Cover Image: The Fifth to Die

The Fifth to Die

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Detective Porter and his team have been pulled from looking for Anson Bishop, The Four Monkey Killer by the feds. Then a girl missing three weeks is found under  frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, and she is identified as Ella Reyonds. But she is wearing the clothes of another missing girl. This has the Chicago Police stumped as the other girl has only been missing two days and the lagoon froze months earlier. Porter isn't giving on his hunt for the 4MK, and gets suspended by his captain. That leaves Clair and Nash to look for the new killer. Porter continues his hunt and ends up in New Orleans. Things get wild and wicked there! You have to read the book to get the ending....fair warning, it's something you won't expect!!!!!
I reviewed a copy of this book from  Booklover Catlady Publicity.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Suspense galore to keep you guessing. A great read. The only problems that I had were that in some places it tends to be a bit long-winded and the cliffhanger. I absolutely hate cliffhangers and that's what dropped it from a five star review to a four. Not sure if I'll read the next book in this series because it also may end with a cliffhanger.
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What the actual f**k. 

I devoured the first book, The Firth Monkey, and loved every second of it. So I was excited to see another book. 

When I first started this book, I struggled to get into it. I put it down for a couple weeks and then picked it back up. This time, I couldn’t put it down. And it pissed me off. 

The storyline can get a little confusing sometimes because there’s so many different POV’s. But it’s worth it. And then that last 5%, well, I wasn’t expecting that. I thought I had s**t figured out. And I was wrong. So wrong. 

How long do I have to wait for the next one? 😭

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This exciting sequel to Thr Fourth Monkey is a very smart mystery/thriller in the vein of Thomas Harris. My customers who enjoy a well-written, intelligent mystery will eat this up. I can’t wait to see how Barker ends this!
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In a thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey Killer, Sam Porter and the homicide squad at Chicago Metro are investigating more deaths of teen girls. Sam is convinced this is not 4MK's work since the modus operandi is so different. 

And there is something about one of the previous deaths attributed to Anson Bishop that keeps bothering Sam so he sneaks into the FBI war room and removes the relevant file. Of course he is caught on video so his captain has no choice but to relieve him of duty pending charges. Sam takes this opportunity to go off grid and do some investigating on his own. 

The current cases are very cluttered with confusing details and information or "noise" as SAC Poole describes it. Without Sam's guidance, the homicide team can't seem to get a handle on what's important and where the trail leads. "There was no rhyme or reason to it, no real pattern. Serial killers always kept to a pattern, a signature."

Is Anson Bishop the puppet master pulling all the strings? I guarantee you will be shocked by the exciting conclusion that leaves the door wide open for more. Write quickly, J. D.! I can't wait to read what happens next! 

I received an arc of this new thriller from the publisher and author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks!
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"I can set you free, but I'm afraid I can never let you go." 

What in the what??? Holy crap... can we just talk about how AMAZING J. D. Barker and this series is? I can honestly say that there has never been a series that has gotten me so excited to the point where I want to tell any and EVERYONE about what I've just read. I work at a credit union and I'm telling members... complete strangers after reading on my lunch break to go and pick up this series!

So once again, this is one of those reviews where you can't focus too much on the storyline. So instead let's talk about the character development. There's some major developments here with some characters from the previous novel, The Fourth Monkey, specifically with Detective Porter and Bishop's mother. Detective Porter is continuing to "puzzle it out" though no longer on the case. The 4MK case was officially turned over to the FBI... which is a good time for me to segue over to Special Agent Poole, while this character in many ways reminds me of Detective Porter, there are some characteristics that set him apart. A clever man... though not quite as intuitive as our beloved Detective Porter.

We're also introduced to some new characters, ones that are just as mysterious as the infamous Anson Bishop, and others, well, we think we've got them all figured out, but in the end, they may turn out to be someone else entirely. 

Bishop himself while a key player isn't what I would call a stand out in this novel. In this novel, we begin to learn about what happens to Anson Bishop after his mother runs off and leaves him behind; what shaped this little boy to become the man he is today. The sad thing here is that it's just a tease... I think it's fair to say that I'm not the only one that by the end of this novel that was screaming for more. "IT CAN'T BE OVER!!!" 

