17.8.19

THE FOURTH MONKEY, by J. D. Barker

A taut psychological thriller with a forty-eight hour timeline. Also a police procedural and a murder mystery. The Four Monkey Killer has terrorized Chicago until the anonymous body of a man is identified as the actual killer. Hit by a bus as he crossed a street, the victim's identification leads police to believe he is indeed the Four Monkey Killer. Detective Sam Porter, assigned to the case, begins to follow the trail prvcided by a diary in the dead man's pocket. Then it turns out that the man was pushed.
The story switches between the present day and the creepy, horrible diary entries. At first one feels some compassion for the young writer in his bizarre situation, then as the entire story unfolds it becomes clear that motives and actions aren't as they had seemed. Porter, reading the entries while trying to figure out not only the killer's motivation but why the killer made his fatal stumble, realizes he has only hours to figure it out before another death may happen. Too late, Porter realizes that the web he has followed is as much a trap as a trail.
A 4 for me. The diary entries were a bit too pat. But the story, particularly the very tense and dramatic denouement, was worth reading.

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