Review: Jigsaw Man by Elena Forbes

Monday 16 February 2015
Title: Jigsaw Man (DI Mark Tartaglia, #4)
Author: Elena Forbes
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 1st January 2015
Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781849163392
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
DI Mark Tartaglia spends a night in a west London hotel with a woman he has just met. When he is called out to the same hotel the next morning to investigate a murder, he realises it must have taken place while he was there. If things weren’t already complicated enough, the investigation takes a new and horrifying turn when he recognises the young female victim.

Still reeling from the shock, he learns that another case he has been investigating – the body of a homeless man found in a burnt-out car – is also not what it seems. Tests reveal that the corpse has been assembled from the body parts of four different people.

Under mounting pressure from the media and unsure where his loyalties lie, Tartaglia must solve this new macabre puzzle before the Jigsaw Killer strikes again.

I like to think that I know every crime fiction series set in London until every so often I find one lurking in the corner waiting to prove me wrong, and Elena Forbes's DI Mark Tartaglia series is that latest find. I was very excited to read Jigsaw Man after a rather intriguing blurb. I wasn't disappointed, and have definitely been left with the desire to go back and read the previous books in the series.

Blurb (not spoiler!) time: DI Mark Tartaglia has not long returned home from spending the night with a random woman in a West London hotel before his partner is at his door telling him the body of a woman has been found in one of the rooms. A little bit worried to say the least, but relieved that it cannot be his woman, Tartaglia arrives at the hotel and is thrown when he realises that he does in fact recognise the murdered woman lying on the hotel room bed. Not only that but another case he is working on has taken a bit of a sinister turn, the body found in a burnt-out car believed to be that of a homeless man, has in fact been assembled from the body parts of four different people.

I do like it when the author comes up with inventive, or different ways for their characters to be murdered or wind up dead, and the assembling of four different people before setting them alight in a car is something I personally haven't seen done before. Straightaway the police have their work cut out for them (no pun intended!), identifying each of the victims, which is nigh on impossible but until the puzzle is solved, the aptly named Jigsaw Killer could strike again. I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, with no idea who the killer could be, I was eager to find out how the four victims were connected and why they had been killed. The book moves at a nice pace, and this was a book that I read in just a few sittings. Jigsaw Man contains more than enough red herrings to keep the reader interested in both of the book's cases, both of the book's threads having satisfying conclusions. Tartaglia is certai kept busy during this book, as he and his old partner have a personal connection to the case of the murdered woman in the hotel, and there's definitely some interesting developments here.

Jigsaw Man can be read as a standalone, but given that a number of events in the book have a massive effect on the regular characters, I might have enjoyed the story more had I already known these characters, and felt a connection to them. I found myself thinking about some of my favourite crime fiction series, and imagining these events happening to those characters and my reaction then would definitely have been more extreme. That said, this is brilliant crime fiction and Elena Forbes engaged me as a reader very early on in the book, and I became a fan of the main characters very quickly and returning readers, familiar with the relationship between Tartaglia and his old partner will definitely be gripped by this part of the story. The cast of characters are brilliantly created, I say this a lot but it's hard for authors to create characters that are original and stand out, but Tartaglia, his ex-partner Sam Donovan, new partner Nick Minderedes and his boss Carolyn Steele definitely did for me.

For crime fans like me, yet to discover Elena Forbes, I definitely recommend that you do so right away.


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