The 3rd in the series will without a doubt be the story of Bishop and Porter, what we thought we knew about these characters, well, I believe we're about to get our minds blown (what's left of it anyway). 

Chapter 62... LOVED the set up. This series is one that is definitely written for the big screen, and I've got to say, that's so clever on Barker's part. That's what an author ultimately envisions, no? To see their work come to life on the big screen? His visions are so clear that they jump right off the page at you. I just love when I can place myself at the scene when reading a novel. I'm right there, completely engrossed and that's what brings it all full circle. The character development, the narration, the dialogue, the descriptive writing. It's the ultimate package here and that's what a reader wants, that's what makes J.D. Barker a stand-out of an author. 

I want to thank NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and J.D. Barker for allowing me the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for my review. I will no doubt cry a little inside each day as I await the next in the series.
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Evil has a name: Anson Bishop. He is smart, ruthless, a manipulator and liar. How is it possible to tell the truth from all the lies. He has all the knowledge and everyone else scatters around and tries to keep up. He kills without hesitation and remorse. Can it really be so easy for som people to murder a child? And in this book, the parents haven't even done anything criminal. They just did their jobs.
And then there is poor Sam Porter. He has no idea (still) what's going on. Maybe, he did, in the end, have some clue. But being suspended from his police work, thought of as partner of 4MK by the FBI, the whole book he tries to end the nightmare created by Bishop. Being betrayed by somebody he thought of as becoming a friend, having a connection with. Porter wants nothing more than to bring Bishop in and find some peace, In the end though, he has to let him go - again.
I absolutely loved this book. An intense ride from the start 'til the last sentence. Everything tied up in the end and that is something I like in a story. There is a wide range in personalities too: Some I liked, some I was fooled by too, some I really couldn't stand. Can't wait 'til the next book coming out and solving the riddle that is Anson Bishop.
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!
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I talked to this book. I yelled at this book. I urged the characters, "Don't go in there!", "Don't do that!", and to "Run you fool!" It's amazing that no one committed me.
In this chilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, serial killer Anson Bishop is still wreaking havoc in the Windy City.  Maybe. Girls are disappearing, families are being threatened, and none of the clues are adding up. On top of that, more than one person on the team is concerned that Detective Sam Porter may be too personally involved with the 4MK case that has now been turned over to the FBI.
This thriller is perfectly-paced, entirely unpredictable, and maddeningly mysterious. We also get some well-earned backstory on Detective Sam Porter, which only enriches his character even more. And then there is Anson Bishop. While he certainly adds color to this procedural, he is definitely the villain you love to hate. But is there a little molecule of sympathy you feel for him after some of Bishop's backstory is revealed too? I'll let you decide.
My only gripe is that Bishop is just a little too smart and a little too prepared. He is good at everything: tech, surgery, espionage, blackmailing, and torturous murder. He's always a full three or four steps ahead of everyone else. And he's dong all this right under the nose of countless witnesses including neighbors, hospital employees, prison guards, and the police themselves. Really? I don't like it when anyone - hero or villain - is invincible.
So if you find yourself talking to, yelling at, or crying with your books, you'll feel right at home reading this one. If you're already a fan of The Fourth Monkey, action-heavy police procedurals, or mysteries that aren't easily solved, you'll like this book. And if you're a fan of twisty cliffhangers, grab a parachute and dive in because you WILL like this book.

Bravo, J.D. Barker, you've done it again. Looking forward to Book #3!
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The body count is rising in this sequel to the The Fourth Monkey and Detective Porter, Nash, Clair and Kolz has their work cut out for them. Fifth to die is dramatic with two different story lines twisting around each other and delivers an ending that will make you feel like you fell off a cliff. Barker continues to deliver a top notch detective story that is anything but ordinary.
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After having read and loved The Fourth Monkey, I was very excited to read this second installment. There is so much going on in this book and it is all brilliantly brought together with mind bending twists. The ending has definitely left me impatient for the next book in this series. Highly recommend!
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J.D. Barker is at it again with his sequel to The Fourth Monkey (read our review here), The Fifth to Die. When we left off, the 4th Monkey Killer (4MK) had escaped Sam Porter and the Chicago PD. Now, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Chicago. Young girls are being found in the frozen lake of Jackson Park Lagoon. Is the 4MK up to his old tricks, or is a new killer trying to take his place?

