The last and best book in a tremendous trilogy by J. D. Barker.
Before I begin my review of this book, I want to stress out that it is the first time in my life that I've read all three installments of a trilogy in succession. It all started with the intriguing and suspenseful The Fourth Monkey, which I devoured, almost, in just one sitting despite its enormous size (over 500 pages) and after finishing it I felt hooked to the plot's brilliance. So, I continued with The Fifth to Die which I found a bit weaker than the first one, though this ascertainment didn't prevent me from relishing the book's intricate storyline which was closely linked with the events that occurred in The Fourth Monkey. So, in the end, I had only one book left to finish this great crime fiction saga, and I was enthralled to learn that I have been approved for getting a free ARC of this novel through NetGalley. It should also be mentioned that to assess properly the "4MK Thriller" trilogy, it is best to read the books in the right order or you will find yourself lost inside J. D. Barker's thrilling world. Most of the characters appear on all three installments while there are certain key events that the reader should bear in mind to fully understand what is happening and why.
Barker narrates his rich, elaborate serial-killer story through multiple perspectives, as he did in the previous two books, and in The Sixth Wicked Child Sam Porter, the detective-protagonist that was the leading character so far, shares the spotlight with colleagues (Nash, Claire), FBI agents (Poole) and even the villain(s) themselves. By using that narrative technique, Barker succeeds in accelerating the pace with which the story unfolds and also adds to the gripping, hair-raising tension that permeates the whole novel. This trilogy must have the higher body count I've ever encountered so far in the genre and you have to take notes to remember all the victims that moreover are dispersed throughout the country, even though the central setting is the city of Chicago. The plot of this book is -perhaps- overly complex and maybe some of the readers will feel discouraged or even tempted to abandon reading, but I strongly recommend not to stop at any cost. All the pieces are falling into place in the finale, one of the most gratifying I've read in a long time. I won't even attempt to draft a synopsis of the plot and I will leave this special joy to the reader.
Of course, reading the "4MK Thriller" trilogy whetted my appetite for more and I'm considering reading another highly celebrated novel written by J.D. Barker, titled Dracul, who collaborated with Dacre Stoker the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, author of the iconic Dracula. I feel that this trilogy will be rendered as a classic of the crime fiction genre in the years to come. J. D. Barker proves that American crime writers are always a force to be reckoned with and also that they still can produce magnificent modern crime/thrillers reaching the quality of the classics like Chandler, Hammett, Mcdonald and the others. My, totally honest, 5-star rating concerns the trilogy as a whole, nevertheless, if I had to choose the best of the three books, I would favor The Sixth Wicked Child. It is a roller-coaster ride destined to daze and fascinate you.