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The Jigsaw Man

Review

The Jigsaw Man

Debut author Nadine Matheson explodes onto the packed serial-killer thriller scene with a dynamite novel that grabs you from the first page. THE JIGSAW MAN involves an intricate pair of plots and a brilliant killer who has produced a copycat who is terrorizing London.

As a criminal defense attorney in London, Matheson is knowledgeable about this subject matter and understands the inner workings of the criminal justice system. It all begins with an ordinary man who makes a horrifying discovery as he walks his dog early one morning by the riverbank. He is still shaking when he takes a photo of the severed arm he has come across. Unfortunately for the local Serial Crimes Unit, this will not be the last body part that will be found in the days to come.

"Nadine Matheson is a brilliant new voice in a crowded genre. She has created such complex and multilayered characters on both sides of the law that I sincerely hope she plans to continue this series in new cases."

Detective Inspector Angelica Henley is called from desk duty by her boss, DSI Stephen Pellacia, and put at the forefront of this investigation. The body parts all resemble the case of the now-incarcerated Jigsaw Killer, Peter Olivier, whom she put away. This did come at a high price as Henley still suffers from PTSD and bears the physical scars that Olivier caused her with his knife that he used to carve up her midsection. She is now a wife and mother to a young girl, and her family is not at all happy about her stepping back into a case that resembles the one that nearly cost her her life and still haunts her every waking and sleeping moment.

Even though Olivier is behind bars, serving multiple life sentences, his shadow is all over this new case. Henley is also saddled with mentoring Ramouter, a trainee who is attached to the hip with her practically throughout the entire investigation. What a case to cut your teeth on! While forensics work on identifying the victims, Henley notices that this copycat killer operates a bit differently from the Jigsaw Killer, keeping mementos from each kill (tongues, ears, etc.).

As the body count grows and identifications are made, it is up to Henley and her SCU colleagues to try to find out a pattern or connection with the victims. The best place to start is by going to the source --- visiting with Olivier and pushing him for any details he may have as to the identity of the copycat killer. However, Olivier is a criminal genius who enjoys toying with law enforcement, especially Henley. There are a handful of scenes between them, and they drive the novel in much the same way as the Clarice Starling/Hannibal Lecter scenes were the heart of Thomas Harris’ THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

It seems that each passing page and chapter provides a new revelation. We learn that someone by the name of Chance Blaine had met with Olivier in prison. Henley and her team also make the important connection that the victims were members of the jury that convicted Olivier. Could he be pulling the strings from inside prison? If so, what role did Blaine play in that?

When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s front door, her husband and daughter take off with the ultimatum that it is them or the job. Then the worst possible thing imaginable happens when Olivier is taken to the hospital for what looks like a heart attack and brutalizes the entire team guarding him, paving the way for him to escape. Now, not only must Henley keep on the trail of the copycat, he also must watch carefully for the reappearance of her old nemesis, which we all know is inevitable. With both Olivier and his imitator now leaving new bodies for the SCU to uncover, we prepare for the anticipated showdown that will leave no one unscathed.

Nadine Matheson is a brilliant new voice in a crowded genre. She has created such complex and multilayered characters on both sides of the law that I sincerely hope she plans to continue this series in new cases. THE JIGSAW MAN most assuredly will be one of the most talked-about debuts of 2021, and thriller fans should not miss it.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on April 2, 2021

The Jigsaw Man
by Nadine Matheson

  • Publication Date: March 16, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Hanover Square Press
  • ISBN-10: 1335146563
  • ISBN-13: 9781335146564