The Mannequin Makers Craig Cliff

51jt1Jns-8L._AC_UL436_ Pub: Melville House UK

The skin was smooth and bright as porcelain, but looked as if it would give to the touch. What manner of wood had he used? What tools to exact such detail? What paints, tints or stains to flush her with life?’ So wonders the window dresser Colton Kemp when he sees the first mannequin of his new rival, a silent man the inhabitants of Marumaru simply call The Carpenter. Rocked by the sudden death of his wife in childbirth and left with twins to raise, Kemp hatches a dark and selfish plan to make his name and thwart his rival. What follows is a gothic tale of art and deception, strength and folly, love and transgression, which ranges from small-town New Zealand to the graving docks of the River Clyde in Scotland. Along the way we meet a Prussian strongman, a family of ship’s carvers with a mysterious affliction, a septuagenarian surf lifesaver and a talking figurehead named Vengeance. Lives and stories will intertwine as fate takes its cruel trajectory, leaving you feeling as if waking from an unsettling dream


My Review 

Written in four parts this is a dark and disturbing tale.

Colton kemp  works in a department store, making the window displays the best on the street. That is until he spots the mannequins of a rival store!!  This sets him on an obsessive and strange journey in which he enlists his own children into becoming mannequins for his displays.

Colton’s wife dies in childbirth, and oddly he decides to tell no one of this tragic occurrence. Worried about how he will care for the children she has borne, he somehow comes up with an idea that will isolate the children and intrigue his rival, The Carpenter.

This is one clever tale, and did not end how I expected it to. In fact, from the beginning I was playing a guessing game and I was wrong at every turn.

A clever and absorbing read, I loved how the author made me thing and feel something different at every change in the plot. It is deliciously weird and brilliantly told.

I am anxiously waiting for the follow up.





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