Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Review: Jigsaw Men

Some of the best stories are written when the author says to hell with everyone, I’m going to write what I want to write. There is no better example of this then Gary Greenwood’s Jigsaw Men. This novel takes a mish mash of different concepts and throws them all into a pot and begins to stir it up. A lesser chef or writer in this case would likely come out with some wretched slop not fit for a dog. However in capable hands such as Gary Greenwoods’ we are treated to one tasty jambalaya of a story.

I hate to give summaries of books when reviewing them so I’ll let the books jacket speak for itself:

In a world where Frankenstein succeeded… In a world where the Martians have invaded…In a world where the British Empire still exists… Detective Livingstone of the Metropolitan Police is assigned to the case of a missing girl, the daughter of a prominent MP. What seems to be a straightforward missing person case is soon complicated by the involvement of the underground porn industry, anti- Old World Order terrorists and a conspiracy to steal the Empire's most closely guarded secrets. Running through everything are the Jigsaw Men, the products of Frankenstein's Theorem.

On the surface this book appears to be a fairly straight forward whodunit/fantasy/science fiction/alternative history romp (if there is such a thing.) with all the trappings that make those genres great. We get tidbits of the alternative history which the writer conveys in such a way as that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief and buy into his world. We have the Jigsaw Men or Jiggers as the Brits call them fulfilling the fantasy quotient. Martian technology for the Sci-Fi. Lastly we have the classy dames and hard boiled detectives for the whodunit. What you discover as you go along though is that the novel is anything but straight forward.

While the book is an incredibly fun read with action, laughs and intrigue this book has so much depth to it. Each chapter unveils something new about the world and about the characters that inhabit it. The author slowly pulls back the curtain on his world’s history much to the readers delight. It never feels forced, rather just a natural progression within the context of the story. Ever so slowly in a slow dance of information seduction we are given a little more insight. Then some action. Then a little more insight. You think to yourself you’ve got it all figured out and then there’s a twist you never saw coming and you’re back wondering where the hell this story is going.

It’s a page turner in the truest sense of the word. The cliffhangers at the end of many chapters will force you to turn to the next page, and each page will keep you wanting more until you realized that you’ve finished the book. Upon that realization as I closed the book I thought to myself “damn that was a good story.”

In this review there were many comparisons to food and chefs so I’ll say this in closing. This book is like eating a good meal and being completely satisfied when you’re done.


After finishing this novella I had to go and scrounge up whatever I could about the author’s other works and was very happy to find that he had authored three other novels all of which I plan to pick up in the next couple months.

His other novels are:

-The Dreaming Pool

-The King Never Dies

-What Rough Beast

Books abound on my to read pile, and time is limited. However imaginative writing of this caliber deserves to skip a few spots in the Queue towards the top.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Harrison

    My wife sent me your review - glad you liked Jigsaw Men as I had a great time writing it! Hope the others are as enjoyable.