Cover Image: The Fifth to Die

The Fifth to Die

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

OMG this left me in a tailspin! Book 3 needs to happen sooner rather than later. 

Where do I begin? There was A LOT going on here but it's important to note that you can NOT dive in if you haven't read Book 1 - The Fourth Monkey. These books are highly intertwined and the storyline flows through each of them. You definitely need the backstory from the first book, in order to fully appreciate this one. 

In Fifth to Die Detective Porter is still obsessed with pursuing serial killer Anson Bishop, even when it means putting his career and possibly his life on the line. Porter's team is faced with a new case - missing girls. The first girl is found frozen in a lake, wearing another missing girls clothes. Can these missing girls be connected to 4MK? 

Porter decides to continue chasing Bishop unbeknownst to the rest of his team. Porter essentially goes rogue and things get complicated - very complicated. Bishop has an intricate network of associates adding to the twists & turns. Everyone continues to be several steps behind him as they work to put the puzzle pieces together. I honestly enjoy how his mind works - he is a brilliant sociopath! 

Overall, this was a solid continuation to the 4MK storyline. It definitely leaves you wanting the conclusion but also fills in some essential gaps.
Was this review helpful?
The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker is the second installment of the 4MK Thriller series. A police procedural series in which the detectives have been tracking a serial killer known as the Four Monkey Killer. Picking up where the story had left off it would be best enjoyed reading in order to get to know the characters and what had happened up to this point.

The story now has resumed with Detective Porter and the rest of the team having been pulled from chasing the Four Monkey Killer but Porter just can’t let the case go. As a new body is found frozen beneath a lake it becomes apparent that this is a new killer on the loose but Porter goes against orders and continues his search meanwhile the other detectives begin to track down the new killer.

With the detectives separated in this installment the story is told from multiple points of view all throughout. There are also still peeks into the diary of 4MK that Porter has hung onto. As both are going on it’s a bit like following two different stories but as with most books you know things will eventually come together once again and learning just how definitely keeps the pages turning.

I would warn once again that this series is dark and disturbing and can be quite graphic but when chasing someone as twisted as a serial killer the content wouldn’t be sunshine and roses. Being someone that can be hit or miss with a police procedural I loved the first book of the series and was looking forward to this second and rejoining the detectives once again. The casework seems realistic, the detectives likable and the story has plenty of twists and turns. This one did seem a bit long to me and perhaps could have moved a tad bit faster but overall it was right back to what I had come to expect from the series and now the wait begins yet again.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I greatly enjoyed The Fourth Monkey. A serial killer leading the cops on a race against time chase to save a girl. A single-minded cop with the tragic past trying to bring him down. The cop’s funny sidekick. Elaborately staged crime scenes and action sequences. The Fourth Monkey is a satisfying blend of Silence of the Lambs, Lethal Weapon, Se7en and a host of other books and movies.

So, needless to say, I was looking forward to reading this sequel. Or should I say, this second book in a trilogy. Because, unfortunately, it really feels like a bridge between two other stories. This book opens with a new serial killer, but that part of the story seems to fade as the book progresses. We are still on the trail of the killer from the first book, but we see much less of him this time. There are a couple of plot devices from the first story—the diary, and misdirection—that are recycled from the first book, but too less effect in this one. And there’s less humor and action than in the first book.

It’s not a bad book by any means. I certainly wanted to see how it would end, and I’m definitely coming back to read the last book in the trilogy. But this book was not as compelling as I expected, coming off the high bar set by the first book. Recommended for fans of the genre (and who have read the first book—you won’t understand what’s happening if you haven’t).
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me this ARC. I love Barker's mysteries. This book is a sequel in the 4 MK thriller. Equally thrilling and fast paced compared to its prequels.
Was this review helpful?
I do love a serial killer thriller and the more twisted the more likely I am to enjoy the book. J. D.Barker certainly knows how to grab the reader’s attention with some scenes that can only be described as macrabe, The Fifth To Die is dark and very, very twisted. A word of advice though I would definitely recommend you read The Fourth Monkey first as the two go hand in hand,  I’m sure you will miss out on important details and references to certain characters if you choose to read The Fifth To Die first

Full review to follow
Was this review helpful?
BOOM that is what a good detective thriller is all about, perfectly executed, absolutely loved it. The Fifth to Die is the second in the Det Porter/4MK series but my first book, I will definitely without a shadow of a doubt be going back to read The Fourth Monkey immediately. I devoured this book, literally could not put it down, my mind was racing, so many twists, really enjoyed the detective/serial killer relationship which reminded me of Hannibal Lector, would love to see it made into a movie! Can't believe when I got to the end "to be continued"... I was oh no I need to know now...if I could give it more than 5*, I would!!!  I will wait impatiently for No. 3, hope its nearly done J.D. Barker!!!! 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
4 Stars

The body of a young girl named Ella Reynold’s is found in a Lagoon, frozen under the ice, yet forensics show she drowned in salt water.  The mystery, besides the fact that she has been murdered?  She is wearing different clothes than the ones she went missing in.  Turns out they belong to a different girl named Lili Davies, whose body turns up shortly thereafter, having drowned the same way.  Porter, Nash and Clair & Kloz investigate and unfortunately for them, the body count continues to rise.  It has to be a serial killer and while the signature is different than 4MK’s, they can’t help but wonder.  

