a massive manhunt for this serial killer. When his body is found, the police soon realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

Detective Sam Porter had been there from the beginning. As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, and Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath. He must now try to save the life of a young girl…caught in the middle by this sadistic killer.

“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.”

The novel is told from multiple pints of view with the main two being Detective Sam Porter and from 4MK’s diary. This diary tells the story of his life from childhood to the evil monster he became. This diary is creepy and gave me the chills…but I had to know why!

This is a very well written novel with engaging and flawed characters to add depth and tension to the story. An easy five stars for me. Preorder this novel. It will be worth your time!

I predict that this novel is going to be one of the most talked about books of the year!

I received an ARC copy of this novel. All opinions are my own and my review it unbiased.

Expected publication: June 27th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,904 followers
August 17, 2017
For me this is going to be a book hangover kind of book. What do I read next that will hold my attention as much as this one did?

(I'm trying not to spoil anything in the book so my review is vague..like my mind.)

You should all know that little saying with the monkeys..see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?

The four monkey killer takes that to extremes. He has four little monkeys by adding in 'do no evil'...those monkeys are evil little henchmen. Just saying.

Detective Sam Porter (who is frigging awesome) has been chasing old monkey killer boy for five years. Now they find out that someone has jumped in front of a bus and it's looking like it might have been Monkey boy.
BUT he has a surprise. He has that ever awful box that serial killers love.

And a diary in his pocket.

That little diary is the history of how the Monkey killer came to exist..and it's a hot mess. Our boy has been busy.

This was one of those that just fit all the pieces for me. The detective and his crew were just perfect..snarky and dedicated. (I'd share some of the quotes from the book that made my day but mine was an ARC copy and we are supposed to behave until the book is out...stupid rules.)
The killer is smart and a creepo. I didn't figure stuff out that happened..I thought I had but my butt was dead wrong. Pure goodness.
There was one little place that didn't fit into the story by tying it up that bugged me but it wasn't enough to keep me from throwing up all the stars for this one.

Give me book two in a dang hurry!

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
April 23, 2018
4.5 Stars* (rounded up)

Well, THAT was CREEPY. Hard to shake off even. And yet, I kept reading. And so will you.

"The Fourth Monkey" Killer or 4MK, as he is coined, is a serial killer. Detectives Porter and Nash have been hunting him for a while. 4MK however, has other plans. But then serial killers always do, don’t they?

On the streets of New York City, a body throws itself in front of a bus, leaving a package and a diary behind. The package bears the killer’s signature and instantly NYC Detectives know. It’s him: 4MK. But why? The package leads the detectives on a crazy chase through NYC searching for a missing girl, whose ear was found in the box. For this girl, time is of the essence as per 4MK’s M.O., more boxes will start to appear if she isn’t found on time.

Detective Porter is tasked with reviewing 4MK’s diary, which is the key to this serial killer’s childhood. Nothing will prepare you for its contents. And I mean, nothing. And sorry, but I won’t spoil it. It is chilling, horrific and riveting all at the same time and if it doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.

“The Fourth Monkey” is a race to the finish. It is a heart-pounding, bone-chilling read that is sure to keep you up at night.

This was a sister read with Brenda. Having her to read this with was the best. Sometimes you need a hand to hold, and thankfully Brenda was mine!

Published on Goodreads and Twitter on 4.21.18.
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,305 reviews1,234 followers
April 3, 2021
Absolutely freaking brilliant! I didn't want this book to end but what a fantastic finish! This is going to be THE crime thriller of 2017. This is already in my list of Top 17 Books of 2017, skipping the long list and the short list.

I'm a huge fan of J.D. Barker, he's an exceptionally talented writer and this book has been given some great kudos from top authors and reviewers for a good reason - it's really bloody good! Unputdownable good. There is quite simply nothing not to like. I

It's just freaking awesome!

I've read his novel Forsaken, his short stories and eagerly await the prequel to Dracula he's been asked to pen alongside Dacre Stoker, yes relative of THE Bram Stoker. When I got my hands on this ARC my squeal could be heard in towns all around.

