Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called “a talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”
Two days to save her . . .
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.
One day . . .
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows that 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 as the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.
“Creepy, scary . . . and impossible to put down! The Fourth Monkey is everything a thriller should be—a must-read!”—Heather Graham, New York Times best-selling author of Law and Disorder
“A twisted, movie-worthy serial killer thriller.”—Crime by the Book
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Day 1 6:14 a.m.
There it was again, that incessant ping.
I turned the ringer off. Why am I hearing text notifications? Why am I hearing anything?
Apple’s gone to shit without Steve Jobs.
Sam Porter rolled to his right, his hand blindly groping for the phone on the nightstand.
His alarm clock crashed to the floor with a thunk unique to cheap electronics from China.
When his fingers found the phone, he wrestled the device from the charging cable and brought it to his face, squinting at the small, bright screen.
CALL ME — 911.
A text from Nash.
Porter looked over at his wife’s side of the bed, empty except for a note —
Went to get milk, be back soon.
He grunted and again glanced at his phone.
So much for a quiet morning.
Porter sat up and dialed his partner. He answered on the second ring.
The other man fell silent for a moment. “I’m sorry, Porter. I debated whether or not to contact you. Must have dialed your number a dozen times and couldn’t bring myself to actually place the call. I finally decided it would be best just to text you. Give you a chance to ignore me, you know?”
“It’s fine, Nash. What have you got?”
Another pause. “You’ll want to see for yourself.”
“There’s been an accident.”
Porter rubbed his temple. “An accident? We’re Homicide. Why would we respond to an accident?”
“You’ve gotta trust me on this. You’ll want to see it,” Nash told him again. There was an edge to his voice.
Porter sighed. “Where?”
“Near Hyde Park, off Fifty-Fifth. I just texted you the address.”
His phone pinged loudly in his ear, and he jerked it away from his head.
He looked down at the screen, noted the address, and went back to the call.
“I can be there in about thirty minutes. Will that work?”
“Yeah,” Nash replied. “We’re not going anywhere soon.”
Porter disconnected the call and eased his legs off the side of the bed, listening to the various pops and creaks his tired fifty-two-year-old body made in protest.
The sun had begun its ascent, and light peeked in from between the closed blinds of the bedroom window. Funny how quiet and gloomy the apartment felt without Heather around.
Went to get milk.
From the hardwood floor his alarm clock blinked up at him with a cracked face displaying characters no longer resembling numbers.
Today was going to be one of those days.
There had been a lot of those days lately.
Porter emerged from the apartment ten minutes later dressed in his Sunday best — a rumpled navy suit he’d bought off the rack at Men’s Wearhouse nearly a decade earlier — and made his way down the four flights of stairs to the cramped lobby of his building. He stopped at the mailboxes, pulled out his cell phone, and punched in his wife’s phone number.
“You’ve reached the phone of Heather Porter. Since this is voice mail, I most likely saw your name on caller ID and decided I did not wish to speak to you. If you’re willing to pay tribute in the form of chocolate cake or other assorted offerings of dietary delight, text me the details and I’ll reconsider your position in my social roster and possibly get back to you later. If you’re a salesperson trying to get me to switch carriers, you might as well hang up now. AT&T owns me for at least another year. All others, please leave a message. Keep in mind my loving husband is a cop with anger issues, and he carries a large gun.”
Porter smiled. Her voice always made him smile. “Hey, Button. It’s just me. Nash called. There’s something going on near Hyde Park; I’m meeting him down there. I’ll give you a call later when I know what time I’ll be home.” He added, “Oh, and I think there’s something wrong with our alarm clock.”
He dropped the phone into his pocket and pushed through the door, the brisk Chicago air reminding him that fall was preparing to step aside for winter.
Day 1 6:45 a.m.
Porter took Lake Park Avenue and made good time, arriving at about a quarter to seven. Chicago Metro had Woodlawn at Fifty-Fifth completely barricaded. He could make out the lights from blocks away — at least a dozen units, an ambulance, two fire trucks. Twenty officers, possibly more. Press too.
He slowed his late-model Dodge Charger as he approached the chaos, and held his badge out the window. A young officer, no more than a kid, ducked under the yellow crime-scene tape and ran over. “Detective Porter? Nash told me to wait for you. Park anywhere — we’ve cordoned off the entire block.”
Porter nodded, then pulled up beside one of the fire trucks and climbed out. “Where’s Nash?”