Sam Porter is still on the hunt to capture 4MK Anson Bishop. A good portion of the novel is told from Porter’s point of view. Bishop has given Porter the task of finding his mother. Being too close to the case, Porter and his team are pulled off the ongoing investigation to capture Bishop. Porter continues to follow through the task Bishop has given him. The second plot of the novel is about the girls being found frozen in the waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, although they didn’t die there. This plot is told from the point of view of Detective Claire Norton and one of the girls who is abducted by the Frozen Lake Killer.

The Fifth to Die is the second book in the 4MK thriller series. If you haven’t read the first book, then what are you doing with your life. Book 2 is Act 2, where everything goes to hell in a handbasket. Bishop is a big cat playing with his food by leading Porter down the rabbit hole of searching for Bishop’s mother. This time, Porter reminds me of Detective Harry Hole from Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman. Barker is good at plotting twists and turns, keeping the reader engaged throughout the book.

The Fifth to Die was released earlier this month is available at major bookstores and through Amazon. I expect to see book 3 coming out sometime next summer. I thoroughly enjoyed The Fifth to Die and can’t wait for the next book in the 4MK thriller series.
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Every so often a write comes along and just grabs you from the get go. That author becomes an immediate buy. That is how I feel about this J.D. Barker. This is the 3rd of his books that I have read and I have loved each and every one of them. The fifth to die is part 2 in what I hope with be a longer running series. The plot is amazing and the roller coaster ride he takes you on cannot be compared. 

Run out and buy ALL of his books today.
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EXCERPT: Darkness. 

It swirled around him deep and thick, eating the light and leaving nothing behind but an inky void. A fog choked his thoughts - the words tried to come together, tried to form a cohesive sentence, to find meaning, but the moment they seemed close, they were swallowed up and gone, replaced by a growing sense of dread, a feeling of heaviness - his body sinking into the murky depths of a long-forgotten body of water. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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. 

MY THOUGHTS: OMG! Intense! Mind-blowing! Bizarre! Addictive! Twisted and twisty. . . Never saw that coming. Full marks Mr Barker, you utterly sucker-punched me with that one. 

I remember going to the movies as a child, a vastly different experience to what it is today, and before the main feature there would be a newsreel, a cartoon or two, and a serial. The sort where, at the end, the girl is tied to the railway tracks with a train approaching, the hero riding hell-for-leather to get to her before the train did. Cliffhanger to ensure you returned the next week which, of course, we did. 

Reading The Fifth To Die is like that. Don't expect any resolution baby, because you ain't gonna get it. You are going to be left teetering on the edge of a cliff, the ground crumbling beneath your feet as the villain races towards you from one direction intending to push you off, and the good guys race towards you from the opposite direction intent on sweeping you to safety. All you can do is stand there helplessly wondering who is going to get to you first. . . and let me assure you that, unlike the old serials, the outcome is not guaranteed! 

But this is one hell of a ride. One that will leave you breathless, exhilarated, and screaming AAAAARRGH! when your heart is pounding, your blood racing, and the final sentence reads 'To be concluded. . .'

Mr Barker? I hope you are writing fast. Because I want that next damned book. Now!

Warning - You really need to read The Fourth Monkey first. 

Recommendation: read the author's acknowledgements which includes, among other things of interest, this little gem 'Finally, to Anson Bishop - are you ready to finish this little dance?' I am glad I can't see inside your head, Mr Barker, I imagine it to be a very scary place indeed. 

Thank you to publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. 

