⇒”You can’t play God without being acquainted with the devil.” -The Sixth Wicked Child ⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, Hampton Creek Press, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Author: J.D. Barker
(4.73 stars – Goodreads rating)
Genre: Crime Fiction / Thriller / Suspense
Publication Date: August 27, 2019, by Hampton Creek Press
Pages: 626 (Kindle version)
Mother will not be happy with that.
For a while now I have realized that I have a weird obsession with serial killers. I’ll readily admit that it’s morbid and depressing and not the most normal thing in the world. But I am not alone. Among avid readers and podcasters alike, I have found my people!
The thing that draws me in is the utter senselessness of serial killing. I want to understand why – the motive, the drive, the extreme discontent or obsession that prompts someone to become that kind of monster. And, oh yes, I have learned that there are no easy answers, and often no reasons at all. Which makes these killers even scarier.
If you’ve been keeping up with the 4MK thrillers up ’til now, you’re familiar with Anson Bishop, his devious mind, and his heinous acts. At least you think you are. But Barker’s third book of the series may just turn all that you know into an even bigger mystery than before. Let’s check out the blurb:
Hear No Evil. For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades. See No Evil. Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles. Speak No Evil. Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved. Do No Evil. With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale.
Only the dead know true freedom.
As with so many complicated stories, the truth can only be found in the past. So it’s to the past we go through Anson Bishop’s diaries written while he was in foster care at The Finicky House for Wayward Children. (That has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Sounds like such a nice, safe, cozy place.) Bishop’s memories are interspersed between the present day action told from multiple POVs. There’s a lot of ground to cover in this trilogy finale, hence the 626 pages of action!
I’m gonna be honest here, this is a hard review to write while trying not to spoil anything. There are things that I was pretty sure I understood about these characters and about the crimes perpetrated by this heinous criminal that got completely reversed while reading this book. There are SO MANY “wait… whuh?” moments in here, I started to second-guess my own sanity.
So, in order to avoid all spoilers, but still supply an idea of what to expect from The Sixth Wicked Child – I will say… expect the unexpected. Cliché? Yes. Apropos? Yes, again. Many, many dark things happen, and just when you think some light is about to dawn, providing reason and understand, boom! There’s a giant twist and you’re plunged back into darkness again. Seriously, there’s so many twists and turns with so many moving parts in this one, you might need a Venn diagram to keep it all straight. (Good luck with that!)
Sometimes the easy or obvious wasn’t the best, and sometimes the best wasn’t obvious or easy.
OK, so my recommendation is to definitely read this book. But, like any good series, you have to read this trilogy in order. If you begin with this one, you’ll be in the weeds by the second chapter with no hope of rescue. And my second piece of advice, read them close to each other. Lots of references are made to previous events that become more significant in this finale. It helps to keep everything fresh in your mind. And finally, I would advise you to take your time with this book. At 626 pages (Kindle), it covers a lot of ground and has a large cast of characters. This is not one you can rush through, nor would you want to. If we’re saying goodbye to Anson Bishop and Detective Sam Porter with this book, let’s make it memorable.
So, I’m sad to see that this is the end of a clever, meaty thriller series with evolving characters and unpredictable action. But I am glad that I picked up The Fourth Monkey back in 2017 and started on this journey with good guys/girls, bad guys/girls, and the ones that got mixed up in between. And if, at the start of this adventure you could have predicted this particular ending, then you’re a much more clever person than I. Bravo, Mr. Barker. Bravo.
Buy The Sixth Wicked Child here:
Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television. –JDBarker.com