Book review: The Fifth to Die, J.D. Barker - The second in the fabulous Detective Sam Porter series.

Available here
Last year I reviewed the prequel to this The Fifth to Die (The Fourth Monkey review )  and was blown away by it's complexity and energy.  So, when The Fifth to Die reared its head, I was desperate to read it and boy was I rewarded for my eagerness.  I love serial killer novels - the darker the monster the more my enjoyment increases.  But, what gives me added pleasure is when we really get into the head of the killer with tantalising little insights and hints.  As a crime author myself, I know how difficult it is to immerse yourself in the mind of your bad characters and let them take you where they want to go.  So, hats off to J.D. Barker for pushing the boundaries and creating a truly insightful series of novels (The third one in the series will be released next year I believe) I would recommend reading The Fourth Monkey first for maximum enjoyment.

A missing girl is discovered frozen under the ice of the Jackson Park lagoon and Detective Sam Porter and his team catch the case.  turns out all is not as it seems, for the girl was placed under the frozen lake after it froze and she's wearing the clothes belonging to a girl who has only recently been reported missing.  
Available here
Sam Porter, unlike a lot of fictional detectives is in his fifties,he's grieving the death of his wife and he's under intense scrutiny for some of his actions during The Fourth Monkey Investigation (read it to find out why).  
The investigation is intense and Sam's already tense relations with the FBI result in him going off the grid. (I'm missing out huge aspects of the plot here so you can fully enjoy The Fourth Monkey)

The Fifth to Die is all about the unreliable narrator at it's best. By using a childhood diary as a plot device, Barker weaves a complex, immensely satisfying narrative that makes us question and second guess ourselves at every turn.  With themes of loyalty, anger, retribution combined with red herrings and misdirection this is a flawless piece of fiction that kept me up at night to finish it.  Each of Barker's characters has their own unique identity that makes their interactions authentic, at times humerous and often shocking. 
The Fifth to Die, is my favourite serial killer novel of 2018, so far.