The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Parker is the story of Detective Sam Porter’s hunt to save a life. For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer (or 4MK) has kidnapped his victims and every few days over the following week sent pieces of them back to their families until ultimately leaving the victim’s lifeless body where it can be easily discovered. One morning Detective Porter receives a phone call and discovers the 4MK has been killed in a traffic accident. However, before 4MK’s death, he kidnapped one last victim who is now trapped somewhere presumably without food or water or hope of escape. Who is the victim? Who was the killer that now lies dead a disfigured in the morgue? Can they find the kidnapped person before time runs out?
I’m going to come right out and say it. I really liked this book. I’ve seen this book being compared to the movies Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs and I can’t think of any better comparisons. From the first page of the book to the last, the action and suspense keep up. The desire to know what’s going to happen next is skillfully intertwined with the desire to know the backstory the serial killer leaves behind in a diary for Detective Porter to read.
I am torn about what I consider the shortcoming of this book. On the one hand, the writing of the diary is very hokey and the terminology used doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the time period in which it takes place. And the more I read the diary entries the more off-putting and ridiculous I found the dialogue. But then I realized that this is supposedly the diary of a person who has been kidnapping and murdering people for years. Someone who is obviously completely insane. Who’s to say that the diary is fact? Who’s to say that at the very least the sappy dialogue isn’t the 4MK’s craziness shining through and him creating his own history as opposed to writing down everything that happened to him word for word as it actually happened. The more I thought about who was writing the diary the less I was annoyed by it and found myself enjoying it more and I think for a book club discussing opinions on if the diary is straight fact or partly fiction would be a fun topic.
I don’t want to give anything away but the book had at least one part that had me exclaim “WHAT?” out loud. And each reading session seemed to fly by. The characters were believable, likable, and I found myself feeling invested in their fates. I will say there were a couple of key plot points that I did figure out on my own however I can’t point to any one thing that gave away obvious information or clued me in on them so they really could have just been lucky guesses. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery, suspense, or thrillers. This book was the first in a trilogy and I fully intend to read the remaining two books.
Follow the link below to buy this book from Amazon. This one is totally worth it.The Fourth Monkey (A 4MK Thriller)