Please refer to my profile page or the 'about' page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog
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Last year I reviewed the prequel to this The Fifth to Die and was blown away by it's complexity and energy.  So, when The Fifth to Die reared its head, I was desperate to read it and boy was I rewarded for my eagerness.  I love serial killer novels - the darker the monster the more my enjoyment increases.  But, what gives me added pleasure is when we really get into the head of the killer with tantalising little insights and hints.  As a crime author myself, I know how difficult it is to immerse yourself in the mind of your bad characters and let them take you where they want to go.  So, hats off to J.D. Barker for pushing the boundaries and creating a truly insightful series of novels (The third one in the series will be released next year I believe) I would recommend reading The Fourth Monkey first for maximum enjoyment.
A missing girl is discovered frozen under the ice of the Jackson Park lagoon and Detective Sam Porter and his team catch the case.  turns out all is not as it seems, for the girl was placed under the frozen lake after it froze and she's wearing the clothes belonging to a girl who has only recently been reported missing.  
Sam Porter, unlike a lot of fictional detectives is in his fifties,he's grieving the death of his wife and he's under intense scrutiny for some of his actions during The Fourth Monkey Investigation (read it to find out why).  
The investigation is intense and Sam's already tense relations with the FBI result in him going off the grid. (I'm missing out huge aspects of the plot here so you can fully enjoy The Fourth Monkey)

The Fifth to Die is all about the unreliable narrator at it's best. By using a childhood diary as a plot device, Barker weaves a complex, immensely satisfying narrative that makes us question and second guess ourselves at every turn.  With themes of loyalty, anger, retribution combined with red herrings and misdirection this is a flawless piece of fiction that kept me up at night to finish it.  Each of Barker's characters has their own unique identity that makes their interactions authentic, at times humerous and often shocking. 
The Fifth to Die, is my favourite serial killer novel of 2018, so far.
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My Review of “The Fifth to Die” by J.D. Barker   Houghton Mifflin Harcourt July 10, 2018

OMG!! WOW!! YIKES!!! WARNING:  Not to be read before going to sleep!!!!! Keep the lights on!! Check under the bed!! Don’t go down to the basement !! These are some of my thoughts after finishing “The Fifth to Die” by J.D. Barker.  J.D. Barker’s  style of writing reminds me of Stephen King.  The Genres for this Novel are Thriller, Horror, Mystery, Suspense, and Fiction.

“The Fifth to Die” is a horrific, chilling, intense, frightening, edgy, thriller that had me fidgeting and gasping out loud.  This is the sequel to “The Four Monkey Killer’ by J.D. Barker, which I should have read before this. Although  I read this as a stand- alone, I had to play catch up, and I am sure that I missed many things. Of course I will be reading the first book.  I also want to mention, I wanted to throw my Kindle at someone for the abrupt ending, and realize that I have to wait for the next novel. J.D. Barker, I hope that you are writing quickly!!!

The author describes the characters as complex and complicated. I am sure a Psychiatrist would be in heaven analyzing a few of the characters. Detective Sam Porter is obsessed with finding  Anson Bishop, a serial killer with a  shocking , dysfunctional childhood. The feds pull Detective Porter off the case. Several young girls have been kidnapped and a few found tortured and dead.  More danger and more deaths are occurring.

Detective Sam Porter is preoccupied with finding Bishop, and feels the key to doing so is finding Bishop’s Mother.  Porter has withheld from evidence Bishop’s diary which is now in his possession.  Porter travels all over in his quest.  There are twists and turns, and danger and well-planned out murders.

I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy chilling thrillers. I received this ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.



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This is a cleverly written complex story following the first in this series ... THE FOURTH MONKEY.  

Detective Sam Porter and his team are called to investigate when the body of  a young girl is found beneath frozen water.  She's identified as a woman who went missing 3 weeks ago ,, but she's wearing the clothes of another girl, missing just days.  The water froze months how did this happen?

At the same time, Porter is secretly still hunting the Four Monkey Killer, contrary to the orders of the FBI.  When Porter's boss finds out what he's been doing, he is promptly suspended and his partners Clair and Nash are left to hunt for the new killer.

This one is action-packed, fast-paced with lots of activity going in all directions.  I highly recommend reading THE FOURTH MONKEY before tackling this one ....  the two stories are intertwined.   

The characters are credible, the crimes are credible and it's a fascinating look at crime fiction.  It's a riveting, engaging story and I found it hard to put down  for any amount of time.

