Review of THE RIGHT SIDE OF RECKLESS by Whitney D. Grandison

This is the well-known story of bad guy meets a good girl and they are attracted to each other. Guillermo has just gotten out of juvie and is on probation, complete with community service. He is doing this service at the place where Regan’s mom is a manager. Regan never makes bad choices and Guillermo’s life seems to be one bad choice after another. I enjoyed the characterization and thought that it was well done. The plot, however, just did not do it for me. I knew from the beginning what was going to happen, so I didn’t mind not having surprises as I read. What I did mind is that the story seemed to drag at times. Regan couldn’t make up her mind about breaking up with her current boyfriend in order to follow her attraction to Guillermo. And Guillermo was almost timid in approaching her since he was avoiding trouble at all costs. I thought the storyline worked, but the slow pace made it hard for me to really get into the story and enjoy it as I had expected I would. This is light romance, targeted to a young adult audience.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this a PG-13 due to content. Touted as a book for Young Adults, it may not be appropriate for all teen readers.
About the author:Whitney is dedicated to telling stories about teens of color and teens in difficult but relatable situations. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Outside of writing, she is a lover of Korean dramas, all things John Hughes, and horror films. Whitney currently lives in Akron, Ohio. She is the author of A Love Hate Thing and The Right Side of Reckless. Visit Whitney’s website and follow her on Twitter @whitney_dg and Instagram @wheadee.

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Fresh off the plane and I was already making trouble.

    The security guard was staring at me like I was some type of criminal. He stood across from us as we came out of the gate into the terminal at the Akron-Canton Airport, and as soon as he caught eye contact with me, his brows pushed down and knitted together. His hand breezed over the Taser gun on his utility belt, while he stuck out his broad chest.

    Sizing him up, I knew I could take him. He wasn’t that big. But with the way my mother was looking at me, I knew it was better to ignore him.

    He probably thought I was trouble. I was trouble…at least, I was before.

    “Keep walking, Memo,” my father said, shoving his carryon bag into my spine.

    I stole a final glance at the security guard. He was still glaring at me.


    Like the diligent son I was now trying to be, I obeyed my father and kept moving, catching my younger sister, Yesenia, shrinking beside me.

    Jostling through the airport, we made our way to the baggage claim, gathered our bags, and prepared to leave. Upon heading toward the exit, I was surprised to see Mr. Security Guard by the door. The glare was still on his face, but this time, he was shooting his dark steely gaze at some other guy.

    Guess it isn’t just me. For once.

    I was used to this type of judgment.

    The car service my father had arranged was waiting outside. Our driver was standing in front of a Honda Pilot, holding up a sign with our last name stamped on it.

    My father quickly introduced our family before helping the man stow our luggage in the vehicle. At my attempt to help, my father shooed me away.

    Having no choice, I handed him my bag, and then I got in the middle row beside my mother and sister.

    “It’s going to be okay, Memo, don’t worry.” Yesenia reached out and squeezed my hand gently.

    I averted my gaze out the window, not seeing things her way.

    “You should listen to your sister, she’s right,” my mother said.

    Once the driver and my father finished packing the trunk, the driver took the wheel while my father sat in the passenger seat.

    As soon as we were on the road, my father faced me with a serious look. “We’re back now, Guillermo, and things aren’t going to be like before. Understand?”

    “It won’t happen again,” I said.

    My father grimaced, as if he doubted me. With my mass of screwups, I didn’t blame him. “Don’t forget to call your probation officer first thing in the morning.” He spoke with bitter disappointment laced in every word. “Remember, if you mess this up, it’s back to jail for you.”

    I gritted my teeth. Back to juvie? Fuck that. “I know.”

    Two weeks in Mexico and nothing had changed.

    They still hadn’t forgiven me for what happened back in March. Hadn’t even mentioned it to the relatives we’d just visited. I couldn’t blame them. Unlike the times before, I had fucked up royally.

