EXCERPT: Tray didn’t see her at first, the girl kneeling at the water’s edge, facing away. Long, blonde hair trailing down her back. She looked like one of the statues, unmoving, facing the pond like that. Her skin was so pale, nearly white, almost as colourless as her white dress. She wore no shoes on her bare feet, no coat, only the white dress made of a material so thin it was nearly translucent. Her hands were clasped together near her breasts as if lost in prayer, her head tilted to one side.
Tray didn’t speak, but drew closer. Close enough to realise the thin layer of snow that covered everything else covered this girl too. And when she circled around to her side, she realised it wasn’t a girl at all but a woman. The stark whiteness of her, every inch of her, was broken by the thin line of red stretching from under her hair down the side of her face. There was another line from the side of her left eye, a stream of red tears, and yet a third from the corner of her mouth – this one painting her lips the brightest rose.
Something was written on her forehead.
Wait, not written.
At her knees, sitting in the snow, was a silver serving tray. The kind you might find at a fancy dinner party, a high priced restaurant, the sort of place Tray already knew, even at fourteen, she’d never see outside of television or the movies.
On that tray were three small white boxes. Each sealed tight with black string.
Behind the boxes, propped up against the woman’s chest, was a cardboard sign not unlike the ones Tray had held to raise money for food. Only she had never used these three particular words before. The sign simply read:
FATHER, FORGIVE ME.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the riveting conclusion of the 4MK trilogy, Barker takes the thriller to an entirely new level. Don’t miss a single word of the series James Patterson called “ingenious.”
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
MY THOUGHTS: My head is still spinning more than twenty four hours after finishing this book! Barker led me down the garden path, chewed me up and spat me out! And not just once….
Warning: if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, The Fourth Monkey and Fifth to Die, don’t start with this, the final part of the trilogy. You need to read all of them, in order. And if it is some time since you read the first two, I recommend a refresher…which is what I should have done, and didn’t.
I struggled at times to remember who was who and whom had done what from the earlier books. And although I loved this book, it would have been a far easier read had I done that recap.
This is not a simple story. It is riveting, compelling and convoluted. I was sure of no one. There is much conflicting evidence and stories. The twists and turns are masterful. I vaguely recall a story from my childhood about a snake that ate itself by swallowing its own tail. There are parallels.
This is a series that deserves a binge read. I plan on taking it on my next holiday and doing it justice. And I am quite sure that once I have finished, I will be rerating The Sixth Wicked Child to the full five (or more) stars it richly deserves. The fault is all mine.
THE AUTHOR: J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of numerous novels, including FORSAKEN and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest novel, DRACUL, co-authored with Dacre Stoker, released October 2018. His next novel, THE SIXTH WICKED CHILD, releases in August. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His novels have been translated into two dozen languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.
A note from J.D.
As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.
I would never go down to the basement.
I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.
Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.
I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hampton Creek Press (IBPA) via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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