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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

This is apparently the first book in a series about Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley, but there’s something of a problem in that way too much time is spent talking about a crime she solved five years ago. This very much has the feeling of a second book in the series, and it certainly looks like there would have been plenty to cover telling the story of the original Jigsaw Man, rather than his copycat. Instead we got lots of vague hints and ‘telling’ about what happened back then, rather than the emotional gut punches Henley must have actually had to deal with.

I very much liked reading about Henley, and the author doesn’t shy away from the realism of the life of a Black female detective inspector with the Met: the casual misogyny and racism Henley and other colleagues have to deal with continually feels both painful and extremely realistic. The case itself is intriguing, the way Henley has to deal with the killer she put away to try and get answers about the copycat is chilling. But at the end, I was left a little disappointed that the copycat wasn’t really much of a villain.

I think I would have liked this a lot more if it was Book 2, with Book 1 having been the story of the original killings and Henley’s hunt to catch the Jigsaw Man. The ending left this open for another book featuring the same villain, which makes me think it should actually have been a trilogy, rather like Thomas Harris’ Hannibal series (yes I know that’s now 4 but it should have stopped at 3, in my opinion). Peter Olivier is a scary enough threat to carry through as the villain of a trilogy, with Henley as his nemesis. Maybe that’s the plan, but I do think this has started in the wrong place. I’ll give it 3 stars; the execution is pretty good but I was too frustrated by being ‘told’ all the backstory.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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