We have a serial killer at work. A very clever, very evil serial killer who has evaded the police for a very long time...they need to catch this psychopath and quickly. The book pulls no punches as from opening pages you are going to be hooked by the dynamic plot that will have you trying to figure out the ending from page one.The book might beat you - I warn you now. Twists and reveals to die for! Don't get too complacent you've got it all worked out.

Just WHO is the 4MK Killer?

Barker does characters exceptionally well and that shines all the way through The Fourth Monkey, there is real depth and I got really involved with every single on whilst reading the book. Despite it being a book that seems like a long read I just lost all sense of real time and devoured the lot!

I couldn't put this book down. I read it over a few hours and loved every single word. The characters are brilliant (oh hang on, I said that already) and the victims...oh, the victims. I was right there with them. This crime thriller is not afraid to push the boundaries. With comparisons to Se7en and Silence of the Lambs I wondered if it could really live up to such praise. Oh yes! Oh yes indeed!

This is dark, scary and twisty.

There are some incredibly good graphic scenes, yet Barker does not push it so far that it becomes unreadable, if you know what I mean? It's "just right" in the balance. As a crime thriller it does have that tinge and atmosphere of Barker's brilliant horror writing edge. I knew from reading Forsaken and early short stories by this author that he was going to be hitting the big-time and here we are! Second novel and a world-wide release, not bad at all Mr Barker - huge respect.

It doesn't matter what genre of book you love. This book has mass reader appeal and I am predicting it to be a best selleron publication date in June. One of those much talked about books that will make your reading year so much better. Update: Today is publication date and this book has had the most outstanding reviews, buzz and is selling up a storm as predicted!

I'm not revealing any plot. The plot itself is brilliant. It threw me around and left me with bruises.I had moments where I yelled for characters, held my breath and re-read paragraphs to let the enormity of it all sink-in. This is book entertainment people. Fantastic!

I'm gushing right? Well, I just really think it's a book that deserves my high praise. I love a good serial killer book and J.D. Barker delivered me the goodies in every way. I have raved about this book to literally every single person that breathes. I am DESPERATE for a sequel!

This is one serial killer you really DO need to meet this year. 5 huge stars. Superb!

Also you can enter to win a draft copy of the book here! - http://jdbarker.com/fourth-monkey-con...

I read an ARC of this novel. All review opinions are entirely my own and completely unbiased. What you get from me are honest reviews.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,723 reviews12.8k followers
August 25, 2017
In this captivating series debut, J. D. Barker pulls the reader into the depths of a serial killer’s mind and how a spark in youth can erupt into a wildfire of indifference. Chicago Homicide Detective Sam Porter has been working to capture the Four Monkey Killer for over five years, watching as the victim count mounts with minimal clues, saving the severed pieces sent in boxes. When called to the scene of an early morning pedestrian-vehicle accident, Porter is baffled as to why he would be involved. What awaits him is perhaps the most curious and yet relieving scene; apparently the Four Monkey Killer has been neutralized after being launched through the air. Within a box like all the others, an ear sits inside and the address of a prominent real estate mogul penned on the label. Additionally, there is a diary that recounts some of the early thoughts of the killer There is little time for victory dances, as Porter must locate the victim before it’s too late. Taking time to read the diary, Porter learns that the writing depicts a man remembering his childhood and how one summer day, his peaceful life was rocked when he discovered the depravity his parents found entertaining. The reader collects much of the backstory here as the story evolves and a neighbourly indiscretion has severe consequences. With the victim completely isolated, Emory Conners tries to reason with herself to learn why she has been taken and what awaits her. Is there someone there, bantering with her, or has the terror led her to hallucinate at the worst possible moment? Just as Porter thinks he has it all figured out, the case turns on its head and the entire foundation comes crumbling down. Will the Four Monkey Killer have the final laugh in his macabre game of monkey and… zookeeper? Is Emory the final victim, or are there more in other locations, waiting to be slain as well? Barker spins a sadistic, but enthralling, story here and keeps the reader wondering until the very last page. He refuses to tie things off entirely, even at that point, paving the way for a sequel that will be much anticipated. Perfect for those who can handle some psychopathy with their thrill reading.

