The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

I have to say, I thought the bar was already set high in The Fourth Monkey. The follow up, The Fifth to Die takes the bar and lifts it even further. I loved the first book so much I had to read this book immediately after. For context, I think the last book series I really felt a need to binge one after the other was The Dark Tower by Stephen King, a firm favourite in my book. With the fiasco that became of the Four Monkeys Killer case, the FBI swoop in to take over this case as a seemingly new killer hits the streets of Chicago.35682475._SY475_The team work hard, trying to figure out who is responsible, what are their motives. And the biggest questions of all, is 4MK involved this time around and what connects the victims together? All the while Detective Porter is plagued by what Anson Bishop achieved and how he had fooled them so easily. Once again Barker has crafted a book with intensity and pace, a breathless roller coaster that left me constantly saying to myself “just another few pages, just another chapter…”. It was all I could do to stop reading long enough to go to work.

The crimes perpetrated are dastardly and dark, the perpetrator troubled and deranged. While the rest of his team close the net around the unsub, Porter’s ever deepening obsession to ensnare Bishop sees him travel between Chicago, New Orleans and South Carolina. From Bishop’s childhood home, to the scene of his earliest crimes, and on to a prison in New Orleans, Barker manages to really paint a picture of him as a dark and tormented figure. Once again, diaries are used to illustrate Bishop’s early life, a wonderful device that helps break up the breakneck pace of the action.

If the murders depicted in the first book were despicable and dark, the crimes put forward on this second outing take things to a whole new level. The concept that the crimes are being used to punish others for perceived transgressions continues as a theme, as does the charming menace from the protagonists. Barker has developed links and threads between his characters that neatly tie things together that make for an engaging narrative filled once again with more questions than answers. A fantastic follow up to The Fourth Monkey, The Fifth to Die ups the ante and I am so happy I have the third book in the trilogy on-hand to immediately start on.

My rating:

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