Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One of 2018’s most highly anticipated fall reads has to be author Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s novel Dracul. The book is the official prequel to the classic literary horror classic Dracula, written by Dacre Stoker’s great-granduncle Bram Stoker. Taking the concept first explored by Bram and showcasing how the legend of Dracula first began, the story puts the Stoker family in the role of protagonists and explores where the myth and legends truly came from. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen–a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen–and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

The Review

I will say it now: this is one of my 2018 picks for best book of the year. It was truly amazing to read, and was as engaging as the original novel written by Bram Stoker over a century ago. Capturing the gothic, Victorian era setting and interweaving history, mythology and handwritten notes from author Bram Stoker himself, the authors really did a wonderful job bringing the life of Bram Stoker and his family to life in a horror based setting.

Now while the world knows the works of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be a fiction horror tale, what fascinated me about Dracul was not only the amount of history and real life individuals mixed into the narrative, but learning about the creation of Dracula to begin with. Readers will be enthralled to learn the true manuscript first written by Bram Stoker was never meant to be a fictional tale, but through the words of Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s afterward we learn how the book came to be what we know today, and that large portions of the original novel have never been published before. How much of this horrific and scary tale are fiction as we know it, and how much is fact?

The writing itself was amazing. The story was written in an epistolary format, allowing us to delve into the minds of the Stoker family themselves, as well as associates of the family and historical records to match some of the claims. Fans of the original tale of Dracula will love the similarities and context given throughout this novel, while modern day horror fans and readers will be enthralled with the vast character development and parallels between the life of Bram Stoker (in the novel) and the stories told within his novel years later.

The Verdict

This is a must read book for 2018. As a history buff, classic horror fan and overall Bram Stoker enthusiast, this story really captured my attention from the beginning. From the author’s early years battling illness to the life or death battle with unknown forces he and his siblings undertook, this is the kind of story that comes along rarely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up the novel Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Dacre Stoker:

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Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.

Dacre, who now calls Aiken, South Carolina home, was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979 and coach of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team, Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Dacre is married to Jenne Stoker and is the father of two children. He is the Executive Director of the Aiken Land Conservancy.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

Dacre Stoker’s Links:

https://twitter.com/dacrestoker?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/DacreCStoker/

J.D. Barker:

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J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

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.

Never.

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.

jd

J.D. Barker’s Links:

http://jdbarker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

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The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller #2) by J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today is a special treat my friends. I was recently sent an advanced copy of the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite thrillers in the last few years, The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. This time around the author has published The Fifth To Die, a thrilling ride that explores the continuing hunt for the deadly 4MK. Here’s the synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

This book was incredible. Of course as with all my reviews this will be a spoiler-free review. However I can honestly say that author J.D. Barker has mastered how to write the perfect sequel, upping his game greatly to create an even more intense, thrilling and engaging story than The Fourth Monkey. Delving deeper into the killer’s past, Detective Porter finds himself drawn into the twisted world of 4MK in ways no one can ever imagine, unless of course you’re J.D. Barker.

The way the story takes readers into the minds of everyone involved in the case, from new investigators and the team you came to know and love in the first novel to the killer himself and the newest victims who have to face the very heart of darkness and evil alone. It’s a powerful and explosive story from the first page, showing the way everyone was affected by 4MK’s surprising actions in the first novel and how just when you thought you knew the limits of this killer, he takes things so much further. By the end of the story your heart will be racing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath because you got so enraptured with the twist ending that you forgot to breath.

Overall I loved this story. It was so fun and thrilling to take part in, and the entire time I was reading it I kept asking myself when someone is going to make a movie or show about this story. The tale of 4MK and those hunting him is the modern day serial killer story we’ve been waiting for, and makes for the perfect summer thriller read. In J.D. Barker we’ve found a spiritual successor to the incredible Stephen King, taking the characters of the everyday man and transforming their lives into one of a kind adventures and thrill rides that only these one of a kind authors could come up with. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, be sure to do so now. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker comes out July 10th, 2018, so grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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ABOUT J.D.

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Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public. The novel, titled Dracul, sold at auction to G.P. Putnam & Sons, with film rights going to Paramount. Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) is attached to direct.

Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

http://facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

http://jdbarker.com/

Dracula Prequel To Be Adapted 

Some fun and exciting book news from author J.D. Barker:
Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to Dracul, the first prequel authorized by the estate of Bram Stoker. The film will be developed as potential directing vehicle down the line for Andy Muschietti, teamed with It producers Barbara Muschietti and Roy Lee.
Written by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, the tale is set in 1868, where a 21-year old Bram Stoker meets with an ungodly evil, which he traps in an ancient tower all the while scribbling the events that led him there. The monster origin tale just went to Putnam’s Mark Tavani in a 5-house auction brokered by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency. The UK rights for Dracul were bought by Simon Taylor of Transworld and to Michel Lafon France in a pre-empt.
The film deal was brokered by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company Inc. and attorney Wayne Alexander. Paramount executive, Vanessa Joyce brought in the project and will oversee the development with Miri Yoon of Vertigo Entertainment.

“I can’t imagine a better team to tell this story.”

– J.D. Barker

THE FOURTH MONKEY SALE!

Hey there readers!
I have gotten word from author J.D. Barker’s team that his book, The Fourth Monkey, will be selling the eBOOK version on Amazon for $1.99 from now until August 31st. Be sure to get your copies now while this stellar novel is marked down, and if you are able be sure to leave a review for it as well. Stay tuned for upcoming movie news for The Fourth Monkey soon!