The FBI, including Agent Poole, took over 4MK’s case and though the FBI is headquartered at the department, they cut the police out of the investigation completely.  Porter however, can’t let it go, thus he takes off on his own to try and find Bishop, who continues to haunt him, whether he likes it or not.  

These two separate suspense stories intertwined in a fascinating way that left my head spinning and my heart racing.  This one is a doozy.  While not quite as captivating as the first book, “The Fourth Monkey,” (which I suggest you read before this one) “The Fifth To Die” - is a worthy follow up that kept my attention and scared me just a little.  

This was a sister read with Brenda and Kaceey.

Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and J. D. Barker for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  

Published on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Instagram on 6.19.18.
Was this review helpful?
The Fifth to Die feels very much like a middle book in a trilogy to me, which is definitely not a bad thing by any means.  It picks up right where The Fourth Monkey left off and doesn't give a whole lot of backstory to the events of that book, but gives enough for the average reader to be able to pick this up blindly.  I will say though that The Fourth Monkey should be read regardless because it's fantastic!  This story shows a ton of buildup to the final showdown between 4MK and Porter/CMPD while also adding a few new character wrinkles to the story.  While the reveals and revelations aren't completely shown, there's enough here to be satisfied with while also leaving some left to be desired in the next book in the series.

Overall, I love J.D. Barker's style of writing, I love his creative mind when it comes to the characters, and I love the story he's telling of 4MK.  I cannot wait until Book 3 releases(hopefully before 1 year from now, but i know that's not likely) to get the thrilling conclusion of the 4MK series.

Full Disclosure: I received an ARC Kindle copy of The Fifth To Die through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
In a way I'm glad I've only recently found the time to pick up the first 4MK thriller. Why? Well, let's just say that book one and two both start and end with a bang and leave you wanting for more. Oh yes, if you think the cliffhanger of The Fourth Monkey was a bad one, you will be in for a painful ride with The Fifth To Die. What a way to mess with your mind! I was in the mood for a twisted, disturbing and complicated serial killer and there is no doubt this story delivered all that and more. Hooked from the first page? Check. More twistedness and new disturbing and horrifying killings? Check. A healthy dose of plot twist bombs that will leave you absolutely flabbergasted? Check. New insights in the backgrounds of the main characters? Check. Fleshing out of the previous plot while adding a LOT of new suspense and a very strong and promising base for an excellent third book? Check. Oh yes, as you might have already guessed, I had a great time with detective Porter and the so-called 4MK killer. Warning: this is one of those series you HAVE to read in order, because you won't be understanding the many references to the case and characters otherwise. (Since it's basically the same open investigation we are talking about, with a new angle and subplot added of course.) The Fifth To Die is just as strong as the first book and this series is quickly becoming a new favorite of mine. Then again, I love a well written, dark, disturbing and gritty serial killer thriller. Is it too early to ask when the next book is coming out? Because I NEED to know what happens next after that humongous cliffhanger ending.

I'm a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and this series is quickly turning into one of my new favorites. If you like your thrillers dark, gritty, disturbing and don't mind graphic scenes, you will be in for a treat with this series. Trust me, reading these two thrillers in order will be worth your time! You will find yourself staring at the last pages wanting for more though, because the cliffhanger ending is pretty brutal. What a way to reveal something like that and leave us staring open mouthed knowing we won't find out more until the next book comes out! It's been a while since an ending hit me that hard.
Was this review helpful?
J.D. Barker - you've got to stop keeping us in suspense like this!!!! GREAT, GREAT psychological thriller picks up where the 4th Monkey ends - a real page turner! Please have the sequel out soon!!!
Was this review helpful?
Four months after 4MKs reign of terror the feds have taken over the case and it looks like Chicago is about to face a harsh winter.

When a girl is found frozen beneath a lagoon Detective Porter and the team find themselves on the hunt for another killer. But the lagoon froze months ago and this girl has only been missing for three weeks. How did she get there, and how is it possible that she’s wearing the clothes of another girl who’s only been missing for two days?

