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Nightmare Fuel: A Serial Killer Stalks One Man’s Dreams

A murderer once thought to be dead is very much alive in this thriller. 

the fifth to die excerpt
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  • Photo Credit: Erik Witsoe / Unsplash

The Four Monkey Killer is still on the loose. 

Known as the 4MK, the lead investigator tasked with catching him—Detective Sam Porter—thought the murderer terrorizing Chicago was dead. But no such relief has come. In The Fourth Monkey, the first book in this thrilling series, Porter was not only stabbed by the 4MK…but also let him get away. Four months later, still grieving over the death of his wife, Porter hasn’t given up his hunt for the 4MK—who they now know to be Anson Bishop.

Related: GIVEAWAY: Win Two Serial Killer Thriller Books by J.D. Barker 

the fifth to die excerpt
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  • Photo Credit: Joshua Fuller / Unsplash

But just because Porter’s back on the job doesn’t mean he’s back on the case. Pulled from the hunt for Bishop by the feds, he has something else to focus on: The body of missing girl Ella Reynolds has just been found beneath frozen waters…waters that have been frozen for months. But Ella has only been missing for three weeks. Even stranger, she’s wearing the clothes of a girl who’s only been missing for two days. 

As his partners Clair and Nash try and sort out the murders, Porter secretly continues his search for Bishop—hoping to put the 4MK to rest once and for all. He decides to track down Bishop’s mother, thinking this is the best way to find the murderer himself. But when he’s caught investigating a case from which he was strictly banned, he’s suspended. Not giving up on his obsession, his search takes him to the streets of New Orleans…and straight into the dark and depraved mind of a serial killer. 

Related: A Twisted Killer Haunts the City of Chicago from Beyond the Grave 

In the following excerpt, Bishop continues to haunt Porter’s dreams…only, he doesn’t know it yet. Both thrilling and disturbing, this book will haunt your nightmares, too. 

Read on for an excerpt of The Fifth to Die and then download the book. 




The Fifth to Die

By J.D. Barker


Day 1 • 8:23 p.m. 


It swirled around him deep and thick, eating the light and leaving nothing behind but an inky void. A fog choked his thoughts — the words tried to come together, tried to form a cohesive sentence, to find meaning, but the moment they seemed close, they were swallowed up and gone, replaced by a growing sense of dread, a feeling of heaviness — his body sinking into the murky depths of a long-forgotten body of water. 

Moist scent. 



Sam Porter wanted to open his eyes. 

Had to open his eyes. 

They fought him though, held tight. 

His head ached, throbbed. 

A pulsing pain behind his right ear — at his temple too. 

“Try not to move, Sam. Wouldn’t want you to get sick.” 

The voice was distant, muffled, familiar. 

Porter was lying down. 

Cold steel beneath the tips of his fingers.

He remembered the shot then. A needle at the base of his neck, a quick stab, cold liquid rushing under his skin into the muscle, then — 

Porter forced his eyes to open, the heavy lids fighting him. Dry, burning. 

He tried to rub them, his right hand reaching out only to be pulled back when the chain at his wrist went taut. 

His breath caught, and he forced himself to a sitting position, his head spinning as the blood rushed out. He almost fell back. 

“Whoa, easy, Sam. The etorphine will work out of your system quickly now that you’re awake. Just give it a minute.” 

A light blinked on, a bright halogen aimed squarely at his face. Porter squinted but refused to look away, his eyes fixed on the man beside the light, the dull, shadowed shape. 

the fifth to die excerpt
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  • Photo Credit: Sebastian Scheuer / Unsplash

“Bishop?” Porter barely recognized his own voice, the dry gravel of it. 

“How you been, Sam?” The shadow took a step to his right, turned over an empty five-gallon paint bucket, and sat. 

“Get that damn light out of my eyes.” 

Porter yanked at the chain on his wrist — the other end of the handcuffs rattled around a thick pipe — water, maybe gas. “What the fuck is this?” 

Anson Bishop reached over to the light and turned it slightly to the left. A shop light, mounted on some kind of stand. The light struck a cinder-block wall with a water heater in the far corner, an old washer and dryer along the far side. 


Porter tugged at the chain again. Bishop gave him a half smile and shrugged. The last time Porter saw him, his hair was dark brown and close cropped. It was longer now, and lighter, unruly. Three or four days of scruff marred his face. His business casual attire was gone, replaced by jeans and a dark gray hoodie. 

“You’re looking a little ratty,” Porter said. 

“Desperate times.” 

He couldn’t change his eyes, the coldness behind them. 

His eyes never changed

Bishop pulled a small spoon out of his back pocket, a grapefruit spoon, and twirled it absent-mindedly between his fingers, the serrated edge catching the light. 

Porter didn’t acknowledge the utensil. Instead, he looked down, tapping the metal beneath him with his index finger. “Is this the same kind of gurney you chained Emory to?” 

“More or less.” 

“Couldn’t find a cot?” 

“Cots break.” 

A dark red stain pooled out from under the gurney, a deep blemish on the filthy concrete floor. Porter didn’t ask about that. His fingers came away sticky after touching the underside of the metal. He didn’t ask about that, either. A few shelves lined the wall to his left, stacked full with random painting supplies — cans, brushes, tarps. The ceiling above was constructed of wood, two-by-six boards spaced about sixteen inches apart. Exposed electrical wiring, water pipes, and air ducts filled the space between. “This is a residential basement. Not a big house. Older, though. That pipe above your head is shielded in asbestos, so I wouldn’t recommend chewing on it. I’m guessing the place is abandoned, because your light there is plugged in to an extension cord running upstairs to . . . what, some kind of battery pack? Not a generator. We’d hear that. You didn’t bother with any of these plugs along the wall, so that tells me the power isn’t on in this place. It’s also cold as balls. I can see my breath, so the heat isn’t on. Again, that points to an abandoned house. Nobody wants to risk frozen pipes.” 

Bishop appeared pleased with this, a thin smile edging his lips. 

Porter continued. “Wall to wall, this house is fairly narrow. That suggests a shotgun home. Considering you wouldn’t want to be in one of the trendier neighborhoods where residents have Starbucks, the Internet, and tend to report known felons to the police on sight, I’d say you’re more likely to stick to the West Side. Maybe someplace like Wood Street. A lot of empty houses on Wood.” 

With his free hand, Porter reached for his gun under his thick coat but found only the empty holster. His cell phone was gone too. 

“Always the cop.”

Wood Street was a good fifteen-minute drive without traffic from his apartment on Wabash, and Porter had been a block from his house when he felt the stab at his neck. Of course, this was all a complete guess, but Porter wanted to keep Bishop talking. The more he talked, the less he thought about that spoon. 

The throbbing in Porter’s head settled behind his right eye. 

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Featured photo: Erik Witsoe / Unsplash