Blog Tour: J.D. Barker’s The Fourth Monkey

Hello there everyone! It is my honor to be able to bring to you J.D. Barker’s The Fourth Monkey! I have the pleasure of being the first stop on his
official blog tour, and so I wanted to share some thoughts on the book, as well as some fun competitions, photos, and exciting news! First,
check out an excerpt from my official review of The Fourth Monkey!33154920

I have to say it: this is by far the best book I’ve read thus far in 2017. There have been nothing but great reads this year, but the way this
book is written and brought to life is truly awe inspiring. The story of the Four Monkey Killer, or 4MK, is one of the most brilliant character
developments in a story this year. Not only are readers taken on a journey to find the killer’s last victim, but they are given a rare,
disturbing yet addicting to read look into the personal mind of the killer, learning about what made this individual become a killer in the
first place.

Be sure to read the full review here: https://authoranthonyavinablog.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/the-fourth-monkey-by-j-d-barker-review/

Also be sure to check out my video review of the book on my YouTube channel, Avina Vlogs: https://youtu.be/JDfGdp3xQoU

I am also really excited to be able to share a couple of competitions for you guys. The first is a chance to win one of three paperback copies
of the book. The other is to win a chance to become a character in an upcoming book. Check out the links below to learn more!

Link to a competition where a reader can win one of 3 paperback copies of the book: http://jdbarker.com/fourth-monkey-contest-win-draft-copy-upcoming-novel-4mk/
and
Link to a competition where someone will win and get the chance to be a character in an upcoming book!: http://jdbarker.com/be-a-character-in-next-book/

The Fourth Monkey Cover - UK Edition JD Barker

If you enjoyed the review and want to pre-order or pick up your copies of the book, check out this page to get your copies in either Hardback or
eBook formats:

http://jdbarker.com/fourth-monkey-coming-june-2017/

And finally for some exciting news! J.D. Barker has sold the publishing rights for The Fourth Monkey in the US and other countries, and also has
a movie deal! Learn more about the exciting project with CBS Films by going to this page:

http://jdbarker.com/fourth-monkey-heading-screen/

Be sure to follow the author himself at the links listed below on social media:

Links to J.D Barker’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker/

Link to J.D. Barker’s Twitter page: https://mobile.twitter.com/J_D_Barker @J_D_Barker

Link to J.D. Barker’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/jdbarker

Be sure to share this post online and use the hashtag #4MK to get this book trending online!

Here’s a little bit about the author:

JD Barker At Work photo

About 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.

Never.

Read the rest here:

http://jdbarker.com/aboutjd/

JD Barker Photo 2

Thank you guys for joining me in celebrating this incredible book. I hope you will check it out for yourselves and share it online. This is one
of the most exciting reads for this blogger in 2017, and I think you guys are really going to enjoy delving into the twisted world of #4MK and
author J.D. Barker’s brilliant mind. Thanks to author Booklover Catlady Publicity for organizing this blog tour. I wish you much success with the release of
The Fourth Monkey and I look forward to reading and reviewing your future books.

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker Review

I received an ARC copy of this novel. All opinions are my own and my review of it is unbiased.

The next great serial killer is born in J.D. Barker’s The Fourth Monkey, a brand new thriller that focuses on the hunt for a killer in the city of Chicago. Here is the official synopsis:

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

I have to say it: this is by far the best book I’ve read thus far in 2017. There have been nothing but great reads this year, but the way this book is written and brought to life is truly awe inspiring. The story of the Four Monkey Killer, or 4MK, is one of the most brilliant character developments in a story this year. Not only are readers taken on a journey to find the killer’s last victim, but they are given a rare, disturbing yet addicting to read look into the personal mind of the killer, learning about what made this individual become a killer in the first place. Seamlessly navigating back and forth between the investigators on the case and their lives, and the personal diary of a serial killer, this novel immediately captures the readers minds in just a few pages and is relentless in its dive into the macabre world of 4MK.

Written with a voice that commands the readers attention and artfully showcases the twisted, tormented journey of all parties involved, from the investigators chasing a killer, to the victims of the killer, to the dark life of a serial killer, this is a story that brings a fresh new take to the serial killer/thriller genre. As the reader delves into this story, they will learn the twisted mission the killer had, and why the killer chose the victims that they chose. Soon the reader will ask themselves if anyone is truly “innocent” in this story, and a shocking twist will leave both the characters and the readers hanging on the edge of their seats, breathless as they eagerly wait for the answers to be revealed.

Overall, this is a must read thriller that you guys will not want to miss. With this story, author J.D. Barker cements himself as the newest voice of the thriller genre, and is definitely an author you will want to watch in the years to come. I give this book a 10/10 rating, and highly recommend you purchase your copies now. The book, The Fourth Monkey, is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 27th, 2017.
Be sure to get your copies and follow the author at his official websites listed down below! Remember to use the official hashtag, #4MK on your social media posts as well. Let’s help get this book the buzz it so heavily deserves.

As a special note, I wanted to let you guys know that I will be kicking off J.D. Barker’s blog tour for The Fourth Monkey on Friday, June 16th, 2017. I will be posting the links to both this review and my video review, as well as links to interviews with the author, some exciting news about the book, a special competition to win the book and of course the link to pre-order the book once more. Be sure to look out for this exciting blog tour in a few weeks. #4MK

J.D Barker’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker/

J.D. Barker’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/jdbarker

J.D. Barker’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/jdbarker

http://jdbarker.com/aboutjd/