Whilst the detectives at Chicago Metro are trying to make sense of this new case, Sam Porter continues to search for Anson Bishop in secret. That is until his Captain becomes aware and suspends him, leaving Clair and Nash to find the new killer alone.

Obsessed with finding and bringing Bishop to justice, Porter follows clues that take him from Chicago to New Orleans and soon finds himself in a place darker than he could have ever imagined. 

Can the detectives manage to find the killers before it’s too late, and what price will they pay if they do?

Well, first things first…that ending…WTF?! Secondly, do not read this book if you haven’t read the 1st instalment. I’ve seen a couple of reviews mention that it’s possible to read this book as a stand alone, but I just don’t see how this is possible. There’s so much information you need from the first one to truly understand what is going on.

Right, time for my review. I am honestly at a loss as to where to start. This book is just SO GOOD!

As with it’s predecessor this story is told from multiple narrative strands and often each one is only a few pages long. Unlike some books where I find it difficult to build a connection to the story because of this, in this series it really is a benefit. Creating urgency, suspense and the need to read “just one more chapter”, and before you know it you’ve read the whole thing.

Although there’s not a huge amount of back story for the characters, I do find it easy to feel acquainted with them. We get to learn a little more about Sam Porter in this book and it seems as though the author is leading us to an interesting plot twist with this. But who am I kidding?! J.D. Barker could be taking us any where, because this story is totally unguessable!

I could continue writing in great depth and length about this book, but I so desperately don’t want to give anything away and spoil it for those who have yet to read it. So, I will just say if you like your crime thrillers dark, twisted and suspenseful - this is the one for you.

I feel like this book sucked me in page by page, chapter by chapter and then right at the last moment chewed me up and spat me out. Hats off to you Barker because I am more than eagerly awaiting book three.
Was this review helpful?
Smarter than Lecter and more methodical than Jigsaw, J.D. Barker is a thriller lovers wet dream! 

If you haven't read The Fourth Monkey, first....what is wrong with you? Go out, get the book (I HIGHLY recommend the audio!), read the book, love the book. It will make things so much clearer and a million times more enjoyable.'s an amazing freaking read so you have no excuses. None. Go get it! 

This sequel will screw with you. In the best way. I was captivated from the first page right to the "Holy Crap" ending (seriously Barker...why? Just why????). It's not just good. It's throw the book against the wall, sit in the shower to let the shock settle in, then apologize to the book and immediately begin rereading it because you obviously hate yourself good.

Instructions for reading: 
1. Call in sick, I'll write you a note. No employer should deny you this
2. Buy a big bottle of whiskey, wine won't cut it
3. Order pizza for the kids, you're not cooking tonight
If you haven't read The Fourth Monkey, I suggest taking 2 days off. Maybe a really long weekend. You'll need it. 

I can NOT wait to see what Barker and 4MK have in store for us next!
Was this review helpful?
If you want a book that will grip you and leave you wanting more, this is the book for you.
The Fifth to die is just as good as J.D Barkers first book and I feel that this author will only get better with time, I look forward to the next one!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars (rounded to 4 stars)

Holy cow, what a thrill ride! Despite that, this one was hard for me to rate. There are some really 5+++ star features, but also some things that I really didn’t like.

First of all, do not even try reading this without reading the first book, The Fourth Monkey. It is just not an option.  I had to suspend reading early on and go back and re-read 10-15% of The Fourth Monkey (which I read a year ago) just to refresh enough to get my bearings. Talk about a flow-breaker. I was a little miffed that there was not enough backstory in the current book to get me up to speed without having to backtrack to the first book.

Once I got oriented, the book took off! There are dual plotlines, both highly gripping. We are back in the chase for 4MK and possibly for other killers as well. There are several investigations going on at once in three different cities. There are 134 relatively short chapters allowing for all the investigations to be covered at the same time. PLUS, we have more of 4MK’s diary! This was a highlight in the first book and definitely a high point of this book as well. If this sounds confusing, it’s not. It is very well written, but again you need to have the background of The Fourth Monkey to follow this one. 

Detective Sam Porter is in trouble with his superiors in this book, but that doesn’t keep him chained to his easy chair. It does allow us to see the rest of his team in action without him. Clair Bear, Kloz, and Nash are prominently featured doing their thing. There isn’t a lot of character development of the good guys, but for once that didn’t bother me because the investigations themselves are so deliciously engrossing. Oh, and of course, we get 4MK’s diary to study—talk about a character study!

I got tired of the scenes of the teenage girls in captivity with the sicko. I think the more I read thrillers, the less tolerant I am of these scenes. They don’t do much for me other than make me wish them to be shorter. It doesn’t take much for me to appreciate how evil and twisted someone is.

