Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson, a tension packed serial killer thriller which as the author’s debut packs one heck of a punch. Nadine Matheson is also appearing on the panel for First Monday Crime on 1st March over on the FMC Facebook page so make sure to tune. My thanks to publishers HQ for the advance copy for review, here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
There’s a serial killer on the loose.
When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.
The race is on before more bodies are found.
She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . .
Will it take a killer to catch the killer?
Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer?
If you like your serial killer thrillers a little on the gruesome side, then The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson may be just what you are looking for. Nothing in this book is unnecessarily gratuitous, with few exceptions we meet the victims after the fact, but the manner of death is without doubt macabre, and the implications of what is discovered by the police, somewhat unsettling. But it is thrilling and it is engrossing and this was a book that had me completely sucked in from the very beginning.
The book introduces readers to DI Anjelica Henley who has been on desk duties since she was viciously attacked whilst apprehending a suspect. Now this is one hell of a case to break her back into active duty as SIO, and one which triggers unwelcome memories bearing all the hallmarks of the case that nearly broke her. I liked Henley as a character. She is both tough and vulnerable, and as a black officer in the police, someone who is faced with a certain kind of prejudice. It is well balanced, a keen observation of how Henley is perceived and treated by people both as a woman and as a black officer, but it does not overly define her or the story. She makes mistakes, she is aware of her failings, but she is drive by a sense of justice. She’s an intriguing and authentically flawed character who I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more from.
This case is a complex and twisted one, with clear links to Henley’s last case but seemingly no logical way in which it can be. The perpetrator of those heinous crimes is behind bars, so it becomes a question of whether this could be a copycat or an accomplice. Henley’s greatest fear is in facing her attacker, the eponymous Jigsaw Killer, Peter Olivier, a character who is that special blend of charming and sinister. You can see the impact of his nature in the very early scenes in which we meet him, in the trust in which he is held in spite of his crimes and it is that which twists, grows and informs the direction of the story. He is definitely a character to be wary of, although there is also an almost sympathetic edge to the way in which he is portrayed. He is undoubtedly a cold blooded killer, but for the most part, there is a clinical nature to his behaviour which is almost understandable, if not forgivable.
In some ways this story reminds me of a couple of other books I had read before, which meant I had a fair idea of which direction the author was going to take the story, and a pretty good idea of who was behind the murders relatively early on. It didn’t mar my enjoyment of the story though and with a fast pace, an underlying and undulating tension and a real sense of jeopardy and threat throughout, I was glued to the pages as I powered through to the high stakes showdown. This was compelling read with characters I could both loathe and root for, as well as characters who left me completely exasperated. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from the author.
About the Author
Nadine Matheson was born and lives in London. She began her working life at the BBC and now practices as a criminal defence lawyer. In 2016, she won the City University Crime Writing Competition and completed the Creative Writing (Crime/Thriller Novels) MA at City University of London with Distinction in 2018.
About the Author
First Monday Crime is a regular monthly panel event featuring some of the top names in Crime fiction. This month the event takes place on 1st March at 19:30 over at the First Monday Crime Facebook Page. Featured this month are Nadine Matheson (The Jigsaw Man), Tim Glister (Red Corona), Abigail Dean (Girl A) and Femi Kayode (Lightseekers) all moderated by Leye Adenle.