Henley watched Olivier through the shatterproof window. He spoke to one officer while another officer inserted a key into the handcuffs around Olivier’s wrists. Olivier said something, and the short Asian officer shook his head and laughed. Olivier placed his hand on the second officer’s arm, and Henley flinched. The cuffs were removed and Olivier walked into the room. Henley’s breath caught in her throat.
“It’s been a long time,” said Olivier, his voice hoarse. “You’re looking well. You will have to excuse the voice. Haven’t been feeling too well. Those cells get a bit drafty at night.” Olivier extended his hand. Henley ignored it. “I saw you on the news yesterday morning. It’s inspector now, isn’t it?”
Olivier’s dark blue gaze shifted down to her stomach, looking for the scars that he had left behind. His smile grew wider, revealing perfectly aligned but nicotine-stained teeth. The charm was still there, but there was something else too. He was not the same man who had walked into Belmarsh two and a half years ago, but he was not entirely broken either.
“Sit down,” Henley said firmly, pointing at the chair opposite Ramouter. Bajarami, who had been standing expressionless by the door, left the room.
“There’s no need to be so unfriendly, Inspector. Enough time has passed. The path to redemption is forgiveness, so we can be civil to each other.”
“I said sit down. And I’m in no mood for games.”
“I don’t get any visitors. I get my fair share of fan mail but they’re hardly going to let them come here and see me. I see the doctor now and again but it’s not the same as having someone who wants to see you. So, I’m flattered you’re here, Inspector. It’s a shame you felt the need to bring a friend, but luckily for you I’m not a jealous man.”
Olivier looked Ramouter up and down.
“Well, you’re certainly better-looking than that other one the inspector used to hang around with. This place makes you forget your manners. We didn’t introduce ourselves. What’s your name? You look new. Fresh.”
“Ramouter. TDC Ramouter.”
“Is there a first name?”
“Salim. Salim Ramouter.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Salim Ramouter. Are you the inspector’s new partner?”
“Yes, I am.”
Henley silently cursed and gave Ramouter a look. The last thing that she wanted was for Olivier to think that he had made a connection with Ramouter.
“I think that the inspector just wants you to sit back and observe,” Olivier said matter-of-factly. He folded his blue-veined arms across his chest. “She’s always had an obsession with me. I remember the first time that I saw her, standing outside Scotland Yard, calling me out—”
“We’re here to ask you some questions,” Henley interrupted, careful not to call him by his name, first or last.
“She called me a monster,” Olivier said. “And then was surprised when I stabbed her. I was only defending myself.”
Henley made a fist with her right hand again and squeezed so tightly that the pain came once more. “We’re here to ask you a few questions,” she repeated.
“On Monday morning, body parts were found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford and Greenwich. A man and a woman.”
Olivier didn’t respond. His face was fixed like granite.
“Yesterday morning, the rest of the woman’s body was found in Ladywell Fields. Both bodies were dismembered. Legs. Arms. Head cut off and dumped.”
“So the rumors are true,” said Olivier, “but they haven’t confirmed that in the news? There was no mention of there being two victims.”
“The public doesn’t need to know that just yet.”
“Trying to control the flow of information. Sensible, but always fraught with difficulty in these days of social media. What does the public know?”
Henley paused. Olivier was trying to take control of the interview. To show Ramouter and herself where the true balance of power lay. Reluctantly, she answered Olivier’s question.
“The man has been identified as Daniel Kennedy.”
“Daniel Kennedy.” Olivier said the name slowly. “You say his name as though he’s someone I should know. Did he serve at Her Majesty’s pleasure?”
“For a while,” answered Ramouter. “About two years ago. He spent six months at Belmarsh before he was transferred to High Down.”
“Salim, I’m serving a very long sentence in the High Secure Unit. I’m Category A. I don’t get to mingle with the general population. They think I’m a monster.”
You are a monster, Henley said to herself. The longer that she sat across from him, the more agitated she became. She realized how closely she was watching his movements, hypervigilant to the fact that at any moment Olivier could try to kill her.
“The name doesn’t mean anything to you?” she asked.
Olivier didn’t answer. Instead, he stood up, walked to the door and tapped on the small window. The prison officer appeared and opened the door. “You couldn’t get me some water? I’m a bit parched in here. All of that body heat.”
The prison officer nodded. Ramouter mouthed to Henley, What about Zoe?
Not yet? Henley mouthed back. Olivier may be spending his days in prison but he was clearly in command. No one seemed to recognize the danger in him, except Henley.
Olivier returned to his seat, and watched Henley for a beat too long. “I don’t know any Daniel Kennedy,” he said eventually. “What else is there?”