    I stared outside for the remainder of the drive. Summer had slipped away while I was locked up. Now fall was here, a new season, a new beginning. It was seven fifteen at night, the sky above us a reddish orange as the sun sank lower on the horizon. Soon, the leaves on the trees would match.

    We got off the highway and began to pass closing businesses as streetlights flickered on. I watched all this, trying to feel a sense of rebirth. A piece of optimism.

    It didn’t come.

    While I was…away, my parents had packed up our house and sold it. They had purchased a new place on the east side of Akron and made it clear we were moving on from the past up north.

    Less than thirty minutes later, the driver pulled in to a subdivision called Briar Pointe. A subdivision, as in row upon row of houses that looked exactly alike, as in too bland and boring, unlike the neighborhood we’d lived in before.

    A late-night jogger breezed by, her blond ponytail swishing behind her, and I raised a brow. Where we’d come from wasn’t exactly dangerous, but nobody ran, especially at night.

    The driver came to a stop in front of a medium-size two-story house complete with an attached two-car garage. I gazed at my new home. It was my clean slate, my second chance— or more like my last.

    We all vacated the car and grabbed our bags from the trunk.

    My mother gathered the house keys and took the lead to the front door with Yesenia and me behind her. My father tipped the driver, and the man drove off.

    After I got home from juvie, and before our sudden trip to Mexico, my family and I had only begun unpacking here. Now it was almost the second week of September, and Yesenia and I had missed the first week of school.

    After spending spring in and out of court and a lovely ninety-day stay at a detention center, where I’d caught up on all the schoolwork I’d missed, I would be serving my probation in a new part of the city with a fresh start. However, it was beginning to appear as though there was no moving forward as far as my parents were concerned.

    They no longer looked at me as their son, but as a petty criminal and a burden.

    And given that in the morning I would meet with my parole officer, I couldn’t blame them. I was newly seventeen and already the Patron Saint of Fuckups who couldn’t be trusted, as far as they knew.

    “Guillermo.” My father spoke softly behind me as we entered the house and Yesenia and my mother disappeared down the foyer around a corner.

    I didn’t face him. There were only so many times I could see that look in his eyes. “Yes?”

    “In the garage, now.”

    I turned and found him already making his way to the door that led into the garage. Each step I took after him felt heavier than the first, my anxiety causing sweat to bead down my back.

    Inside the garage, my father stood back, waiting for me.

    I barely glanced at him before my gaze landed on the two vehicles. One, my mother’s silver Acura, and the other, a dark blue Charger. The shiny, vibrant paint made its beauty stand out.

    My father cleared his throat. “Matt knew a guy who could restore it, and it took some bargainin’, but it’s yours.”

    Another glance from him to the car, and I realized what this was and what this meant. Back in the day, when my father’s brother, my tío Mateo, still lived in Akron, he used to keep this beat-up old Charger in his driveway. Tía Jacki used to complain about it, but Mateo wouldn’t part with it, swore it was a project in the making. Whenever I was bored, I’d climb in behind the wheel and pretend to drive it, pretend I owned the road, pretend to be as cool as Tío Matt.

    Fast forward to today, and gone were those rust-stained doors, replaced with a solid body and fresh paint. Even the inside was new. I leaned over to gape through the passenger window. The black seating and updated system had me grinning like a fool.

    Tío Mateo lived in Columbus now, but the gesture wasn’t missed. I faced my father, my smile instantly slipping away at the sight of his stoic face. “Thank you, both of you.”

    My father gave me a stiff nod. “I just don’t want to be responsible for driving you around. Keys are on the hook by the door.”

    During the whole ordeal, my mother had attempted sympathy, but not once had my father offered any. The moment I was released from juvie, they shielded Yesenia from me and started keepin’ a close eye on us, as if my bad seed would catch on.

    “I shouldn’t have to reiterate that this is a new start. You will not be in contact with any of your old friends. Especially that girl,” my father ordered. “You will go to school, complete your required community service, meet with your probation officer, and stay out of trouble. Do you hear me?”

    My fists balled at my sides. “Yes, sir.”