I have heard much about this book over the last while, as it fills my Goodreads review emails. I am happy to have taken the plunge and have already signed myself up to read and review the sequel. Barker does much in this first novel, entertaining and educating the reader on many levels. The split narrative forces the reader to keep up with three essential and interconnected pieces, while also following the progression of the individual storylines. Porter may seem like a well-adjusted detective, but he has much in his own life that has him unsettled, which only goes to thicken the plot and the development the reader finds herein. The story itself, based loosely on an expansion of the popular “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys from Chinese lore, looks to the lesser known “do no evil”, which serves as the fourth monkey. Barker explains the history while developing a gut-wrenching narrative to tie it all together. The plot itself is not overly unique, but the way it is expressed individualises the story nicely, which leaving much open for interpretation. It is one of the better psychological thrillers I have read and I can only hope that Barker will keep the series going, whether Sam Porter remains in the protagonist’s chair after the sequel or not. There is much found herein that leads the reader to see much potential and I can only hope that fans will stumble upon this book in short order and discover that the hype is justified.
Kudos, Mr. Barker for this wonderful debut. I am eager to see what else you have in store in the coming novels.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,056 reviews364 followers
September 19, 2017
WOW WOW JUST WOW! Seriously, I rarely, almost never giver thrillers a 5 star rating but WOW! This a book like no other, like one I haven't read in years! It has the same components as most: a serial killer, a team of cops, clues, and gore - if you cannot handle gore then stop now because this book has it in buckets! What makes this book different is the humanity of each of these components.

In two most intriguing methods, a diary and a twist, you truly get to know the killer in a way we haven't known since the beginnings of Hannibal. The cops are written better than any cop team I ever have read and considering I've been doing this for several decades that says a lot! They were broken, at times crude but always witty and lovable. They had me laughing out loud - people on the plane were staring!

There is a sequel so be prepared!! And let me tell you - I CAN'T WAIT! If you haven't read this yet, well, my gosh, what are you waiting for?!?
Profile Image for Aitor Castrillo.
Author 1 book801 followers
June 26, 2019
¡Lo tiene todo! O al menos todo lo que a mí me gusta encontrarme en un thriller.

Capítulos cortos, un villano potente, giros inesperados... La parte de la investigación policial está muy lograda, pero es el diario el que hace que la novela sea tan especial. Estos capítulos en forma de diario me han cautivado manteniéndome pegado a sus páginas como si las hubieran impregnado del mejor adhesivo.

Acabo de terminar uno de los mejores thrillers que he leído en mi vida. No tardaré en coger La quinta víctima. Ya me estoy frotando las manos...
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
July 25, 2017
4+ Stars.

Excellent Finale......hehehe.

Ok, try to puzzle this one out. The whole story encompasses only three days, but so much happens when a disturbed serial killer returns after ten years silent to unleash his evil on the innocent.....to punish the corrupt.

Detective Samuel Porter of Chicago Metro is on leave due to a horrific tragedy in his family, but is called nonetheless to again lead the chase when THE FOURTH MONKEY KILLER makes his presence known by way of his trademark little boxes filled with facial body parts....AND....time is of the essence as the countdown for survival begins for another young girl's life.

Despite a somewhat familiar storyline, what made THE FOURTH MONKEY stand out and engrossing for me was the reading of the DIARY entries depicting the OMG! highly dysfunctional family life of the 4MK as a child.....and then we can't forget the creepy-good end!

Reference to the three wise monkeys: See No Evil...Hear No Evil...Speak No Evil...AND...an added..."Do No Evil" is our killer's motto....and he certainly abides by it!

Yep! There's gore. Yep! There's brutality. Yep! There's even a bit of sex.....and a few rodents running about.

Bring on 4 MK THRILLER #2!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Labijose.
958 reviews415 followers
August 15, 2020
A pesar de que abusa de pasajes muy subidos de tono en lo morboso (el diario del cuarto mono no tiene desperdicio en ese sentido), he encontrado su lectura bastante entretenida, con una trama que te absorbe desde los primeros capítulos y una escritura fluida y bien hilvanada. También ayudan unos diálogos entre los protagonistas con mucho sentido del humor y bastante credibilidad.