“One of the victims was found with a crescent and double cross cut into their skin.”
Henley purposefully didn’t tell him which victim had been stamped with his symbols. She watched Olivier for a reaction, but there was nothing. The prison officer returned with a cup of water.
“I sincerely hope that you don’t think this has anything to do with me,” Olivier said.
“They’re the same symbols that you cut into your victims’ skin, all seven of them.”
Olivier turned his gaze to Ramouter as he raised the cup to his lips and drank.
Henley continued. “There aren’t many people who knew about those symbols. Your—”
Olivier held up his left index finger as he continued to drink, forcing Henley to pause.
“They’re your marks. Your brands.” Henley’s voice rose with frustration. The concrete walls of the small room amplified her every word. Olivier placed his empty cup onto the table. The corners of his mouth twitched.
“The two victims mean nothing to you but your style of killing is all over them. It all points—”
“Surely a coincidence?” Olivier asked with almost genuine curiosity.
“Unlikely. I need to know if you’ve spoken to anyone about what you did to your victims.”
Olivier didn’t answer.
“Any other prisoners, jailers, social visits?” asked Ramouter.
Olivier laughed. A deep throaty laugh. “Social visits? Really? They don’t let anyone see me, except my legal team.”
“Legal team?” Henley asked cautiously.
“Of course. I’ve still got one. We’ve been discussing the merits of an appeal. Being called the Jigsaw Killer is not very flattering, Inspector.”
“You killed seven people?” Ramouter said incredulously. “And you think that you’ve got grounds to appeal?”
Olivier laughed again. He turned to Henley and winked.
“Can you think of any reason why these victims would have been branded with your symbols?” Henley asked firmly, trying to get them back on track.
There was no reply.
“Is there someone out there trying to send you a message?”
Olivier folded his arms and leaned back.
“Is someone trying to get your attention?” Henley continued.
A cracking sound. Olivier swiveled his head.
“If you are working with anyone. If these murders have absolutely anything to do with you, I’m telling you right now—”
“This must be killing you,” Olivier said slowly.
The muscles in Henley’s back seized as Olivier kept his eyes firmly focused on her.
“Here you are. Sitting here with me. Asking me for help.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” said Henley. “This is not a request for help.”
“What is it, then? You came here to ask me what I know. You’re struggling.”
Henley sat back. “I’m struggling? Not likely. You know what I think? I think this is burning you up inside. You’re stuck in here, no chance of parole. They’ll wheel you out of here in a wooden box, cremate you and dump your ashes in the nearest bin.”
“You’re stuck in here while someone is out there, chopping up bodies, using your sign, and you can’t do a thing about it.”
“Careful,” Olivier repeated, his voice dropping, low and dangerous.
“You’re not in control here,” Henley said firmly.
Olivier smiled, but said nothing more. Ramouter tried to suppress a cough in the silence. Henley’s watch was locked away in the glove box. There were no clocks in the room. A minute felt like an hour.
“We’re done,” she said to Ramouter.
Henley braced herself as Ramouter stood up and made his way quickly to the door. She heard the rustle of Olivier’s clothing as he turned his body to watch her leave the room. Henley didn’t look back. She couldn’t let Olivier see the frustration in her face, nor could he see that she was fighting to stay in control.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley has a lot to deal with on her first day back her from leave from the Serial Crimes Unit of Scotland Yard. After nearly becoming a victim of the vicious serial killer, The Jigsaw Man, just before he was put behind bars, she also has to contend with the subtle digs and microaggressions that come with being the unit’s only black female detective. Add a new trainee and a rocky marriage to the mix, and DI Henley nearly has a full plate. Until the first call comes in…
Along the Thames, a fan of the Jigsaw Man and copycat killer has scattered two dismembered bodies along the shores like a jigsaw puzzle. When DI Henley sees one of the victims, a young black woman, is already being written off by her colleagues, she makes it her mission to solve the case, driving her to seek help from the original Jigsaw Man himself, Peter Oliver. Oliver, however, is determined to get to his copycat before Henley can, and sets into motion a series of events that puts Henley and her family in the crosshairs of two monstrous serial killers.
Taking on issues like dementia, misogyny, the less-dead, and trauma with the nuance and expertise that can only come from experience, Nadine Matheson folds a shocking narrative and issue driven dialogue into a heart-pounding and compulsively readable crime procedural. THE JIGSAW MAN is the self-aware, genre-rocking debut thriller fans have been hungry for.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nadine Matheson is a criminal defense attorney and winner of the City University Crime Writing competition. She lives in London, UK.
Excerpted from The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson, Copyright © 2021 by Nadine Matheson
Published by Hanover Square Press