    “And…” He paused, as if thinking of more things to add to his list of demands. “Get a haircut.”

    To this I didn’t reply. He’d been after the length of my hair since freshman year. Now that I was a junior, you’d think he’d let it go. I would admit, my wavy hair combined with my facial hair did make me look rough around the edges. The judge had taken one look at me and scowled. No wonder that security guard at the airport had kept his eye on me.

    “Your mother’s going to order some food. Go put away your bag and come down,” my father said.

    Dinner with my family was often eaten in loud silence.

    I would pass.

    “I’m not hungry,” I told him.

    He didn’t fight me on it as he went to join my mother and sister.

    Home sweet home.

    With a heavy sigh, I raked a hand through my chin-length hair and headed up to my room. I was out, I was somewhere new, and I had a car. I couldn’t fuck up, not again. Hearing my mom up one night crying—that had hung heavy on my heart for weeks.

    This move was my chance to prove that I could evolve. 

There were no ifs, ands, or maybes. I was going to do better.

Excerpted from The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison, Copyright © 2021 by Whitney Grandison. Published by Inkyard Press.

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Many thanks to Inkyard Press for the ARC to read and review. Happy Reading!

Review of NEVER MISS by Melissa Koslin

This book was good romantic suspense, with the emphasis on suspense at the beginning. The story is about Kadance Tolle, a former CIA sniper who is being pursued by assassins herself and ends up saving the life of geeky Lyndon Vaile, a researcher with three doctorates. Lyndon’s life is in danger from someone called the Mastermind who is pursuing him for his knowledge of Ebola. Once she saves his life, Kadance seems to become his new rear guard, whether he wants one or not and follows him from place to place as he tries to find out more about a plot to use a bio-weapon in the U.S. capital. The entire plot was other-worldly to me because many parts of it were far-fetched. The fact that a scientist is being targeted by criminals was believable, but there were many unbelievable elements that made it hard for me to really like the storyline. That being said, the book was a good one, fast-paced with short chapters. I was definitely disappointed with the lack of a faith element. Neither Lyndon nor Kadance state their beliefs in God, nor do they seem to depend on Him much for protection. I am accustomed to prayers or appeals to God in the Christian fiction that I read and this just was not there. There are even some aspects that seemed non-Christian, like Lyndon cursing for no apparent reason when he is in a thinking trance. The words are not there, but the book says he cursed, so it is left up to the reader’s imagination. I just didn’t like that in Christian fiction. Also, the simmering attraction between the two was a little heated at times, more than what I am accustomed to in Christian fiction. Since there was no real detail about the faith of the two main characters, I could have read this book from a different publisher and not known that it is supposed to be Christian fiction. The good news is that most of it is a clean read, intense at times, sometimes intriguing. At times, it was terrifying, like I was on a roller coaster hurtling down the slope and then I was going uphill again and all was relatively calm for a few pages. The ending was not at all satisfying since the book just seemed to rush to a conclusion after building up the suspense. If I had to rate this book in the Christian category, I would give it a D or even an F. For romance, a C and for suspense a B. So, although this book did not touch me in all of the right places for me to want to pick it up and read it again, it was basically good entertainment, but not a book that I can highly recommend. I must add that my favorite character was Mac the Maine Coon Cat who was intuitive, smart and just plain fun!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This is mostly a clean Christian fiction but there is no mention of the faith of the main characters.
Photo and information from the author’s website at

About Melissa Koslin

Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. She and Corey, her husband of twenty years, live in Florida, where they do their best not to melt in the sun. Bio from the author’s Amazon web page

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Many thanks to Revell for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Review of JUST MY LUCK by Adele Parks

