The Sixth Wicked Child (4MK Thriller #3), by J.D. Barker

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, J.D. Barker, and Hampton Creek Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

As the riveting 4MK trilogy comes to an end, J.D. Barker offers the most explosive novel to date. Chilling in its delivery and full of unexpected twists, fans of the series should brace themselves as all the pieces finally come together. As the 4MK cases continues to gain momentum, the obvious suspect remains Anson Bishop, who turns himself in to the authorities. However, there are more victims that keep emerging, a single message binding them all together in his sick and twisted web. While this would seem to be a slam-dunk case, the fact that the bodies appear almost simultaneously on opposite sides of the country is an issue, denoting that this could not be the work of a single man. While minds stir about this, a hospital becomes the scene of a lockdown, as a virus makes its way through the air and chooses even more victims to add to the horror. While trying to shed some light on the entire situation, Chicago PD and FBI investigators listen to Bishop tell a complex story from his past, one that could reveal more about the real killer than first suspected. All comes to light in a set of diary entries, which could prove to be the best piece of evidence on offer. If he is to be believed, Bishop can finger a rogue cop as the real killer and the one with the greatest motive to shut the investigation down. Trouble is, everything is marred in a fog and what is on paper seems too outrageous to accept. Truths will be revealed and a killer’s identity shall be unmasked, but it may be too much for some to accept as they attempt to wrap their minds around what’s gone undetected and how many other lives have been cut short. A troubling novel, though one that fits right into the series and allows Barker to show just how sadistic things can get with a serial killer, given the opportunity. Recommended to series fans and those who want out of their comfort zone.

The concept for this series caught my attention when it was released and I knew I would have to find the time to add this to my ever-growing list of books to read. From the outset, the story pulled me in and kept me wanting to know more, especially since the serial killer stood out as being highly unique in their actions and the thrill of the chase. Returning as a quasi-protagonist again, Sam Porter offers the reader some insight into his personality and desire to get this killer off the streets. While there is no time for backstory, the reader does learn some interesting aspects about his life as well as how he is seen by his colleagues. Porter has little time for banter, wanting to get to the root of the matter, but fearful of tripping up and costing the investigation its best lead. He will have to remain level-headed and stay the course, or risk it all. Anson Bishop remains the other character to share the spotlight, though Barker seems to want to share the glory all around. Depicted as the mastermind killer, Bishop has a lot to say and won’t let himself face all the blame without opening up one more can of worms. What he reveals is both troubling and shocking, proof that may turn the case on its head, should anyone want to listen. In a story packed with interesting characters, Barker leaves no stone unturned in an attempt to flesh-out the truth, chilling the reader as the plunge deeper. The story remained strong throughout, climbing in its intensity through short chapters that tease just enough to keep the reader wanting to know more. I love this technique, as I find myself devouring things without being able to stop, promising myself and those around me that “one more chapter” will do. Matched with that, use of a diary to tell a captivating backstory leaves nothing to the imagination. In. trilogy set over six days, any reader wishing to binge the series can do so and feel the full impact of the story, allowing Barker to take over control and leave the reader at his mercy. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the series, which brings together some great writing, strong narrative guidance, and a plot that has more twists than it does answers. Not to be missed, for those who have the stomach for the adventure.

Kudos, Mr. Barker, on another great book. I have loved everything of yours to date and cannot wait to discover more.A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: