The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)

Title: The Fourth Monkey | Author: J.D. Barker | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Pub. Date: 06/27/17 | Pages: 416 | ISBN13: 9780544968844 | Genre: Thriller | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Triggers: Torture, death | Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review

The Fourth Monkey

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. – Goodreads

– S & S –

The Fourth Monkey Review

First off, I love the cover. It’s creepy and beautiful at the same time. Yes, i am one of those horrid readers that judges a book partly by it’s cover. It was one of the main reasons I wanted he Fire tablet. I like pretty pictures and some covers are pieces of art unto themselves.

Thrillers are quite hard to review as any misstep on the reviewers part can give the whole thing away. That being said, The Fourth Monkey is an awesome thriller. It has quite a few twists and turns that not only make sense within the book but also make good common sense.

The Fourth Monkey moves along at a nice clip. It doesn’t move so fast that you can’t tell who is doing what or what is going on. The Fourth Monkey is laid out neatly and compactly. No wasted descriptions that bog the plot down.

The characters of Porter, Nash, Clair and Kloz were very likable and interesting. They actually feel like a real team and real friends. Their dialogue is playful and serious and they fit together nicely. The dialogue also flows well together and is realistic. I honestly can’t tell you how relieved I am to come across a detective (Porter) who does have some things going on his life but he’a capable, intelligent, effective detective with a bit of a sense of humour. I partly stopped reading thrillers because all of the killers sounded the same, all of the detectives were either filled with self-loathing, drunk or on drugs, and barely keeping his job because he’s oh-so-cynical and insubordinate. I find it very refreshing that was not the case here. In fact, Porter’s troubles were very realistic in their execution and expression. A bit of a spoiler below, please highlight to see. It’s nothing major and has nothing to do with who the killer is.


As far as 4MK goes, he’s a decent enough serial killer. Character-wise, not human being-wise. His motivations are made clear through the diary and make sense. However, some things beggared belief a bit too much. That is really the only reason I can’t quite give it a five. The diary portions are interesting but the dialogue of the Four Monkey Killer as a child is far too grown-up. I have never heard a kid say, “This orange juice is delightful! It’s like sunshine in a glass.” I understand he’s not your typical kid but c’mon. Kids just don’t speak like that.

All in all The Fourth Monkey is a great, fast read with an excellent ending. As far as the technical aspects go there were no typos, no misused words. The type-face was clear and easy to read.

4 out of 5 Skulls


3 thoughts on “The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)

  1. I tend to avoid the horror genres but tiptoe carefully along the thrillers. Does the number of skulls given reflect a level of gore factor as well, or is it just a ‘thumbs up’ alternative. (Was severed thumbs up already taken somewhere?)

    Inquiring minds want to be able to sleep at night. Thank you.

    1. The skulls just represent my overall like/dislike of a book so, yeah, a thumbs up. OI love your idea of the severed thub for a thumbs up though, that is awesome!

      As far as gore goes, I’m thinking it’s about medium? There is some torture referenced but not really gone into in a lot of detail, if that makes much sense.

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