Good Morning! It is my pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the official The Fourth Monkey blog tour. I wish to send my sincere thanks to the author J.D. Barker and Maxine Groves of Booklover Catlady Publicity for providing Mrs B’s Book Reviews with the fantastic opportunity to participate in this very exciting blog tour.
A little more about the book…
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.
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker is available in paper and e formats (from June 27th) HERE.
About the author…
J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author who’s work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.
Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.
At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.
Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public.
Barker’s indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.
Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.
Have you heard of the popular three wise monkeys proverb? This ancient proverb dates back to the 17th century Japan. The monkeys represent Mizaru – see no evil, Kikazaru – hear no evil and Iwazaru – say no evil. There is also a lesser known fourth monkey, known as Shizaru, which represents think no evil. This proverb provides the basis of the mantra that surrounds the terrifying serial killer at the forefront of J.D. Barker’s latest novel, The Fourth Monkey (4MK).
Chicago based detective Sam Porter has worked tirelessly for over five years on the notorious 4MK serial killer case, but so far his search for this deranged murderer of countless young women has been fruitless. Eventually, Porter receives the big break he has been hoping for in this case but it comes while he is on personal leave. It seems the 4MK has committed suicide by walking in front of a bus. He leaves behind a lasting legacy, a final case to solve. Within his personal effects is a severed ear in a white box, which is his calling card. In addition, a diary is found on the killer, providing an insight into the evolution of this sociopath. It is a pure adrenaline rush against time to save the final victim.
Bestselling author and fellow author in the crime/serial killer genre, Jeffrey Deaver, has endorsed the front cover of The Fourth Monkey, stating it is ‘delightfully devious’. With this commendation from a respected author and comparisons drawn between this novel and Silence of the Lambs, as well as the film Se7en, I approached this book with high expectations. The Fourth Monkey definitely deserves the praise it has been allocated, I found it a thrilling, gruesome, addictive and astute novel.
The style of narration employed by Barker in this novel works well and draws you into the world of the 4MK killer. Barker utilises shifting points of view to deliver his second novel. The first point of view featured in The Fourth Monkey is focussed on detective Sam Porter. This perspective zones in on the here and now of the investigation. Barker uses this particular narration to explore the backstory of his flawed lead detective and Sam Porter’s personal background is an arresting one. Porter’s narration also draws on the other police personnel involved in the case and I have to say I really enjoyed their interactions. I also got an insider’s view into the police procedures involved in investigating a serial killer case and this also made for some insightful reading. When a diary belonging to the 4MK comes into Sam’s possession, this gives rise to another crucial perspective in the novel. What emerges from this perspective is the eye opening account of a young boy’s transformation into a serial killer and the events, environment and key figures that resulted in his rise to depravity. For me, this was the most chilling story I have read on a serial killer that I can recall. The final voice that forms the last puzzle to solve in the 4MK’s legacy is that of a young woman, Emory. The hunt to find Emory before she perishes provides a big incentive for the reader to turn the pages at breakneck speed and this haunting voice provides further pull towards sticking with this coercive tale.
The Fourth Monkey is structured in a short and sharp chapter style layout, which works to ensure that the reader feels compelled to read just one more chapter. This particular format employed by the author helped me race through this novel at breakneck speed. I became fully involved in the race against the clock to save the final victim Emory, while simultaneously unlocking the killer’s past through his diary entries. The novel as a whole is action packed, following a fast pace, with plenty of twists thrown at the reader to decipher.
The Fourth Monkey clearly draws on the author, J.D. Barker’s background in writing for the horror genre, stemming from his first novel Forsaken. For those who are squeamish when it comes to torture scenes and violence, be warned. The Fourth Monkey does not shy away from delivering shocks. Many scenes will have you seeking out a blanket to cover your eyes, things do get pretty scary but it is in keeping with the overall tone of the novel. However, I will say I could feel myself developing a morbid curiosity about this killer. It is one of those – it hurts to look, but you can’t turn away style of reads! It features a wholly satisfying and slightly open ending, which does hint at more to come from J.D. Barker.
With news of a big screen production of The Fourth Monkey in the works, which comes as no surprise as this novel is a visual feast, I firmly believe it will transfer from the page to the screen with ease. I can highly recommend The Fourth Monkey, especially to crime fiction fans.
(I wish to thank the author, J.D. Barker and Booklover Catlady Publicity for providing me with a complimentary copy of The Fourth Monkey for review purposes).
If you enjoyed this review of The Fourth Monkey you can purchase copies of the novel in ebook and paper form here:
Connect with J.D. Barker at the following locations:
Check out more stops on the The Fourth Monkey #4MK blog tour: