Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. My thanks to the author, to Jenny Platt and publisher Michael Joseph for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!
One blustery October morning in a quiet suburb of Copenhagen, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.
Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead – the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.
The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case is long since closed.
Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?
Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .
Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed scriptwriter of the Danish television phenomenon The Killing which won various international awards and sold in more than a hundred countries. More recently, Sveistrup wrote the screenplay for Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman. Sveistrup obtained a Master in Literature and in History from the University of Copenhagen and studied at the Danish Film School. He has won countless prizes, including an Emmy for Nikolaj and Julie and a BAFTA for The Killing.
I was surprised when I received this novel and saw it had a whopping 515 pages to read. It was so captivating though that not even for one millisecond I considered this a disadvantage, I raced through it!
Frankly, I wasn’t nearly prepared enough when I started reading this as this novel had my heart nearly beating out of my chest after turning those first pages. Even though nestled cosily in my chair I felt a deep fear for what was coming. The start of the novel is heads-on disturbing and brutal (yeah just the way I like it). The tension eases slightly when the investigation starts but returns with lightening speed every so often and definitely ramps up towards the end when it gets more gruesome again. I have to say the assaults in this novel were quite brutal and an attack on my senses as well with their vivid imaginary descriptions.
Detectives Thulin and Hess were a great team even if they are quite different. The one green and one blue eyed detective Hess is a bit of an Einzelgänger and was dropped in Copenhagen while they’re investigating his past actions in The Hague. He doesn’t want to be there of course so at first he doesn’t want to invest any time or energy until it comes to his attention that there might – or must – be a link between the present murder and a murder that happened a year earlier which the killer confessed and was arrested for. The killer’s calling card leaves everyone baffled and he can’t help but take an interest after all.
The novel had a brilliant plot and I loved how the storyline was built. Even though I felt that the key to unlocking the mystery had to lie with Ministery of Social Affairs Hartung and her missing daughter Kristine, I wasn’t quite able to figure out how and why she fit into the story and the truth left me gobsmacked. Even though as a reader you know a bit more than the detectives, it’s impossible to stay far ahead of them so you reach the same conclusion almost at the same time, leaving you quite speechless about the outcome.
If you twist my arm about anything I didn’t like about this book it might be that it sometimes took a few moments to know whose POV I was reading at the start of a chapter but that’s really all I can think of. It’s such a minor detail though and I’m still giving The Chestnut Man all the stars. One other thing I want to mention is that the Dutch version of the book is called Oktober (yes the month October) which is in my opinion nowhere near as great a title as The Chestnut Man.
This novel is definitely one of the best thrillers I read of late. I recommend it especially to the readers who read and enjoyed The Fourth Monkey Killer and who don’t mind a bit of torture now and then. You definitely want to add this one to your readlist! It does feel obvious that the author is in the movie business and I really want to see this made into a series or a movie. I know now when to look away after all :-).
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
*** Don’t forget to check out the other blogs stops on this book tour ***