The last 40% of the book was fabulously suspenseful. I didn’t know what the hell was going on (in a good way) and enjoyed racking my brains trying to figure it all out. I defy anyone to predict what happens. The ending was a stunner. Well done, Mr. Barker, very well done indeed. But did you have to leave those great big loose ends? I guess you did, as I hear you are planning to conclude the saga with a third book! I do think knowing that almost cancels out my irritation over the lack of a nice red bow at the finish.

This is a true 4.5 read for me. It is way better than the usual 4, but the demerits noted above won’t let me rate it a 5. I do know one thing—I’ll be there when book 3 is available. I highly highly recommend this little series. Just don’t jump into the middle of it!!   

Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Net Galley, and J.D. Barker for an ARC of this novel. Opinions are totally mine and are not biased in any way.
Was this review helpful?
Holy balls, Batman! I freaking loved The Fifth to Die. I felt it was far better than the first novel. Quite possibly because I loved all the characters in the first book, and now in book two you have more time with them and are a little more invested. I also enjoyed the overall story more – the way it was set up and executed. This book also has a lot of moving parts. I loved that as well. Complex stories, if done right, have such a rewarding end. I’m confident that Barker will have no issues managing the machine he has created with this series.

Five stars are not enough for novels this good.

With this installment of the 4MK Thrillers, you get loads of action, heavy doses of thriller, and a ton of emotion. Especially at the end – that cliffhanger had me screaming, “What the actual f***?” But I loved it. I have honest love and admiration for books and their authors that can evoke all emotions, including the gray areas, while I read. Without any doubt, Barker has officially become one of my favorite authors.
Was this review helpful?
Let’s get one thing out of the way.  Don’t even think of reading this book if you haven’t read the first in the series.  It just will not work.  There are lots of moving parts here, some of which require the in depth knowledge from 4MK.  

The story is told from multiple POVs as the timeline moves along.  It’s well paced and the story progresses in a linear fashion.  This book kept my interest the entire time.  It’s another gripping, scary book.  It’s not as gruesome as 4MK, but that’s not to say there aren’t some gruesome scenes.  It’s all relative.  

It’s fascinating to watch all the various investigations, police, FBI and Porter’s personal one, all move forward.  Yes, there’s lots going on here, but it’s not difficult to keep track.  This is all about the story.  This isn't a book with great in depth character development.  And know that going in, you need to commit to book three.  

My thanks to netgalley and Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt for an advance copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
I fell hard for J.D. Barker's writing after reading The Fourth Monkey. Bishop is my favorite serial killer character right behind Hannibal Lector(and who knows how much of that is due to Anthony Hopkins portrayal). The book was so well written and unique and I had no idea that I would be captivated from page one. In hindsight, I may have waited for Friday night to begin(sorry job, I wasn't my usual perky self, but I stayed up all night reading an excellent book). I believe I read that the author plans this tale to be a trilogy, which made me a very happy book lover.
Of course, there was that annoying little thought in my head. Could book lightning strike twice? Could the second book, The Fifth to Die be another 5 star read? For me, I am happy to say I loved it as much as The Fourth Monkey. There are familiar characters, but they follow different paths which meant the book didn't just repeat what worked in the first book and yet the ultimate story moved forward brilliantly. While Detective Sam Porter pursues his own leads and agenda, his old team is faced with more gruesome murders. Is this Bishop's work or has another serial killer decided to 'come out and play'? No spoilers here, you will have to read the book to find out, but if you are like me, you'll have 'so much fun' along the way that it will be well worth it.
I personally would recommend reading The Fourth Monkey first. I've given it some thought and while there is enough detail for this to work as a standalone, to me it wouldn't be the same reading experience. There is still time since The Fifth to Die won't be published until July 2018. You might also want to visit J.D. Barker's website as there is a hidden Fourth Monkey bonus chapter( and who knows what he might add for his latest book). Many sequels are good but just not quite as good as the first book. In this case, this was another 5 star read for me.
Thank you J.D.Barker, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the complimentary DRC.
Was this review helpful?
This book took way too long to get interesting, and was confusing to boot. I kept reading because I remembered really liking the first one. This one did eventually get interesting...96% of the way through. And then to make things worse, cliffhanger. It gets 3 stars, raised up from 2 on the merit of the ending. Let's hope the next one starts off with a bang, hmm?
Was this review helpful?
You definitely have to have read 4 MK but this book is so good! I can not wait for the next book to see what happens with 4MK. Is it wrong to like a serial killer?
Was this review helpful?
An excellent follow up to The Fourth Monkey. The end will have fans clamoring for more from J.D. Barker.
Was this review helpful?