Having read a previous book by this author, I really looked forward to this one. Although the characterization is brilliant, the plot is rather predictable and blah at points. Lexi and Jake win a lottery worth over seventeen million pounds and their lives begin to change almost immediately. The first problem is with their long-term friends who have always played the lottery with them. However, this last time, when they won, the friends had argued and backed out of playing. Now, though, of course, they want a share, saying that Lexi and Jake are lying about them leaving the “syndicate.” I think that the saddest part of how the money affected the family was how greedy Jake and teen Emily were. They couldn’t spend the money fast enough, and I was very disappointed that Lexi did nothing to try to halt their erratic behavior. I did like the sub-plot about Toma, an immigrant down on his luck and a tragic victim of an unscrupulous landlord. Since Lexi’s job is helping people like Toma, she wants to be more practical and do some good with some of the winnings. She also wants to continue to live their regular lives, with a few luxuries, but she seems totally unable to stop the train wreck that is Jake’s spending money way too fast and not keeping an account of it all. There is a big twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but for the most part the story is unsurprising. With themes of greed, envy and broken relationships, this is not an uplifting book, but it is perhaps one that can teach a lesson about what to do if you happen to receive a windfall.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I would rate this book PG because of the theme and content.

What other book reviewers are saying about this book:

About the author:

Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her In. Just My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages.

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Chapter 1

Saturday, April 20

I can’t face going straight home to Jake. I’m not ready to deal with this. I need to try to process it first. But how? Where do I start? I have no idea. The blankness in my mind terrifies me.

I always know what to do. I always have a solution, a way of tackling something, giving it a happy spin. I’m Lexi Greenwood, the woman everyone knows of as the fixer, the smiler—some might even slightly snidely call me a do-gooder. Lexi Greenwood, wife, mother, friend.

You think you know someone. But you don’t know anyone, not really. You never can.

I need a drink. I drive to our local. Sod it, I’ll leave the car at the pub and walk home, pick it up in the morning. I order a glass of red wine, a large one, and then I look for a seat tucked away in the corner where I can down my drink alone. It’s Easter weekend, and a rare hot one. The place is packed. As I thread  my way through the heaving bar, a number of neighbors raise a glass, gesturing to me to join them; they ask after the kids and Jake. Everyone else in the pub seems celebratory, buoyant. I feel detached. Lost. That’s the thing about living in a small village—you recognize everyone. Sometimes that reassures me, sometimes it’s inconvenient. I politely and apologetically deflect their friendly overtures and continue in my search for a solitary spot. Saturday vibes are all around me, but I feel nothing other than stunned, stressed, isolated.

You think you know someone.

What does this mean for our group? Our frimily. Friends that are like family. What a joke. Blatantly, we’re not friends anymore. I’ve been trying to hide from the facts for some time, hoping there was a misunderstanding, an explanation; nothing can explain away this.

I told Jake I’d only be a short while, and I should text him to say I’ll be longer. I reach for my phone and realize in my haste to leave the house I haven’t brought it with me. Jake will be wondering where I am. I don’t care. I down my wine. The acidity hits my throat, a shock and a relief at once. Then I go to the bar to order a second.

The local pub is only a ten-minute walk away from our home, but by the time I attempt the walk back, the red wine has taken effect. Unfortunately, I am feeling the sort of drunk that nurtures paranoia and fury rather than a light head or heart. What can I do to right this wrong? I have to do something. I can’t carry on as normal, pretending I know nothing of it. Can I?

As I approach home, I see Jake at the window, peering out. I barely recognize him. He looks taut, tense. On spotting me, he runs to fling open the front door. 

“Lexi, Lexi, quickly come in here,” he hiss-whispers, clearly agitated. “Where have you been? Why didn’t you take your phone? I’ve been calling you. I needed to get hold of you.”

What now? My first thoughts turn to our son. “Is it Logan? Has he hurt himself?” I ask anxiously. As I’m already teetering on the edge, my head quickly goes to a dark place. Split skulls, broken bones. A dash to the hospital isn’t unheard-of. Thirteen-year-old Logan has daredevil tendencies and the sort of mentality that thinks shimmying down a drainpipe is a reasonable way to exit his bedroom in order to go outside and kick a football about. My fifteen-year-old daughter, Emily, rarely causes me a moment’s concern.

