‘The Fourth Monkey’ by J.D. Barker #BookReview #FridayReads

Brilliant. Complicated. Psychopath.

That’s the Four Monkey Killer or ‘4MK’. A murderer with a twisted vision and absolutely no mercy.

Detective Sam Porter has hunted him for five long years, the recipient of box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the bodies of 4MK’s victims.

But now Porter has learnt the killer’s twisted history and is racing to do the seemingly impossible – find 4MK’s latest victim before it’s too late…

4th monkey

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

There’s a really clever plot at the heart of this novel. While the usual suspects of a serial killer tale are all here – good guy detective with a troubled back story; twisted psycho with a twisted past; a cast of good, solid, side characters – there are some unexpected twists and turns that are really well done. It is gripping at times, and I did want to keep reading.

The hunt for a missing girl, in the grip of a terrifying serial killer, is interspersed with the diary of that killer (found by the lead detective). This was really effective and very interesting too. Finding out what made the killer tick while hoping that Emory would be found really added to the suspense – the reader becomes horribly aware of just what 4MK is capable of.

This is a gory novel. There are some disturbing scenes. This doesn’t usually put me off – but I do prefer subtlety over a sledgehammer, and this was just too overdone for my liking. It wasn’t the gory scenes themselves, it was just that they did seem gratuitous. And sometimes things are more disturbing, more scary, more gripping, if they’re subtle.

I also thought that some of the dialogue – particularly the banter between the police – was a bit clichéd. And I really didn’t buy Emory’s dad’s reaction to her disappearance.

So I did sort of enjoy it. It was a good, entertaining read. But I didn’t love it.

three stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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