The kid handed him a cup of coffee. “Over there, near the ambulance.”
He spotted Nash’s large frame speaking to Tom Eisley from the medical examiner’s office. At nearly six foot three, he towered over the much smaller man. He looked like he’d put on a few pounds in the weeks since Porter had seen him, the telltale cop’s belly hanging prominently over his belt.
Nash waved him over.
Eisley greeted Porter with a slight nod and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “How are you holding up, Sam?” He held a clipboard loaded with at least a ream of paper. In today’s world of tablets and smartphones, the man always seemed to have a clipboard on hand; his fingers flipped nervously through the pages.
“I imagine he’s getting tired of people asking him how he’s holding up, how he’s doing, how he’s hanging, or any other variation of well-being assertion,” Nash grumbled.
“It’s fine. I’m fine.” He forced a smile. “Thank you for asking, Tom.”
“Anything you need, just ask.” Eisley shot Nash a glance.
“I appreciate that.” Porter turned back to Nash. “So, an accident?”
Nash nodded at a city bus parked near the curb about fifty feet away. “Man versus machine. Come on.”
Porter followed him, with Eisley a few paces behind, clipboard in tow.
A CSI tech photographed the front of the bus. Dented grill. Cracked paint an inch above the right headlight. Another investigator picked at something buried in the right front tire tread.
As they neared, he spotted the black body bag among a sea of uniforms standing before a growing crowd.
“The bus was moving at a good clip; its next stop is nearly a mile down the road,” Nash told them.
“I wasn’t speeding, dammit! Check the GPS. Don’t be throwing accusations like that out there!”
Porter turned to his left to find the bus driver. He was a big man, at least three hundred pounds. His black CTA jacket strained against the bulk it had been tasked to hold together. His wiry gray hair was matted on the left and reaching for the sky on the right. Nervous eyes stared back at them, jumping from Porter, to Nash, then Eisley, and back again. “That crazy fucker jumped right out in front of me. This ain’t no accident. He offed himself.”
“Nobody said you did anything wrong,” Nash assured him.
Eisley’s phone rang. He glanced at the display, held up a finger, and walked a few paces to the side to take the call.
The driver went on. “You start spreading around that I was speeding, and there goes my job, my pension . . . think I wanna be looking for work at my age? In this shit economy?”
Porter caught a glimpse of the man’s name tag. “Mr. Nelson, how about you take a deep breath and try to calm down?”
Sweat trickled down the man’s red face. “I’m gonna be pushing a broom somewhere all because that little prick picked my bus. I got thirty-one years behind me without an incident, and now this bullshit.”
Porter put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Do you think you can tell me what happened?”
“I need to keep my mouth shut until my union rep gets here, that’s what I need to do.”
“I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.”
The driver frowned. “What are you gonna do for me?”
“I can put in a good word with Manny Polanski down at Transit, for starters. If you didn’t do anything wrong, if you cooperate with us, there’s no reason for you to get suspended.”
“Shit. You think I’ll get suspended over this?” He wiped the sweat from his brow. “Jesus, I can’t afford that.”
“I don’t think they’ll do that if they know you worked with us, that you tried to help. There might not even be a need for a hearing,” Porter assured him.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Had my heart pumping through the entire book. The killer had my skin crawling. I enjoyed the characters and felt a connection. The main detective will definitely enjoy a loyal following in future books, and it will be hard to wait for the next installment in 2018! Hurry JD!
Very well written and thrilling content
I read it in one day, couldn't put it down!!
Intense, dark and utterly gripping....Small advice: Start reading it on Friday because you will not be able to put it down....hence sleepless weekend, but better than going back to work after reading the whole night ?
I normally don’t care for gory books, but this one I couldn’t put down! It really had me on the edge of my seat! A great read!
