January 29, 2021

Book Review

The Jigsaw Man

Nadine Matheson

reviewed by Chelsea Hofmann

In her gruesome debut, The Jigsaw Man, Nadine Matheson has readers chasing down a horrific serial killer through the streets of London.

Inspector Anjelica Henley is pulled from her desk assignment to the field when dismembered body parts from multiple victims start showing up near the river. Immediately, Henley connects the specific method of dismemberment to a previous case, Peter Oliver, the Jigsaw Killer. Henley was the one who put him away for life, but now he is either somehow performing these crimes from prison or has a copycat.

Peter Oliver is the reason Henley is currently working a desk job. He is a psychotic killer that went on a rampage, killing seven people before stabbing Henley and narrowly being apprehended. Oliver does not believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, however, and is enraged by someone killing in his name and using his exact method. He doesn’t need an apprentice, and decides to take matters into his own hands to be sure the imitator is stopped.

The Jigsaw Man feels like the second book in a series, because the writing flows well and Henley has a rich backstory. It’s almost like this book picks up where another book left off, and I really enjoyed that aspect of Matheson’s writing. Each of the main characters has a unique personality and life story that helps you understand and connect with them. I couldn’t help but feel the emotions of the characters and suffer right along with them.

This book is pretty macabre and has the characteristics of a classic police procedural. The reader follows Henley into the crime squad and learns about the case at the same time she does. The relationship between Oliver and Henley reminded me of Silence of the Lambs and made my skin crawl in the best way. It has all the best aspects of a serial killer book, but is not for those with a weak stomach. The reader is transported to the mind of a killer, and taken on a twisted journey.

The balance between procedure and personal story is just right. Henley is a strong character but has her flaws as well. The ending was left open in a nontraditional way that I felt worked for the book and this specific story. It makes the reader think of all the possibilities that the future could hold for Inspector Anjelica Henley and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.

Thank you to Hanover Square Press and Nadine Mathison for my ARC of this book. Opinions are my own. Jigsaw Man comes out on March 16, 2021

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