The Fourth Monkey by J.D.Barker @jdbarker #Bookreview #4MK


Book description

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorised the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realise he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

img_1258Oh my god I absolutely loved The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker, what a deliciously dark and utterly gripping novel this one turned out to be. I’m the first to admit you can’t beat a good serial killer in a crime thriller (hmmm I’m not sure what a psychologist would make of that) but believe me when I say they don’t come more twisted than the  The Fourth Money (or 4MK as they are known) but it certainly made for a brilliant read. Masterfully written,  fast-paced thriller this novel made for a rivetting read.  I’m not going to go into plot details as I would hate to spoil the read for others and it’s definitely one of those “the less you know, the more thrilling the read”

The novel is told mainly from Detective Sam Porter POV and from 4MK’s diary. This diary tells the story of a serial killer, beginning with their childhood you learn of the events that shaped them into the evil and depraved monster they became. It was these chapters that I found the most unsettling they are seriously twisted and imaginative, to read how a small child turns into a psychopath serial killer made for a very disturbing and chilling read, but I found myself compelled to learn more about this sick individual. Yes it is pretty graphic in parts, but very much in keeping with the plot and characters.

Deviously plotted with twists galore this J.D. Barker has written a story that challenges and shock, he certainly  isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what we expect. He writes with grit, enthusiasm and passion and manages to deliver on all fronts. The Fourth Monkey has been compared to 7even and Silence Of The Lambs, and I can see why, thanks to the plot, an unforgettable serial killer and scenes that would unsettle the most hardened crime thriller reader it really does have the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Highly recommended and I can definitely see why this novel is being billed as one of the most anticipated releases of 2017. 

Hardcover: 416 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (27 Jun. 2017)

Links to pre-order:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸


I will be giving The Fourth Monkey the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.


**Weekly Wrap Up**


Oh woe me 😢😢 I have read zilch this week! What sort of book blogger does that make me? I would say a pretty rubbish one. I have had a very stressful week, basically I started a new job I managed eight shifts and resigned! Never in my 33 years of working have I ever walked away from a job, I won’t go into details but it’s suffice to say it wasn’t for me! But on the upside I’ve got an interview on Monday for another job (I don’t hang about), so fingers crossed. Hopefully I will get to read at least one book next week or I will have to rename my blog The lots of books but no reviews café 

ARC’s I received this week

Despite not reading anything I still managed to find myself on the dreaded NetGalley and got improved for Four books 🙈🙈



Lori Golden’s family have had more than their fair share of troubles. But through it all, Lori and her sister, Jessie, have always supported each other. Then Jessie is killed. And Lori’s world turns upside down.

Devastated, Lori struggles to cope with her loss, and to learn to live in a world without her bright, bubbly sister by her side. Around her, her already fractured family start to fall apart. And, as Lori and her mother try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, secrets long thought buried are coming painfully to light.

Faced with the unthinkable, Lori is forced to ask herself how well she really knows those who are left behind…




DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine’ Elly Griffiths The third book in Michael Wood’s darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. Feared by the people of Sheffield, Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.

Now the building’s latest arrival, Ryan Asher, has been found brutally murdered – stabbed twelve times, left in a pool of blood. When DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, they uncover the secrets of a house tainted by evil. Kate Moloney, the prison’s manager, is falling apart, the security system has been sabotaged, and neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted. There’s only one person Matilda believes is innocent, and he’s facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate. And find a murderer in a house full of killers…




The battle is on…

When gang leader Paddy O’Brien is stabbed in his brother’s famous nightclub, Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core. Tensions are running high, and as the body count begins to grow, the O’Brien family must face a tough decision – sell their side of the city to the infamous Boddlington gang or stick it out and risk losing their king.

But war comes easy to the bad boys, and they won’t go down without a fight. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands – but only the strongest will survive…




A daughter’s secret. A mother’s betrayal.

Every mother knows never to let their child out of their sight. But Freya has been distracted recently, and now her teenage daughter, Zoe, is missing.