“No, no, he’s fine. Both the kids are in their rooms. It’s… Look, come inside, I can’t tell you out here.” Jake is practically bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. I can’t read him. My head is too fuzzy with wine and full of rage and disgust. I resent Jake for causing more drama, although he has no idea what shit I’m dealing with. I’ve never seen him quite this way before. If I touched him, I might get an electric shock; he oozes a dangerous energy. I follow my husband into the house. He is hurrying, urging me to speed up. I slow down, deliberately obtuse. In the hallway he turns to me, takes a deep breath, runs his hands through his hair but won’t—can’t—meet my eyes. For a crazy moment I think he is about to confess to having an affair. “Okay, just tell me, did you buy a lottery ticket this week?” he asks.

“Yes.” I have bought a lottery ticket every week for the last fifteen years. Despite all the bother last week, I have stuck to my habit.

Jake takes in another deep breath, sucking all the oxygen from the hallway. “Okay, and did you—” He breaks off, finally drags his eyes to meet mine. I’m not sure what I see in his gaze, an almost painful longing, fear and panic. Yet at the same time there is hope there, too. “Did you pick the usual numbers?”


His jaw is still set tight. “You have the ticket?”


“You’re sure?” 

“Yes, it’s pinned on the noticeboard in the kitchen. Why? What’s going on?”

“Fuck.” Jake lets out a breath that has the power of a storm. He falls back against the hall wall for a second, and then he rallies, grabs my hand and pulls me into the room that was designed to be a dining room but has ended up being a sort of study slash dumping ground. A place where the children sometimes do their homework, where I tackle paying the household bills, and where towering piles of ironing, punctured footballs and old trainers hide out. Jake sits down in front of the computer and starts to quickly open various tabs.

“I wasn’t sure that we even had a ticket, but when you were late back and the film I was watching had finished, I couldn’t resist checking. I don’t know why. Habit, I suppose. And look.”

“What?” I can’t quite work out what he’s on about. It might be the wine, or it might be because my head is still full of betrayal and deceit, but I can’t seem to climb into his moment. I turn to the screen. The lottery website. Brash and loud. A clash of bright colors and fonts.

The numbers glare at me from the computer—1, 8, 20, 29, 49, 58. Numbers I am so familiar with, yet they seem peculiar and unbelievable.

“I don’t understand. Is this a joke?”

“No, Lexi. No! It’s for real. We’ve only gone and won the bloody lottery!”

Excerpted from Just My Luck by Adele Parks, Copyright © 2021 by Adele Parks.

Published by MIRA Books

Review of THE JIGSAW MAN by Nadine Matheson

First of all, this was a debut novel and I could tell because of its length and the slow pace at the beginning. Fortunately, the pace picked up as the mystery evolved and more bodies appeared, but I was almost ready to quit reading at some points. The main characters are interesting and add to the story line because of their own personal quirks and backstories. Inspector Anjelica Henley is married and goes into the field to solve multiple murders while her husband Rob is a stay-at-home dad. Her trainee, Ramouter, was the most engaging character to me because he was intuitive and sensitive to Henley’s mood swings and needs. The plot revolves around a copycat serial killer who leaves body parts along the Thames River, much like the imprisoned Olivier had done. There is a backstory to Henley and Olivier and that plays a large part in the story but it isn’t introduced until well along in the plot. This book is a police procedural and a crime thriller. I must say that the gory crime scenes were absolutely revolting at times, again a reason that I almost put the book aside. There were, in fact, some scenes that I skipped over because of the gruesome descriptions which were just too awful to read. I enjoyed parts of the book and may read the second in the series, but I wish the book were shorter and think that it could have been without all of the unnecessary gory descriptions and extra plot twists that seemed to circle back on each other.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This book includes gruesome, gritty content so I would rate it a definite M for mature audiences. I would also like my readers to know that parts of the book were entertaining because of the police procedural content but other parts were like reading an autopsy report.

Nadine Matheson is a criminal defense attorney and winner of the City University Crime Writing competition. She lives in London, UK.