Dark yet light-hearted
How good are you at your job? Could you handle the pressure and the responsibility of finding someone in two days time before they meet their untimely death? Sam Porter is a homicide detective of twenty plus years and still receives phone calls that make his stomach drop. His homicide partner, Nash, calls Porter warning him that an "old friend" has left a calling card. What Porter is unable to piece together is why a homicide detective is being called to a suicide case, of man versus machine. With the victim's face destroyed, the only identifying marker is a little white box with a neatly tied black bow. That little box brings memories spanning five years, 21 similar boxes, and 7 victims. No leads, no clues, until today. This time was different; everything meticulously placed. An immediate hidden identity makes the investigators hone in on the other clues deliberately left behind- most revealing, a diary detailing an event in the killer's childhood that made him turn into a killer. The only disconcerting clue was the contents of the white box; a human ear- which marks the first of three identical packages followed by the inevitable body drop. The three white boxes and body crudely mimics the ancient teachings of Confucius depicting man's life cycle. One including monkeys; hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, with the lesser known do no evil. The killer adopted this mantra for life, taking his victims ear, eyes, tongue, and finally the final kill to parallel the original text. With the killer presumed dead, a fresh ear in the box, and two days to find the victim, the pressure is on to find what could be the last victim of The Fourth Monkey Killer. From page one, Barker’s slight of literary hand is absolute genius. He builds tension and then rips the rug right out from under you, just to do it all over again. He will have you guessing at this well written who-done-it, all the way to the end, and you will be so unsatisfied that the book is over that you’ll read it all over again.
Seriously dark and twisted! This first book in the 4MK series is amazing. J.D. Barker does a fantastic job sucking you into the mind of a serial killer. I loved the Diary! A very personal touch that I thought took this book to the next level. I’ll gush about the diary in a moment… The basic framework of your typical serial killer trope is present. We have Porter, the dedicated detective with a troubled past. Nash, his sidekick, and Porter’s faithful loyal team of secondary characters who back Porter in his investigation. Our twisted serial killer, who is dubbed 4MK, with an MO revolving around the premise of the three wise monkeys (here no evil, see no evil, speak no evil), with the addition of the fourth monkey (do no evil). Porter is on the hunt for 4MK’s latest victim. Unfortunately, it’s rather hard to catch a killer who died right after he took his victim. But even in death 4MK is leading Porter down a rabbit hole; leaving behind an intimate portrait of himself in the form of his Diary. Initially I thought this may end up being a bit bland. A typical storyline that while enjoyable, wouldn’t blow me away. However, what drew me in is how we are introduced to the serial killer through his Diary; which was left behind for Porter to find. After years of trying to catch 4MK, the diary is Porter’s closest connection to his nemesis. What starts as a way to gain the insight he needs to find the serial killer’s latest victim becomes an obsession. The diary is bizarre in the extreme. The beginning gives the impression of a beaver cleaver type family through the eyes of a young 4MK. At least a killer’s version of a beaver cleaver type family! LOL But it quickly becomes clear that things are much more sinister. We’re held front and center watching an already disturbed mind unravel, creating the gruesome killer that I hate to love. I was both rooting for Porter and connecting emotionally to a crazy killer. It’s a testimate to J.D. Barker’s writing skill that he made me actually kind of love this killer. (even though he’s bound to give someone nighmares! ) The Fourth Monkey is fast paced and full of twists and turns that make this the most enjoyable thriller I’ve read in a long time. I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This review was voluntary and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
My Experience: I started reading The Fourth Monkey on 8/27/17 and finished it on 9/3/17. This book is a fantastic thriller! Unbelievable! What a ride! I love a good puzzle with little bread crumbs and this book has it. I try to read this book slowly and carefully to savour the intensity of the thrill in each page because it’s so good! The writing in the Diary is enchanting and it bewitched me to forgive them when they do bad things. The police force is a delightful bunch. I love their constant banter and humor. I am truly hypnotize when I read this book. This book is told in the third person point of view following Detective Sam Porter, a lead investigator and the only officer to chase down the serial killer for the past half a decade. He and his partner Nash and the task force team are truly a blast to follow. There is no dull moments following Porter and Nash to work. Readers will also follow the last victim, as she struggles with surviving and knowing full well who her killer is. Another task force member is Claire, a youngest detective on the 4MK task force. I like her straight forward attitude and how she deals with men. Readers will also get to read the killer’s diary in the first person point of view starting from his childhood. This book is organized where the police are called out to investigate a death believed to be of the fourth monkey killer. The man walked into an oncoming traffic and was hit by a bus. He has with him the signature box the 4MK uses on his victims. Police believes he was trying to deliver a box to a prominent business man in Chicago. The content in the box inform the police the victim may still be alive. There are multiple stories running parallel in this book with each person actively taking one step closer to solving the case. The chase and plot twists will leave you at the edge of your seats! This book is very well written and organized. It’s definitely a fast paced mystery/thriller full of actions. I had a hard time putting this book down. I love reading the diary. It’s so beautifully written and captivating. I love the humor of the task force. Everyone is likeable. Every chapter ends with suspense and my patience squeeze a little having to wait every other chapter to find out. I love the multiple point of views. I love how the story is based on the 3 wise monkeys: See No Evil, Speak No Evil, and Hear No Evil, originated from Japan. This thriller is definitely my best read this year and I highly recommend everyone to read it! Pro: mystery, thriller, constant banter, fast paced, page turner, adrenaline rush, couldn’t put down, captivating, thrilling read, suspenseful, multiple views, plot twists, Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at howusefulitis dot wordpress dot com for a detailed review
Excellent book. And by that I mean it's hard to put down and I think about it when I'm not reading it. In my world that connotes an excellent book. Lots of twists and turns. Definitely worth reading!