Freya knows that the only way to bring Zoe back is to tell the truth, but when your whole life is built on secrets and lies, the truth could destroy everything.

Surely there’s no harm in telling just one more little white lie?

55Cs 100%


1970s London has stopped swinging, but it’s not staying still.

Babs thought she had all the world ahead of her. Then she got pregnant and the father did a runner.

Salvation comes in the form of a man who’ll look after her. Or so she thinks.

But Stan Miller is the devil in disguise…and over the next twenty years, Babs will have reason to regret she ever met him. Can she protect her family – or will he get the better of her?

BLOOD MOTHER is the second thrilling book in the Flesh and Blood series, capturing a world very different from today but where some things still hold true: be careful what you wish for, and watch out for who you trust…

Books I bought this week

I only bought one book this week and despite my long suffering husband Andy offering to buy me some books to cheer me up when we went shopping, I actually looked but didn’t buy any, see I do have some self control, by the way Andy bought me some flowers to cheer me up instead, it may sound corny but he really is the best husband, well he’s got to be he’s put up with me for 29 years 😂😂





In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered.

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…

… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

This dark and disturbing psychological novel will appeal to fans of The Widow and The Butterfly Garden.

Last week on the book review café

Next week on the book review café

The Breakdown by B A Paris review

My Book of the month

Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt blog tour

The Day That never Comes by Caimh McDonnell blog tour

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza #Review @Bookouture


Book description

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. Above her on dry land, the nightmare was just  beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker, comes the third heart-stopping book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

img_1258I promised myself after what others may have considered to be a rather over enthusiastic review for The Night Stalker, I would tone my review for Dark Water down, but HOLY MOLY Robert Bryndza has only gone and done it again and wrote another fabulous book to add to the DI Erika Forster series. So I’m sorry if I get carried away with my review (yet again), but I was honestly convinced the authors last book The Night Stalker would be my favourite, but after reading Dark Waters I’m now convinced this is my favourite in the series by far. This series is evolving into one of the best crime series I’ve read over the last few years each book seems to get darker, and more sinister.

Dark Waters opens with an unsettling and spine chilling prologue, and once I read it I was hooked, it’s one of those books you can’t bear to put down, as each chapter ends you just “have to read one more” and before you know it it’s the middle of the night! This is the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series and although you could read it as a standalone I would urge you to read the series, just because it’s such a fantastic crime series. Erika Foster is one of my favourite crime detectives she’s direct to the point of being brutal but she’s also determined, fearless and incredibly good at her job, we also learn more about Erika and her family in this book which add more depth to her character. Erica faces her most complex case yet when seven year old Jessica’s body is found in a quarry twenty six years after her disappearance, with no witnesses and very little to go on Erika finds herself caught up in an investigation that will test her policing skills to the limits, its a case steeped in lies, secrets and heartbreak.

What I like about Robert Bryndza’s writing is his ability to describe scenes with such conviction that you feel like your there along side Erika and her team, the sights, smells and atmosphere jump out of the pages making for a truly breathtaking read. You feel their every emotion as they deal with the heartbreaking investigation of the missing Jessica. As this is a cold case this book isn’t as fast paced as others in the series, but personally for me it still made it an utterly compelling read, I found Dark Water to be the very definition of a ‘read-in-one-sitting’ crime thriller. What I particularly like about this series is how different each book has been from the last and how each story offers something unique, which is why Robert Bryndza continues to be one of my very favourite authors.

In my opinion Dark Water is gripping from the first page until the last, Unsettling and disturbing, the actions of the all too human characters lead to a devastating and tense climax.  I can and I will wholeheartedly recommend Dark Water for anyone looking for an original crime story but with all the hallmarks of a truly gripping tale. Just in case you were wondering I absolutely loved Dark Water and it will certainly be in my top reads of 2016 along with The Night Stalker of course! I can’t wait to see what the hugely talented Robert Bryndza comes up with next.