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Chapter Two

‘How long have we got until the tide comes in?’ Henley was facing the river watching the small waves crashing against the derelict pier. She checked her watch. Nearly two hours had passed since the first 999 call.

‘I checked online, and high tide is at 9.55 a.m.’ Ramouter replied as he stepped around a half-submerged car tire, his eyes glazed with anxiety. ‘Low tide was at 3.15. Sunrise was at 6.32. A three-hour window for someone to dump whoever this is and hope that someone would find it before the tide comes in?’

‘Maybe,’ Henley acknowledged. ‘But for all we know it could have been dumped after sunrise or was dumped earlier upstream before being washed up here.’ She inspected the glass façade of the Borthwick Wharf, empty commercial spaces and work units that opened to the terrace and lacked security cameras. Henley doubted that the local council would have extended their own CCTV cameras to this part of the street. They had been neglecting this part of Deptford for as long as she could remember.

‘Has it been touched?’ Henley asked Anthony who had appeared at her side.

‘As far as I’m aware, it’s in situ. It wasn’t touched by the woman who found it. Matei, your builder, said that he hadn’t touched the legs but unhelpfully, it’s covered in his vomit. I had a quick look at the arms that were found downstream before I came here. From the looks of things, the treasure hunters may have prodded around a bit.’

‘There’s always one.’

The wind dropped and the air softly crackled with the electricity generated from the substation nearby.

‘We’re isolating the recovery of evidence to the direct path from the alleyway to the torso,’ said Anthony. ‘I doubt very much that whoever it was sat here and had a coffee afterwards.’

‘They may not have had a coffee, but if we go with Ramouter’s theory and the body parts have been dumped then whoever it was certainly knows the river,’ Henley replied. ‘We’ll let you get on. Ramouter and I are going to take a walk.’

‘Where are we going?’ asked Ramouter.

‘To meet Eastwood.’

‘And you want to walk it?’

Henley did her best to push aside her frustration when Ramouter pulled out his phone. ‘Google maps says that Greenwich pier is almost a mile away,’ he said.

‘Your body-part dumper isn’t the only one who knows the river,’ Anthony shouted out as Henley began to walk determinedly along the riverbank.

The gold scepters on the twin domed roofs of the Old Royal Naval College pierced the cloudless sky. The bare masts of the restored Cutty Sark completed the historical panoramic view that Greenwich was known for. It was a resplendent, whitewashed version of history that contrasted with the sewage that washed ashore. Henley stopped walking when she realized that she could no longer hear the sounds of Ramouter’s leather soles slipping on wet pebbles.

‘Where are you from?’ Henley asked, waiting for Ramouter to take off his jacket and loosen his tie. She moved closer towards the moss-covered river wall as the tide began to encroach.

‘Born in West Bromwich. Moved to Bradford when I was twelve.’ Ramouter tried to brush off the bits of mud that had stuck to his trousers, but they only smeared more. ‘Lots of moors, no rivers. Surely it would have been quicker in the car.’

‘This is quicker. Unless you fancy sitting in traffic for the next half hour while they raise the Creek Road Bridge.’

‘You know this area well?’

Henley ignored the question. She didn’t see the point in telling him that she could have walked this path with her eyes closed. That this small part of South-East London was ingrained in her. ‘Whoever dumped the torso would have taken this route. It doesn’t make any sense to come down here, go back up to the street level and then drive up to Watergate Street. Out of sight, below street level. Lighting would have been minimal.’

‘Body parts are heavy though,’ Ramouter tried to quicken his step to catch up with Henley. ‘The human head weighs at least eight pounds.’

‘I know.’ Henley pulled out her mobile phone, which had started to ring. She saw who it was and ignored the call.

‘Head, torso, arms, legs. That’s at least six individual body parts.’

‘I know that also. So, tell me, what point are you making?’ Henley waited for Ramouter to reach her before maneuvering him towards the river wall as though she was chaperoning a child.

‘I’m just saying that that’s a lot of dead weight to be carrying around at three in morning.’ Ramouter paused and placed his hand against the wall, trying to catch his breath.

