I am so excited the day is finally here! One of my most anticipated summer reads is releasing today! I am thrilled to be wishing a big, Happy Publication Day to The Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker. When I read this book (in case you missed it, you can find my review for The Fourth Monkey here) I was left in complete awe of Barker’s ability to craft such a brilliant story; for lack of a better word, I was basically obsessed. I knew that I had to have the author, J.D Barker, on Clues and Reviews to answer some of my burning questions about the writing process, the book and what is next!
First off, The Fourth Monkey is absolutely insane. I was glued to the pages. What inspired to write it?
Well, thank you!
I’ve known I wanted to write a serial killer thriller for a long time but the story had to be just so. The formula has been done to death and I needed something fresh. Years ago, I decided if I wrote this book, the killer should die at the beginning of the story. That created a few complex problems, the least of which was where to go from there. The story sat patiently waiting in my subconscious until a day back in 2014 when I was in line at the grocery store. There was a rather rotund woman in line ahead of me in one of those electric carts and a boy of about eight years old standing behind me with his father. The boy said something about the woman, I didn’t hear what exactly, then his father leaned down and said, “Speak no evil, son.” As soon as I heard that, a number of thoughts flooded my head – Who says that? What exactly is happening back at their house? By that night, I had the basis for my killer’s childhood and the story found its way to paper quickly.
I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers and the overall psychology behind them. What causes a person to kill? Is that urge hardwired from the moment they’re born or is it somehow a learned behaviour fueled by environment and upbringing? A combination of both? The more I studied, the more I realized that even the experts don’t really know. They love to pretend they do, psychologists love their labels and find peace in the various boxes they feel they can drop people into but that appearance of knowledge is nothing but a mask. I’ve known good people who grew up in bad places and bad people who grew up under the best circumstances. There are a lot of sociopaths out in the world and only a small fraction of them kill, not all killers are sociopaths. The world isn’t black and white but filled with gray and it’s within that gray 4MK was born. My goal was to write a book that not only entertained but blurred the line between innocent and guilty – I hoped people would not only empathize with the victims but also the killer.