The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker

The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker

Hear No Evil

For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades.

See No Evil

Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles.

Speak No Evil

Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved.

Do No Evil

With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale.

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

This review is a bittersweet one for me. In writing it, it means I have just read the final part in possibly the best crime thriller trilogy I’ve had the pleasure of reading. On the other hand it also means the end of the road for me with what has been an utterly gripping journey. The first two books piled mystery upon mystery, and were filled with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.
46433688._SY475_Well I can confirm The Sixth Wicked Child is the twistiest, turniest book in this wonderful, dark trilogy. This book follows form with its predecessors – hopping around to tell the story in real time from the perspective of the various characters. The diaries make a reappearance chronicling the childhood of Anson Bishop. This time around we learn more about the past of Detective Sam Porter, a troubling past that may have serious implications for his freedom.

The situation for Porter deepens further with this third book, revealing some truly troubling events. But how much of this is true and how much is constructed by the evil mind of Anson Bishop? The murders continue to stack up but the perpetrator becomes even less distinct – spread out across state lines, staged in a way not entirely consistent with 4MK, and more evidence seems to point to someone else being the culprit all along.

Just when you think you are getting a handle on where the story is going, who the guilty party is Barker manages to keep the mysteries flowing. Right until the end the truth is cleverly shielded from view and even the finale leaves things in some degree of question. What an incredible read this book was, and what an incredible ride the whole series has been. It’s not often I wax lyrical about a book or a series of books, but the 4MK trilogy has been a joy to binge back to back, and it truly sated the darker corners of my mind.

My rating:
goodread

The Fifth to Die by J.D. Barker

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:
goodread

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

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.

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

Wow, what an incredible read The Fourth Monkey has been. This is the first book I’ve read by J.D. Barker, and that is often the make or break when trying a new author. I can wholeheartedly say that this is one of the best crime thriller novels I have ever read. The killer is highly enigmatic and mysterious. A dark and shadowy figure foiling the police at every turn. The discovery of another body, the body of the killer throws a curveball at the team investigating his crimes. Clues on the body start to point to one last victim with little time left and clues to his background.
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J.D. Barker has found a fantastic approach to making the threat ever present as we follow the team in their hunt for the victim, while they also seek an answer to who the Four Monkey Killer was and why he did what he did. A diary of sorts provides some answers, chronicling the life of the killer as a child and events that developed him into the man he became.

I found The Fourth Monkey to be a rare book. While there are many I have loved, this is one of the few that kept me wanting for the next chance to sit down and find out what happened next. I needed to know where this killer came from. I needed to know what becomes of his final victim. I needed to know who the Four Monkey Killer was. And even once the identity became clear, somehow the twists and thrills did not let up there.

The only disappointment came when I read the final sentence. I had answers, but that wasn’t enough. J.D. Barker has produced a novel that left me wanting more. Thankfully for me, books two and three are on my shelf ready for me to dive right in to. This is possibly one of the best crime thrillers I have read.

My rating:
goodread