Bien es cierto que, para que esta novela te guste, se necesita cierta complicidad por parte del lector, pues hay pasajes que si no te los crees echan por la borda todo el conjunto. Por ejemplo, hay que creerse a esa familia que de tan disfuncional casi da risa, si no fuera por las numerosas películas americanas que nos han recreado familias parecidas y nos las hemos creído. Aquí hay un poco de Quentin Tarantino y un mucho de “Seven” y similares. Hay muchos giros (que también necesitan de la complicidad del lector), y, sobre todo, un ritmo frenético en la narración (se supone que todo esto ocurre en unas 48 horas), que te obliga a no querer perder ripio y acabar su lectura cuanto antes. Y hay un final abierto que todavía no sé muy bien si me ha gustado. Sinceramente, creo que hubiese preferido que nuestro cuarto mono acabara aquí sus días, y en las siguientes entregas el detective Porter se dedicara a otras investigaciones que nada tuviesen que ver con este personaje, no vaya a ser que acabe cogiéndole cariño. Y no es plan.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,020 reviews2,525 followers
May 16, 2018

Well, this is a weird one! First off, it starts with the death of the suspected serial killer. The detectives find a diary on his body. And it’s the diary that really provides a wild story. It details an event in his boyhood that explains why he is the way he is. Can we say sick? I’m talking a seriously whack job family.

This grabbed my interest from the get go. It’s a very fast paced story. The story bounces back and forth between the police trying to find the identity of the killer and the location of the latest victim, still believed to be alive, with the diary chapters.

This is not a book for the squeamish! Especially if you have a rat phobia. I was doing lots of squirming while reading.

It’s got a high voltage ending that really kicks things up a notch and a cliffhanger that’s got me excited to read the next book in the series.

So, yes I’m recommending this but only for those with strong stomachs that like a bit of gore. We’re talking diametrically opposed to a cozy mystery here.

Profile Image for Overhaul.
269 reviews606 followers
November 18, 2022
"No escuches el mal, no veas el mal, no pronuncies el mal. El cuarto representa, no hagas el mal"

El detective de la policía de Chicago Sam Porter está investigando el caso de un hombre atropellado, los indicios en la escena del crimen apuntan a que se trata de El Cuarto Mono, un asesino en serie que ha estado aterrorizando la ciudad.

Su modus operandi consistía en enviar tres cajas blancas a los padres de las víctimas que secuestra y mata: una primera con una oreja, una segunda con los dos ojos, y otra con la lengua; y finalmente dejar abandonado el cuerpo sin vida en algún lugar.

El hombre atropellado llevaba una de esas cajas blancas. Se inicia así una frenética carrera contrarreloj para averiguar dónde se encuentra encerrada la próxima víctima.

Pues al final ha gustado bastante más de lo que pensaba este libro. Una primera entrega oscura y espeluznante.

Un principio muy inusual. Lleno de misterio que te hace plantearte algunas preguntas.

El suspense está integrado a lo largo de la novela de una manera equilibrada y efectiva.

Recorremos una trama que no deja indiferente. Inquietante y sangriento. J.D. Barker es vívido en sus descripciones.

Una escena que involucraba a una rata y podía imaginar todo claramente. El autor realmente sabe cómo meterse en tu cabeza. Sin duda es la mejor cualidad de esta novela.

El Cuarto Mono se mueve a un ritmo rápido. Es bastante ágil, no tiene parones. Y hay muchas escenas sangrientas detalladas, pero hay algo de "humor" mezclado para aliviar la tensión.

La última página me dejó con ganas de más.

Dentro de la mente depravada de un asesino en serie. El mal frío, calculador y escalofriante.

Qué nos llama de estas historias. Curiosidad y la naturaleza humana, la adrenalina, el misterio de un puzzle por montar. Incluso el toque oscuro y macabro.

Una apertura brillante, un final sensacional y todo lo demás fue simplemente magnífico. La trama ha sido genial, está muy bien pensado y no era para nada como me esperaba dentro de un thriller es difícil ser algo original.

Por ello me gustó el complejo y oscuro camino que decidió recorrer el autor. Tiene partes un poco predecibles. Otras no tanto. Quizás sea su único (otro lo menciono abajo) y mayor defecto.

El asesino le deja un puñado de pistas para el detective Porter, entre ellas un diario personal, que se remonta a su infancia.

Es aquí donde radica la fascinación y el atrape en el que acabas sumergido con esta novela, su diario. No fue una infancia ordinaria, normal, nada en él lo es y fue.

