#BookReview: THE FIFTH TO DIE by J. D. Barker @jdbarker @HQstories

9780008250386Publication: 10th July 2018 (eBook); 27th December 2018 (paperback) – HQ

Murder. It’s a family affair.

In the midst of one of the worst winters Chicago has seen in years, the body of missing teenager Ella Reynolds is discovered under the surface of a frozen lake.

She’s been missing for three weeks… the lake froze over three months ago.

Detective Sam Porter and his team are brought in to investigate but it’s not long before another girl goes missing. The press believes the serial killer, Anson Bishop, has struck again but Porter knows differently. The deaths are too different, there’s a new killer on the loose.

Porter however is distracted. He’s still haunted by Bishop and his victims, even after the FBI have removed him from the case. His only leads: a picture of a female prisoner and a note from Bishop: ‘Help me find my mother. I think it’s time she and I talked.’

As more girls go missing and Porter’s team race to stop the body count rising, Porter disappears to track down Bishop’s mother and discover that the only place scarier than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

Perfect for fans of Helen Fields, Val McDermid and Jo Nesbo this gripping and twisted thriller will have you wondering, how do you stop a killer when he’s been trained from birth?


Since The Fourth Monkey, the first book of this gripping series, kept me completely glued to the pages, I have been really looking forward to reading the sequel, THE FIFTH TO DIE, and once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.

The book starts four months after the events of The Fourth Monkey and Chicago detective Sam Porter is still looking for Anson Bishop, aka 4MK (the Fourth Monkey Killer), even though the FBI has removed him from the case. In the meantime, there is another killer on the loose who is kidnapping and killing young girls while Anson Bishop wants his help in finding his mother.

Even though the novel is told from different points of views, from the detectives to the FBI, from the killer to the victims, and the reader seems to get a full view of the story, there are so many twists and surprises to keep you always on the edge of your seat. The chapters are short and almost each one of them ends with a shocking revelation or a twist that made me say “I’ll read just another chapter” and then I found myself reading another 100 pages.

The author created a cast of well-developed and multi-layered characters. Anson Bishop is very complex and we find out more about his troubled past. Sam Porter has also some secrets from the past and he is still helped by his team. I love the characters of Nash, Clair, and Kloz who have Sam’s back, even when he is forced to take a leave, and there were moments when they made me laugh with their quips and their irony. I also liked the character of FBI agent Poole and I am already looking forward to read more about this character.

THE FIFTH TO DIE is fast-paced, dark, intense, and chilling. The ending left me in complete shock and breathless and I can’t wait to read the third book of this brilliant and captivating series.


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