What would you do if someone offered you a million dollars for your right arm?
Of course you would instinctively say no and think they're nuts. But if you stopped and considered the proposal and what you could do with all that money, it might not seem like such a bad idea. Especially if you're homeless, have no family (except a daughter who hates your guts), and are about to jump in front of a train.
This is the dilemma facing Michael Fox in Gord Rollo's engrossing first novel, The Jigsaw Man.
Since his wife and son were killed in a car accident, Fox has had nothing to live for, becoming a homeless drunk/drug addict. His daughter, who survived the car accident, wants nothing to do with him. So, one bleak day Fox decides he's worth more dead than alive, mails his insurance policy to his daughter and heads to the railway tracks.
While Fox is waiting for the next train to end his life, a man pulls up in a limo and offers him two million dollars for his right arm. Thinking of how much that money could do for his daughter, he accepts. Of course there's more to the offer than Fox is told.
Poor Michael Fox. I don't think I've ever felt as much empathy for a character as I did for him. During the course of the novel things keep getting progressively worse for him. I don't want to give anything away, but his life definitely would have been better living on the streets. And don't even get me started on Lucas and Red Beard. I'll admit I teared up a couple of times while reading.
The characters were very well-developed. As I already mentioned, I felt empathy for the hero and truly cared about him. And I hated the antagonists with a passion. I found myself grinding my teeth when I read about some of Drake and Dr. Marshall's atrocities.
The Jigsaw Man grabbed my interest immediately and held it for the length of book with its quick pace. Whenever I thought I knew what was coming next there would be another twist.
Although parts of the book require a huge suspension of disbelief, and you know nothing like that would ever happen, it's not a problem. Rollo's writing is so convincing that you'll believe even the craziest scenarios in the novel.
I loved this book and if you're a horror fan I'm sure you will too. It looks like I may have a new favourite author.