Seremos para desgracia, la verdad, de nuestra imaginación testigos en primera persona de sus pensamientos y de sus acciones. Y joder, son absolutamente escalofriantes.

Sin parar, adrenalina en vena, para morderse las uñas, un suspense que acelera el corazón. Pues sí, esas cosas tan geniales que uno busca principalmente en estos libros aquí lo tiene.

J.D. Barker mueve los hilos como buen tirititero creando un tipo de imágenes en tu mente, sin ser tampoco asquerosas.. demasiado, que hacen que tu columna se estremezca por la frialdad de los hechos. Es espeluznante y vicioso.

Una historia llena de giros un tanto dramáticos y contada a un ritmo emocionante, el terror y el horror se perpetúan, y los personajes están perfilados detalladamente. Algunos malvados y tan jodidos como sólo el ser humano es capaz de alcanzar ese nivel de depravación. Retorcido.

Porter y su compañero Nash son muy buenos personajes. Simpáticos. La historia de Porter se entrelazó en la historia, lo que hace que todos sus personajes sean más humanos.

Los personajes secundarios también estuvieron bien dibujados.

Sé que me voy a repetirme de mi ultima reseña pero de verdad, la necesidad que hay hoy en el género de usar el ingrediente de la miseria en el personaje principal.

Demasiado drama y negatividad cuando no veo que sea indispensable, aburre, llevo 10 thrillers seguidos y en todos los puñeteros protagonistas necesitan tener un problema o varios, ya sean de su pasado o cualquier otra movida.

No llega con el zumbado y mente maestra del asesino, con sus actos o incluso su propio drama, que el protagonista le aporta un extra también de grises, depresión y dolor extra.

Un protagonista alegre, que le vaya bien, que no le hayan hecho algo o que tenga traumas y ahoge sus miserias en lo que pille.. joder..

Aburrís y me voy quemado, leches.

En fin, volvamos a lo bueno.

Añadir también la documentación en diversos aspectos, desde medicinales, físicos, policiales y otros. El diario te atrae a la mente del asesino de una manera llena de curiosidad luego es algo incómoda, intrigante y fascinante. Me gustó.

Un thriller en el que te sumerges en la mente del asesino sin entrar demasiado en el clásico procedimiento policial. Me ha impresionado, no lo niego, no lo esperaba. Thriller palomitero.

Lamentablemente el precio de leer tanto thriller seguido es que la capacidad de sorprenderte baja.

Aunque gracias a la banda de amistades sé que por desgracia para muchos la saga decae. Algo que tendré muy en cuenta..✍️🐒
Profile Image for Jan.
424 reviews252 followers
June 27, 2017
What a ride this was!

I was hooked from the start and with each turn of the page became more and more obsessed. I could NOT put this down!

Top 5 things I loved:
1) The Diary chapters-amazingly creepy and disturbing, but captivating at the same time. I love when an author allows the reader to go inside the life and mind of a psychopath.
2) Detective Sam Porter's character. He's smart, vulnerable and funny. The sarcasm playing between him and Nash helped balance out some of the disturbing violence.
3) The plot! There are a lot of twists and turns, but it's the cat and mouse games being played that really keep the reader on edge.
4) The writing style. Whether the action is fast paced or things have slowed down to give the reader a chance to breathe, it all just flows together seamlessly. Barker held me memorized and I have a dirty house to prove it!
5) The ending. I was wondering how things were going to wrap up, especially when I noticed I was nearing the end of pages. I actually yelled an excited 'YES!' when it was all said and done.

What I didn't like:
1) Absolutely nothing! This was perfection in my book...bloody brilliant!

This is a must read for any mystery/suspense/police procedural junkies.

My thanks to Maxine (Booklover Catlady) for providing the ARC.
Opinions in the above review are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Svetlana.
49 reviews176 followers
October 15, 2017
I finished this book with a dropped jaw and wow, it was just excellent.

The Fourth Monkey was certainly a dark, twisted and disturbing read and I absolutely loved this book. I was honestly so impressed by how clever the plot was, and the brilliant writing style had me completely immersed in the story.

