cover image The Fifth to Die

The Fifth to Die

J.D. Barker. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (544p) ISBN 978-0-544-97397-8

Thomas Harris fans will find themselves on familiar ground in Barker’s competent if unmemorable sequel to 2017’s The Fourth Monkey, in which Anson Bishop, the so-called Four Monkey Killer, targeted the children of people he believed merited punishment, such as drug traffickers and kiddie porn dealers. Bishop eluded capture after managing to infiltrate the investigation of Chicago PD detective Sam Porter by posing as a CSI photographer. In this continuation, the discovery of the frozen corpse of 15-year-old Ella Reynolds, who’s wearing another missing girl’s clothes, leads the media to speculate that 4MK has returned, despite a changed m.o. Porter’s search for his nemesis alternates with gruesome scenes from the perspective of girls abducted by a sadist, who repeatedly drowns and resuscitates them so they can describe the experience to him. The cliffhanger ending points to more mayhem in a third volume. Other authors have done the cat-and-mouse plot line better, and Barker falls short of making Bishop a worthy successor to Hannibal Lecter. [em]Agent: Kristin Nelson, Kristin Nelson Literary Agency. (July) [/em]