I received this book from Booklover Cat Lady & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 4 solid stars What can I say other than “believe the hype”. This is a strong, and I mean strong, psychological thriller. Normally, I would tend to shy away from detective driven plot lines and characters. It doesn’t appeal to me and I always feel that authors make our protagonist the same character over and over. A rebel cop who can’t seem to follow the rules, always in trouble with their superior, heavy drinker, troubled / haunted past, marital problems, blah, blah, blah. Just like me, you’ve read it all before. BUT, and this is a big but, 4MK is nothing like your typical detective centric thriller. Yes, Sam Porter, a detective with Chicago homicide is our main character, but he is not a cliché. In fact, while the author does allude to and expand upon a bit of Sam’s personal life, this is 4MK’s story. The story is told from multiple POV and flips back and forth between past and present. The past being told my 4MK in a diary entry fashion. Typically when I read books with parallel story lines / past present there is one more dominant story line that I am more interested in. Not in this case. Both stories are full of suspense, twists and turns and storytelling that keeps you wanting to read “one more chapter”. I highly recommend this book and fully expect this to be a highly talked about book of 2017. It’s sick, twisted, dark, thrilling and excellent. Do not read any spoilers and don’t bother with the plot synopsis. Just pick up this book and buckle your seatbelt. Seven meets Hannibal Lector is the most accurate description I have seen for this read. And, I promise I am not giving anything away, dare I say that this just might lead to a series?
Interns killed this book Moving . Made me read it in a day and a half. Now it's time for a big nap. ???
4+ Stars. Excellent Finale.....hehehe Ok, try to puzzle this one out. The whole story encompasses only three days, but SO much happens when an disturbed serial killer returns after ten years silent to unleash his evil on the innocent....to punish the corrupt. Detective Samuel Porter of Chicago Metro is on leave due to a horrific tragedy in his family, but is called nonetheless to again lead the chase when THE FOURTH MONKEY killer makes his presence known by way of his trademark little boxes filled with facial body parts....AND time is of the essence as the countdown for survival begins for another young girl's life. Despite a somewhat familiar storyline, what made THE FOURTH MONKEY stand out and engrossing for me was the reading of the DIARY entries depicting the OMG! HIGHLY dysfunctional family life of the 4 MK as a child....and we can't forget the creepy-good END! Reference to the three wise monkeys: See No Evil...Hear No Evil...Speak No Evil......AND...an added..."Do No Evil" is our killer's motto, and he certainly abides by it. Yep! There's gore. Yep! There's brutality. Yep! There's even a bit of sex.....and a few rodents running about. Bring on 4 MK THRILLER #2!
In these last couple of months, I have found myself reading a lot of murder/mystery/thriller books. Which is a glad change from the erotica/romance that I have read. A glad change. I like a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing what is going to happen next or what plot twist the author is going to throw in that will make me go “Well, I never saw that coming“. The Fourth Monkey is that book. It is a delicious blend of horror and mystery that will keep you up reading late in the night. The plot lines of the book were fantastic. You have two major ones: the diary (or as I called it: the making of the Four Monkey Killer) and the race to find out where is last victim, a 15-year-old girl, is being held. I was fascinated by diary and how the 4 MK was shaped into the twisted person he was. Normally, if an author switches from 1st person to 3rd person every other chapter or so, it bothers me. But in this case, it didn’t because when that chapter of the diary ended, the book picked up right where the Four Monkey Killer was leading them. Which I haven’t seen done well until this book. I felt awful for Porter and didn’t realize that he had a personal tragedy until almost halfway through the book. I did think certain scenes were odd when he was mentioning his wife but I figured, “Hey, he’s a homicide detective working lead on a case and is working odd hours“. It wasn’t until after he got the phone call and everything was explained that I went “No way” and I felt horrible for him. I will say that I did like the lore behind the 4 monkeys and found it fascinating that there was a 4th monkey. The three monkeys that we know are: Hear no evil (monkey covering ears), See no evil (monkey covering eyes) and Speak no evil (monkey covering mouth). The fourth monkey is Do no evil (monkey covering stomach or genitals) and is very rarely mentioned in Japanese or Buddha lore (click here). The way that the author wove that lore into this story and how the fourth monkey was woven in was pretty awesome. The end of the book was insane. Not only was the identity of the Four Monkey Killer found out, it was the last person that I thought it was going to be. I literally put my book down and shook my head when his identity was revealed. The final twist at the end of the book made me shake my head in disbelief and make me wonder if there will be a book 2.