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise…….but I won’t be giving Dark Water 5 stars, but I will be giving it the very prestigious GOLD STAR AWARD. I give this award to a book I feel covers every aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page. Robert Bryndza is the first author to receive TWO Gold Star Awards, but I certainly think he deserves them, and let’s hope the next book makes it a “hat trick”


Amazon UK 🇬🇧

If you haven’t yet read the Erika Foster series here are the books in order, and I’ve also included the links ……..

1. THE GIRL IN THE ICE  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

2. THE NIGHT STALKER  Amazon UK  🇬🇧   Amazon US 🇺🇸

3. DARK WATER  Amazon UK   🇬🇧  Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 341 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (20 Oct. 2016)

**Blog Tour** My Girl by Jack Jordan & Guest Post



Today I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Jack Jordan’s forthcoming novel My Girl (published on the 4th of July) and believe me if you love a gritty crime thriller you don’t want to miss this book, I read it in one sitting, yes it really was that good.  Before you head over to Amazon and pre-order yourself a copy, I have a guest post from the very talented Jack Jordan regarding his top five reads of 2016


Jack Jordan’s Top Five Favourite Reads of 2016

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King.

As a reader, I crave the time of day when I can lock myself away, pick up a good book, and escape into a whole other world. Some people might call this being anti-social. I call it pure bliss.

As a writer, I read to expand my knowledge, learn new techniques, be inspired by the masters, and judge how to, and how not to, write a gripping read.

Usually I am both a recreational reader and a professional writer at the same time, gasping at a novel’s twist, while analysing the execution and nodding in author-to-author approval.

Reading and writing go hand in hand – to be a successful writer, you must live and breathe literature. Olympic divers must first learn to swim, solicitors must understand law, and writers must read, read, and read some more.

I have read some fantastic novels this year that have stayed with me as a reader, and have taught me a lot as a writer.

Here are my top five reads of 2016 so far


Bird Box by Josh Malerman



If you’ve seen what’s out there… it’s already too late.

Something is out there – something that kills you with a single glance.

If you look outside, at whatever has taken over the world, you will be driven to madness, and kill those around you before ending your own life. You can’t see your biggest threat, you have no idea if it’s waiting just outside your door, and somehow you must survive runs to the well for water, looted shops for food, and the growing tension between those who are still alive.

The reader follows protagonist Malorie in the past and the present, learning how the world became so dangerous and inhabitable, and how only the bravest few can survive.

This is without a doubt one of my favourite books of all time. I consider Malerman’s debut novel a masterpiece. Never have I read a book where the author has managed to write a sensational novel without the key sensory description of sight. Not only has Malerman pulled it off, but he has raised the bar for ever other writer out there.


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


In love we find out who we want to be.

In war we find out who we are.


The Nightingale is a beautiful, heart-breaking story of two sisters enduring life amidst World War II. The elder sister, Vianne, must raise her children alone when her husband is pulled into the war to fight, and watch as her rural village is torn from France’s grasp and invaded by the Germans, who infiltrate every home, including hers, and change her world forever.
The younger sister, Isabelle, is determined to fight the Germans in any way she can. It isn’t long before she is working to defeat the enemy right within its territory, and battles love, war, and prejudice until the very end.

This is a powerful, haunting novel about the terrors of war, the strength of those caught in the crossfire, and one that is destined to make you cry.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


When The Lottery was published in The New Yorker in 1948, hundreds of letters poured in from horrified readers, compelled to put their terror into words – the most letters the publication had ever received. The tale was deemed ‘outrageous’, ‘gruesome’, and ‘perverted’. Hundreds of readers cancelled their subscriptions to the magazine, but that wouldn’t stop the controversial short story becoming one of the most infamous tales of all time.
What’s more, Jackson wrote it in under two hours, and made only two minor tweaks before sending it off for publication. Little did she know that it would forever live in the Literary Hall of Fame.