Many thanks to the author / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / #TheFifthToDie #NetGalley / Edelweiss for the advanced digital copy of this crime thriller.  Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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This is the second book in the series and by no means any less thrilling than the first. The main thing I was to get across is don't try reading this if you have not read the first book, it cannot be read as a stand alone. 
The story line follows on from the first book and is clever in the way it mixes both books. 
This is one book that had my head totally spinning and i truly has no idea what was coming, for this read i want to leave my review short and sweet as I want others to read it and feel the same. You will be blown away with this dark twisted thriller.
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"You can't play God without being acquainted with the devil"

Anson Bishop is surely trying to be both. Detective Sam Porter knows Bishop well as he continues to follow the grisly clues that Bishop leaves in his wake...dead people. Beware -- this second book in the 4MK (Four Monkey Killer) series ends on a cliffhanger that will have you screaming for more!

Excellent writing, compelling action, complex plot, and intriguing characters make this a suspense thriller and police procedural that you won't want to miss. The story line is extremely complicated, so pay attention, and definitely, you MUST have read the first book before attempting this one.

Dead girls, dead parents -- what scheme has Bishop got going this time? He's changed his MO and signature a bit and Porter can't stand down from pursuing him even after he's put on suspension and the FBI has taken over the hunt for Bishop. Porter risks everything as he tries to find Bishop and stop his madness even as the victim count mounts. Bishop is an extremely brilliant psychopath whose strategy can't be anticipated. Can Porter trust anyone or does Bishop's network extend beyond the reach of any kind of justice. NO SPOILERS.  Highly recommended if you like thriller chiller killer novels! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the e-book ARC to read and review. PLEASE, J.D. Barker, hurry with #3!
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This is the second book in the 4MK Thriller series, and it’s extremely important that the first book be read before starting this one. The first novel in this series, The Fourth Monkey, is one of the darkest, creepiest, and sharpest serial killer novels I’ve ever read. It gave me nightmares, which rarely ever happens to me. The serial killer was actually scary and all of the police officers were competent and a great match for him. The whole book surpassed my expectations and I knew I’d be reading everything J.D. Barker ever wrote.

I was thrilled to receive the sequel in the mail and I dove into it almost immediately. This book is just as sharply written and exciting as the first one. It’s still really fast-paced and even more complex than The Fourth Monkey. There are far more story lines and they’re all really tightly intertwined. The difference between this book and the first is that while it’s not as disturbing or as twisted as the first, the scope of it is enormous. I’m in awe of the way J.D. Barker is able to create this world and drop all these hints about the greater story. I never guess any of the twists that are coming, but not because they’re implausible but because they’re so unexpected. I’ve been shocked multiple times throughout both books and I think that’s the mark of a fantastic mystery/thriller.

Even though this book has a riveting plot, the characterization doesn’t suffer at all. We find out so much more about all of the characters from the first book, and are introduced to a new investigator who is also smart, talented, and completely competent. There are a lot of questions about the characters, and I’m really intrigued to find out what happens in the final book.

I’m really impressed by the scope of this novel. Even though there were a lot of open threads left at the end of the book and a giant cliffhanger, I’m just in awe of how well this book came together. I can’t wait for the third book to come out.
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Intricate, creepy, and dark!

The Fifth to Die is a brilliantly crafted, gritty, riveting thriller that takes you on a hunt for a kidnapper with a fondness for saltwater and continues the pursuit for a sadistic serial killer with a penchant for retribution and body parts.

The writing is precise, eerie, and seamless. The characterization is spot on with characters that are driven, reckless and flawed, including the tenacious and tough Detective Porter whose greatest struggles involve his grief, secrets, and obsessions. And the plot is a violent, twisty, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and leaves you absolutely speechless and wanting more.

Overall, The Fifth to Die is an intelligent, gripping, exceptionally fast-paced police procedural that highlights Barker's extraordinary imagination and talent as a spine-chilling storyteller. It's the second novel in the 4MK Thriller series, and I have to recommend that if you haven't already read The Fourth Monkey (4MK Thriller #1), you really have to.
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