After being in a bit of a reading slump lately, I began this book and it really helped me out. It was a very fast paced novel and from page one I was hooked. It really helped me jump back into reading. The Fourth Monkey killer has been on the loose for years, always managing to miss the cops. Now, when a man is killed, the man is suspected to be this infamous man, since when he was found he had in his position an object that follows the pattern of the previous killings. Detective Sam Porter, one of the men who has been on the Fourth Monkey case from the beginning, is now on the hunt to find a new victim with a limited amount of time to do it while fighting his own inner battles. This book is filled with twists and turns and things the reader will never see coming. I really enjoyed this book. It was filled with mystery, crime, and action. It was very detailed and written well. It was fast paced and had an interesting set of characters. The story switched from present time to a diary that followed the Fourth Monkey Killer as a youth, this was a great add to the storyline and helped see into the mind of this killer. It was a crime book, but with the story of the death of Sams wife, it brought a bit of sadness as well. It was really a great story. The ending was mind blowing and added a great and shocking twist. I was kept on the edge of my seat from page one. Overall this was a great book. It was just the book I needed to jump back on the book train :)
Gruesome An interesting thriller about a serial killer, well, the hunt for a serial killer who leaves behind not only body parts, but monkey sculptures (depicting see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and do no evil). The premise of the plot was good and thought out, but there were some minor flaws, but nothing that really deterred from the story. The story was a page turner, and I enjoyed the entertainment of the book. The fear was at the perfect level in the story.
Chicago detective Sam Porter has spent over five years trying to capture The Four Monkey serial killer. He believes he's finally got his man when a pedestrian is hit and killed by a bus. He had in his possession a small white box tied up with black string which he'd been attempting to mail; the contents of which prove he's taken a final victim who may still be alive. Sam and his team now face the ominous task of finding the victim before time runs out. All they have to go on are clues the killer carefully 'concealed' in full view. This book is sheer brilliance from start to finish. It literally oozes quality from every page. It's a terrifying journey into the creation of a monster. There are so many twists and turns it leaves the reader breathless. The plot is exceptional in its construction and execution. Small details are carefully interwoven to create a masterpiece in its genre. I have no doubt The Fourth Monkey will be an international bestseller upon its release in June 2017. A must-have read. (Please be forewarned The Fourth Monkey contains explicit descriptions of murder, torture and mutilation).
The evil little protagonist of this book, nicknamed 4MK (Fourth Monkey) was a little boy who grew up to become a coldblooded torturer and murderer. As you read his diary, you begin to feel some compassion for the young child. This quickly ends when the story jumps forward to present day as a group of detectives work tirelessly to unmask who he is in the hopes of saving his latest, and most innocent victim, 15-year old Emory. The detectives’ viewpoints, led by Porter, who is reeling from the loss of his wife due to a gallon of milk he was too lazy to get, are told in third person. The pace is quick; the detectives work together well with wit, knowledge and strong devotion to one another. As they move closer and closer to figuring out exactly who is who, they learn one of their own team isn’t who he portrayed himself as. Even worse, he may easily be the person they’ve been searching for all along. The pace of events is quick. Just as you may grow bored with the search efforts, the book switches over to 4MK’s diary. This alone will keep your attention. It’s like a book within a book, and they’re both full of twists and blindsiding moves. I don’t normally read detective-based books, but this one grabbed me and refused to turn loose. It’s a fun, quick, sometimes gruesome, sometimes humorous, sometimes compassionate mix of emotions. The ending is pure serendipity. You’ll find yourself once again, after all the senseless torture, smiling for the young child 4MK was. The perfect read! (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for making it available.)