I won’t tell you what the story is about, in fear that I would either tell you too much or not do Jackson’s masterpiece justice. All I will say is that this particular lottery is one that you would not want to win.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy


As I took this book to the counter at my local Waterstones, the employee at the till winced and said, ‘Not a very cheerful book’. She didn’t say it with disapproval, but with heart for the characters hidden within the pages. I was desperate to understand what she meant, and raced home to begin reading.
I wasn’t sure of this book at first. The absence of punctuation and chapters didn’t sit well with me, but once I got used to the author’s particular writing structure, I was absorbed by the melancholy tale until the bitter end.
This character-led story is a raw look at the wild animals we really are when we are stripped away from our 21st century necessities. When phones, fashion, food, security and shelter are taken from us, we return to the feral creatures we once were. This is how we meet the main characters, a father and his son, who are drifters in this terrifying dystopian world where society has collapsed and trees are falling, taking breathable air with them.
It’s a sad but important story. The Road exposes us to who, or rather what, we really are, when society is torn away.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


Tomorrow is another day.

The Bible is considered ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. As an atheist and an author, I’m afraid I have to disagree. I believe Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind holds that title.
There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t love this book: the racism and slavery; martial rape; unlikeable characters; the sympathetic viewpoint of the Confederacy and the slavery they fought to uphold. But despite the difficult subject matter that goes against everything I believe in, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Gone with the Wind.
An epic novel made up of over 1000 pages, Gone with the Wind is led by Scarlett O’Hara, a boisterous, spoilt, selfish young woman who you can’t help but love. She is comical, strong-willed, but blindly destructive. Her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler, her poor choices and her traumatic experiences, and her unstoppable desire to succeed and survive makes this novel completely unputdownable, and my all-time favourite novel.

Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for Gone with the Wind in 1937.

About Jack Jordan


Jack Jordan is an introvert disguised as an extrovert, an intelligent person who can say very unintelligent things, and a self-confessed bibliomaniac with more books than sense. Author of Anything for Her and My Girl. Jack lives in East Anglia, England. He loves animals, hates mathematics. Jack has been writing fiction for five years, and has overcome every obstacle that all writers must face: the duty to consume excessive amounts of tea and coffee, riddling self-doubt, overwhelming writer’s block, dozens of copy-and-pasted rejection letters, and unrealistic career comparisons to J K Rowling, made by innocent – yet oblivious – civilians.

Links to Jack Jordan

Goodreads     Website     Twitter     Facebook

Book Description

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man.

She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.

But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.

From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.



Oh WOW when I offered to read and review My Girl by Jack Jordan for his blog tour I really had no idea what to expect, but boy I am glad I read this novel. The first couple of chapters of My Girl certainly contained “the shock factor” and I was concerned that it would lack substance, and would be more about shocking the reader, but I’m pleased to say I was completely wrong, I found My Girl to be a chilling and captivating read. Yes it was shocking and very disturbing in parts but it did add to the plot making for a riveting read.

Paige is the mother of a murdered child and a wife to dead man, she has lost all self respect, she’s reckless and is addicted to both alcohol and pain killers, which is understandable considering her daughters killer has not been caught, and she continues to grieve for both her daughter and husband. I felt real empathy for Paige as her life spirals out of control, with no reason to live she drowns her sorrows in the bottle which lead her make some bad choices. The bond between a mother and her child is unbreakable, and the love is unconditional, so as a mother myself her pain and disregard for herself were understandable.

Darkly disturbing and genuinely shocking and unpredictable I found myself reading My Girl in one sitting, yes it really was that gripping! In fact I flew through the pages, as Paige finds the gun her husband had hidden away the plot begins to take shape and my mind started racing, trying to work out where the story was leading, but fortunately Jack Jordan gave nothing away and I would never have guessed how the plot would pan out in a million years. I was shocked to the core when the threads of this well plotted book began to come together. My Girl is fuelled with tension and so well written that before I knew it I had read 75% of the book without pausing for breath. Jack Jordan is certainly a writer to watch out for, he’s seriously talented, and a very gifted story teller.  Im already looking forward to see what Jack Jordan comes up with next, I will certainly be reading his debut novel Anything For Her at the first opportunity.

My thanks to the author Jack Jordan for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

Buy My Girl Amazon
Buy Anything For Her Amazon