Barker really knows how to write fleshed out characters; some were really likeable whilst others were quite detestable. The killer’s diary really drew me into his mind and gave me an insight on the kind of person he truly was. It showed me the reasons for why he had such a twisted mentality and why he committed those horrific acts. And boy, did he have a dysfunctional family. There were certain parts of the diary that were really gruesome to read, and it was really fascinating to see how much of an impact the killer’s childhood had on his present self. The detectives on the other hand were so lovable! They were hilarious with their banter and bickering and I really enjoyed their interactions. Detectives Porter and Nash were good, honest men and I adored their friendship. Nash was my favourite character. He was a charming man who really knew how to lighten the mood. I admired the detectives for their intelligence, how they pieced everything together and ‘puzzled it out’.

There were so many twists and turns I didn’t see coming that my jaw literally dropped several times. At one point when I was reading on the tube, I started making funny faces because I was so shocked by what I had read. I had to actually force myself to make a normal face lol. There was never a dull moment in this book, not once did I feel like the story dragged on in any way. And this was definitely NOT a predictable story!

Oh, and the big reveal about who the killer was?? Yeah. My friend accidentally ruined it for me. Which means that when I next see her, I’m gona need to strangle her.

Anyways, this was a fantastic read. So if you haven’t already picked it up, what are you doing??
Profile Image for Francesc.
391 reviews194 followers
August 30, 2020
Personalmente, no me gustó. Es un best-seller muy vendido y bien valorado, pero no me gustó 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️ ¿Qué puedo decir? Una trama rocambolesca; un asesino que... (no quiero hacer spoiler); me resultó aburrido hasta la saciedad.
No sé porqué razón leo best-seller si en un 90% acabo desesperado. Y, aún hoy, sigo cayendo en alguna que otra trampa.
Le puse 2 estrellas porqué la trama, al menos, está bien organizada y tiene su lógica. Por lo demás, nada.

Personally, I didn't like it. It's a well-rated and well-selling best-seller, but I didn't like it 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️ What can I say? A bizarre plot; a murderer who ... (I don't want to spoil it); I was bored ad nauseam. I do not know why I read best-seller if I end up 90% desperate. And, even today, I still fall into the odd trap. I gave it 2 stars because the plot, at least, is well organized and has its logic. For the rest, nothing.
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews371 followers
January 5, 2018
I now see why this was one of the contenders for best Mystery/Thriller for the year!

I tried to go into this book with low expectations. I saw it everywhere last year and it’s my preferred genre. I just love suspense and police thrillers.

Well, I was not disappointed. I loved this book, the characters and the overall mystery of who the 4MK killer was. I don't want to say more about the killer due to spoilers or even give readers a hint. I think the less you know about the plot and characters, the more gripping you will find this book.

This was a dark and creepy police thriller. I liked how J.D. Barker picked the killer’s chosen method of killing his victims and the meaning behind it. Very clever!

The diary chapters of the killer’s backstory was riveting and I looked forward to those chapters. Barker gave you a glimpse inside the killer’s head and it worked! It was creepy, disturbing and well done.

I love Detective Sam Porter and all the crew in the homicide unit. The camaraderie and laughter in the dialogue made it easy to love all the characters!

I was completely engaged with this whole plot and story. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series!
Profile Image for Debra .
2,286 reviews35k followers
January 16, 2018
The long and short of this is: A serial killer has been terrorizing Chicago for over five years. The serial killer has become known as the Fourth Monkey (See No evil, Speak No evil - you get the picture). Then one night, his body is found. Police on the scene believe that he was on his way to deliver a message about a victim - who may very well be still alive. Detective Sam Porter has been the detective on the case. He has his own demons and many question if it is too soon for him to be diving into this investigation- but he does. He believes he can find the victim and unravel who the killer is and what haws motivated him over the years. Whew! What a ride!

That is all I am going to say about the plot. What I will say is that I highly recommend this book if you enjoy clever, intelligent psychological thrillers! Of course, as you can tell from the blurb, this is not fairy tale. It is dark, gritty, suspenseful, mesmerizing and hard to put down. I loved that we got to see inside the mind of the killer. He gave us glimpses into his past which really sucked me in! I loved the ongoing investigations paired with the killer's past. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! (and neither should you!)

Again, if you like gritty psychological thrillers (and can handle some gore) this book is for you! But be warned - this is hard to put down and may cause you to lose sleep!

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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