The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker: Review

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker is an intelligently crafted crime thriller showcasing the classic police vs serial killer.


Here is an alternate cover I found in the website provided to me for the author’s photograph. Love both the artwork.


The Fourth Monkey

The serial killer


Hannibal Lecter was lost into the horizon long ago. We needed someone to carry his baton and not just for a single novel. J.D. Barker shows promise by taking on the name of the most reliable and loved side-kicks of the world’s most loved super-sleuth and turning him into an absolutely sick psycho.


The character of the serial killer is something that will stick in your mind for a while. The book never lets you believe anything. All the information you receive in the due course of investigation seems to be created to fool you for fun and games. The serial killer, aka the author, is a clever man. He knows how to keep you on your toes and never let you sit back, shake your head, and say, “Yeah, I saw that coming.”

The story

Gore, violence, thrill, every element associated with the genre mix of horror and crime thriller are present in The Fourth Monkey.

The apparent predictability of the twisty plot feels like the killers (or the author’s, imagine my impish smile here) way of leading us to his desired conclusion. The hint of a sequel is welcome and expected.

The pace is perfect. We move at a good speed but get some relaxing moment after a few particularly taxing scenes.

The author has used the concept of the three wise monkeys in a fascinating manner. Not many would know about the fourth monkey.

The back and forth chapter format of multiple POV showing us the progress (or the lack of it) of the current investigation and the pages from a diary left with a dead person initially suspected to be the infamous Fourth Monkey Killer.

If you want to avoid spoilers, even the hints, stop here, skip the next paragraph and start reading the one after.

Spoiler alert
Spoiler Alert!

Our esteemed and efficient Detective Porter reads through the pages giving us snippets from the initially deceptively amazing life of the young killer. The reasons for the sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies hinted upon sound a bit too much before the killer leaves a note suggesting everything is a puzzle to be solved. The detective and the reader are left to worry how much of the volunteered information is absolutely true.

Spoiler over

My recommendation

I enjoy all kinds of mystery and some horror. Borderline to medium horror (can’t stomach hardcore anymore) is all right with me. The Fourth Monkey crosses the medium horror line and hovers near the Lecteresque extreme. A few scenes can be repulsive at times, but the author doesn’t ask everybody to go get this book. He mentions his target audience and gives ample warning by comparing his work with the movie Se7en and Thomas Harris’s masterpiece, Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lamb specifically). I found the mention from Netgalley and expect same will be mentioned in the published copy too.

I am a big fan of Harris (read all his books, have been called a psycho) and Lecter. While I don’t see the horrific beauty of The Silence of the Lambs movie in The Fourth Monkey, I do see a lot of potential due to similarities of no-covered-up details in both books. The Lecter novels are ahead in complexity and supporting characters.

The Fourth Monkey shows the promise of becoming much more given the time and patience.

J.D. Barker, very much like Harris, doesn’t leave much to our imagination. He spells out every torture, expression, reaction with great details. If subtlety is your thing, this book is not for you.

Please note that this book is strictly for an adult audience. Even if you are an adult, pick up this book only if you approve of relevant and plot-necessary gore and horror in your crime thriller. If you do like the genre, you are in for a ride.



The author’s website mentions that The Fourth Monkey has sold for both film and television.
So happy to hear that. 🙂 It’s going to be a scream on the big screen.


J.D. Barker is an international bestselling author of Forsaken; a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel, which has earned him comparisons to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul. His latest novel, The Fourth Monkey, is set for release in summer 2017. In addition, he has been asked to co-author a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family. Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

Bio taken from the author’s website

For details, read this.

J.D. Barker

The photograph was taken from with permission from Peter Jung who had provided me with the ARC on behalf of the author and his publishers. I have added the link to the website as I found some amazing pieces in the photographer’s (I presume from the first name that she is the author’s wife) portfolio.

The Fourth Monkey Book Cover

The Fourth Monkey

J. D. Barker

Crime thriller, Mysteries and thrillers

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

June 27, 2017




Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs when a notorious serial killer is hit by a bus while delivering his signature message, leaving detective Sam Porter days to locate the last victim using clues from the killer s disturbing diary, words that taunt Sam even from beyond the grave. "

Book links


Hardcover: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books a Million | IndiBound | Powells | Book Depository | Target
eBook: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Kobo | iBooks
AudioBook: Amazon | Audible | iTunes


Hardcover: Amazon | Waterstones
eBook: Amazon
AudioBook: Amazon | Audible | iTunes


  1. Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic

    Very good review! Based on your review I can definitely say this is not the book for me. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up since I don’t like books about serial killers though I love mysteries especially police procedurals. I definitely don’t like getting into the mind or thoughts of a serial killer. But some people do like this type of story and you’ve done a good job letting people know what they will get if they read this.

    1. Post

So what say you?