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Jigsaw Man, The

Review by: 
Gord Rollo
Publication Date: 
Bottom Line: 

Michael Fox is a bum. He shares a dumpster with two other homeless guys near the train tracks in that part of town no one visits on purpose. He’s strung out, with little to live for. His wife and son died tragically in an auto accident, and his daughter blames him. Each day is a blur of drug-induced numbness or guilt-induced misery.

All that changes when a burly, well-dressed man steps out of a white stretch limo, with an offer too good to be true. Mike can earn two million dollars. All he has to give up is his right arm.

(I’ll try very hard not to give away any spoilers here.)

For a man on the verge of suicide, two million bucks is one hell of an incentive package. Heck, Mike’s not even right handed. He takes a couple hundred up front, parties like a rock star, and is ready, willing and able when the limo stops by to pick him up the next morning. Mike is ushered in style to a medical center, home to one of the world’s most brilliant surgeons, Dr. Nathan Marshall.

Dr. Marshall is generations ahead of modern science in the field of biology. His research is far outside the practices of other medical practitioners. The standard code of ethics is a roadblock to his work, so he conducts his practice privately, in a giant facility in remote Western New York. Mike learns that he’s not the only subject brought in for an experiment. He meets a few other donors-to-be, the corresponding left arm and legs to go along with his right arm. Dr. Marshall explains that his son was born with a rare disorder, and only this research will allow him to live a normal life.

Mike feels sympathetic, having lost his own family. Marshall continues to explain his plans, even revealing pieces of his research that prove he can reanimate human body parts. Something is just not quite right, and once Mike begins to dig a little deeper into the plans of the Doctor and his henchman, Drake, he finds out just how high the stakes really are.

Author Gord Rollo balances language and attitude to make Michael a likeable, if flawed, leading man. Drake is an absolute son-of-a-bitch who readers will love to hate. The supporting characters fill in their places nicely. The story is fantastically paced with just enough not quite right from the beginning. Rollo uses call back techniques like an experienced magician, with some sleight of hand that will have readers shaking their heads at what they missed the first time.

Once the story switches from curious to disturbing, things really accelerate. Reading the horrors that befall the hero is agonizing – like having paper cuts on each finger while peeling an onion. Fox suffers layer after layer of insanity-inducing agony. Rollo holds nothing back when describing the atrocities that Fox fights through. He piles on horror after horror, with no pumping the brakes, regardless of how many sleepless nights his readers will endure.

The e-Book format is available from Amazon and includes a bonus short story titled “A Simple Matter of Ethics.” The short story includes an interesting piece of fallout that fans of Jigsaw will certainly enjoy.


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