A dark and chilling story of a hunt for a brutal serial killer.
The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup
Genres:Published: 10th January, 2019
One Tuesday in October, Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as minister for social affairs following a year’s leave of absence – granted after the dramatic disappearance of her twelveyear-old daughter. Linus Bekker, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but is unable to remember where he buried the various parts of her dismembered corpse.
On the same day Rosa returns to Parliament, a young single mother is found brutally murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen-she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, the detectives sent to investigate the crime, arrive at the address to find a figure made of chestnuts hanging from a playhouse nearby.
When yet another woman is murdered-this time with both hands missing-and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect a connection with the Hartung case. But what is it?
Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because its clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over…
The Chestnut Man was not what I’m used to when it comes to Scandinavian crime. If you’d read a few, you probably noticed that in addition to the twisty mystery, there’s always a lot of focus on how all the gruesomeness and brutality affects people, and how they feel. I didn’t get same vibes reading this one, but it was nevertheless a totally addictive thriller, filled with vibrant details. Written by the man who wrote one of my favourite TV series, The Killing, I just knew this will be an outstanding book.
If there’s one thing that stands out in this book it’s how cinematic it is; there’s a lot to “see”. Reading this story is quite a visual experience. Snow, vast landscapes, blood, chopped off body parts, there’s something for everyone!
Thulin is a stubborn woman, whose aspirations lie in cyber crime. She likes to play by the book, even when it doesn’t bring results fast enough. A single mum, he relies a lot on the help of her daughter’s honorary grandpa. I found this quite a lovely parallel to The Killing where the detective’s son was often looked after by an older lady to whom they were not related.
Hess, the man with the mysterious past is also quite headstrong, but he’s way more imaginative and doesn’t shy away from questioning his colleague’s actions, which obviously doesn’t earn him too many brownie points with the team.
To say that Thulin and Hess had clashing personalities would be the understatement of the year. Yet, their differences were just as important in solving the case as their undeniable skills. Their relationship could be summed up as…
Hess: So, I had an idea.
Hess: But I was thinking –
Hess: But we could try –
Thulin: Ain’t happenin’, mate.
Hess: But, how about…?
Thulin: Don’t get creative.
Unraveling the twisted mystery surrounding Rosa Hartung’s daughter was an absolute delight. How is she connected to the bizarre little chestnut figures popping up on each new crime scene?
A fast paced and gripping thriller, The Chestnut Man will appeal to fans of Nordic Noir with a touch of graphic violence.