Henley didn’t openly express her agreement. She fished out a black hair band from her jacket pocket and pulled her thick black curls into a ponytail. She had forgotten how much energy it took to walk across the gradient slope of the riverbank. Worse, she felt mentally unprepared for the job ahead, with a trainee struggling behind her who had no idea this was her first time as senior investigator in almost a year.

‘It’s a bit grim, isn’t it?’ DC Roxanne Eastwood shouted out as Henley finally reached the first crime scene. ‘Morning, Ramouter. Not a bad gig for your first day.’

Henley had always thought that Eastwood actually looked and carried herself like a detective. Now, Eastwood was poised on the riverbank, the sleeves of her jacket rolled up with her notebook in her hand. She had come prepared for the river and was wearing a pair of jeans and trainers that had seen better days.

‘Morning, Eastie. How does it feel to be out of the office?’ Henley asked, her eyes drifting to a crime scene investigator who was putting an arm into a black bag.

‘I should be asking you that,’ said Eastwood, with a look of concern.

Henley silently appreciated the empathy and placed her hand on Eastwood’s shoulder.

‘But since you asked, it’s bloody terrible. I think I’ve got sunburn.’ Eastwood rubbed a hand over her reddening forehead. ‘Forensics are going to be wrapping up in a bit. Not that there’s much for them to do. Bag it and tag it.’

‘Where’s Mr Thomas?’

‘Ah, our illustrious treasure hunter. Last time I saw him he was heading towards the shops. Said that he needed to get some water for his dog.’ Eastwood shook her head, obviously not believing a word of it. ‘I’ve got an officer keeping an eye on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d already uploaded pictures of his find onto Instagram.’

‘I want him taken back to the station. Ramouter can take another statement from him.’ Henley said it purposely so that Ramouter would sense she was in control. ‘If he’s like most mudlarkers, he would have been out here first thing this morning waiting for the tide to go out. Where exactly were the arms found?’

‘Just over there.’ Eastwood pulled down her sunglasses and pointed towards the foamed waves created by a passing river bus. The tide had already come in where X had once marked the spot. A sense of urgency filled the air as the river regained its territory.

‘Did he say anything else?’

‘Only that he found the second arm about three feet away from the first.’

‘It’s a sick trail of breadcrumbs,’ said Henley.

‘You’re telling me and before you ask about CCTV, there’re loads of cameras—’

‘But none aimed at this part of the river.’


Henley’s mobile phone began to ring. She pulled it out and answered. After a quick chat, she ended the call.

‘That was Dr Linh Choi. You wouldn’t have met her yet but she’s our go-to forensic pathologist. She’s just arrived,’ Henley explained to Ramouter. She wiped away the sweat from the back of her neck.

‘So, we’ve got two arms, both legs and a torso,’ said Ramouter. ‘Where’s the head?’

Good question. Henley thought of the places between the two locations. A primary school, two nurseries and an adventure playground among the flats and houses. The last thing she needed was to find a head in the kids’ sandpit.

‘Can I have a quick look?’ Henley asked the assistant from Anthony’s CSI team, who had just bagged up the arm and was scribbling in her notebook.

‘Sure.’ The assistant unzipped the bag and pushed the plastic apart.

‘Fuck,’ Henley said under her breath. Her heartbeat quickened, her stomach flipped.

‘Oh,’ said Ramouter as he peered over Henley’s shoulder. One arm was covered with gravel. Slivers of seaweed criss-crossed old scars. The second arm. Slender wrist, the ring finger slightly longer than the index, broken fingernails. Black skin. Henley could hear Pellacia’s words from earlier ringing in her ears.

‘Too early to say if it belongs to the same victim or if it’s more than just one.’

‘Call DSI Pellacia,’ Henley told Ramouter. ‘Tell him that we’ve got two possible murder victims.’

Excerpted from The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson, Copyright © 2021 by Nadine Matheson

Published by Hanover Square Press

Available NOW!