SCISSORMAN is a stunning, multi-faceted novel which interweaves the hard edged soulless world of the 1990's with the ghosts of an age gone by, when the fantastical seemed all the more real. Jon Summers, the hapless central character in the book is a born again money maker. A ruthless city foreign exchange dealer, his fast paced lifestyle has caught up with him. Coming through a spell of drug addiction, Summers recognises in a very moving piece that he has lost his childhood idealisms and innocence. In an attempt to put his life back together Summers' wife Sarah leases his former childhood home in Highgate. Summers is desperate to change his life recognising that making money, being dishonest and living life in the fast lane haven't brought him happiness. MARK CHADBOURN cleverly brings together an outside supernatural threat (the Scissorman) and the descent into personal breakdown of Jon Summers. The two threads flow through the story hand in hand and the reader is left in despair at Summers plight and naivety at what is going on around him. A very clever and scary novel, the Scissorman is low key and we are not sure who or what he is, but only that his power is growing and heading towards an ultimate aim. The first half of the novel is atmospheric and brooding and Chadbourn paints desperate and real pictures of the London that Summers lives in. The second half of the novel sees somewhat of an about turn as the emphasis is more on action and thrills and spills. The climax is disturbing and exciting and the fact that we already know what ultimately happens as SCISSORMAN starts with an epilogue doesn't affect it's potency one iota. As with other supremely talented authors it is hard to put your finger on what is so good about Chadbourn's execution of SCISSORMAN. Certainly a lot of authors these days try to write emotive fiction. With most you can almost feel their personal angst and effort as they try to convey their characters' lives to the reader. Chadbourn however makes it seem effortless. Neither understated nor over the top the plight of Jon Summers is so realistic and balanced that he and the book's other characters come to life with a startling ferocity.
I am the first to admit my general avoidance of anything horror. But urban fantasy horror? Ignore the "fantasy" if you're not into that - it's is still a very good read. Jon Summers, main character of the story, is an office worker, has had a mental breakdown and tries to patch himself together. Fortunately for him, he has a lovely wife and good friends to help him. A fair enough start - only, the creeping feeling that Chadbourn conveys is something that lacks in most other books I have tried of similar genres. And it is indeed a creeping, unpleasant feeling as Jon's story progresses. It creeps up on you, and grabs you, and oddly enough, I was very pleased with the ending. It shook me, and made me squirm mentally, and it left enough ambiguousness to please most, I'd say.
And also - if you look very carefully at certain other books by Chadbourn, this more than certainly seems a very good prologue. It stands alone perfectly well, but I am intrigued by the possibilities, and shall pick up his further novels as soon as possible. It will be a pleasure, because not only does Chadbourn have a way with words, he also spins intriguing storylines.
Do yourselves a favour and read this. It is a good read!
This book is a rare read. It starts like a child's fairy tale but soon you realise this story is anything but a fairy tale. I don't want to give too much away because that would spoil it. Illustrated through each chapter with creepy pictures this dark tale is one to have on your favourite finds book shelf.