THE DEBUT NOVEL FROM THE CREATOR AND WRITER OF THE KILLING
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 . . .
I was absolutely beside myself when Jenny Platt from Penguin got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to take part in the blog tour for this book – it sounded amazing, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I lived and breathed ‘The Killing’ when it was released and felt just as excited to hear his voice on the page, rather than on the screen…
Søren Sveistrup is a world-class scriptwriter – and it shows – I could not put this book down! This gripping, fascinating and harrowing read never feels like a script in waiting or a series of facts in search of a story – it makes you think deeply about a wide range of topical issues whilst keeping you absolutely wrapped in its narrative and it is definitely one of Sveistrup’s strengths as a writer that we never feel as if his background in screenwriting has merely found its way into a novel.
Having enjoyed The Killing so much, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of The Chestnut Man as I knew I was going to love the setting and the main character Naia Thulin – sounded both credible and intriguing and I couldn’t wait to meet her on the page.
When we hear that a young woman has been brutally slain, it’s intriguing to wonder what has led to this barbaric act and why her hand is missing from the crime scene. It’s no surprise that there is a political connection, for any fans of The Killing – and I could not wait to dive into this intriguing murder investigation in order to try and find out more about the mysterious death and possibly get to the bottom of the connection to Rosa Hartung’s missing daughter and let me tell you the scattered clues, dead ends and clever plotting is every bit as satisfying as his best episode!
I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the plot of The Chestnut Man – suffice to say that the skilful way that Sveistrup weaves the murder clues and our growing involvement with the detective team of Thulin and Hess is superbly done and remains convincing throughout. I know at times it can feel like the fictional world is saturated with Scandi detective teams but this is a pleasing alliance with two very different points of view which collide pleasingly and create plenty of room for subsequent adventures and complicated Scandi crimes
I loved the way that this novel wove many threads together – a convincing detective story, a consideration of what makes a good detective team and the political angle too – which made a satisfying combination. Reading a book in translation made me resolve to read more texts in translation this year and expose myself to writing from other cultures and countries on a more regular basis. It really is something that we should all do far more regularly and this is a classic example of the quality of writing that we are missing out on if we don’t…
The tension in this novel truly is palpable and the skill of the writing never allows you to forget is that that crimes like this actually happen all the time Although this is a novel, the events that you are reading about have such a credible feel to them that it reads like the highest quality true crime at times – and I think that Sveistrup balances this fine tissue of truth and fiction perfectly. No one reading this book could possibly come away unscathed by it and it’s been a hard book to follow as I find myself continuously thinking back to it and thinking about the way that politics can be used to distance us from other people rather than join us more closely together in mutual understanding and I think that this novel really promotes the idea that there is far more that connects us than separates us.
The Chestnut Man is definitely one of those novels that stays with you long after closing its final page and one that I will definitely be recommending to my friends – it packs a powerful emotional punch; educates just as much as it entertains and makes you wish that you could step into the world of Naia Thulin and experience this disturbing and unforgettable crime being solved for ourselves. If you enjoy an immersive and intelligent read that will ask you to think about your own attitudes and examine the way that you think about your own culture then you will love this book as much as I did.
I can’t wait to see if it appears on our screens in the near future – and consider it a real privilege to be invited to be one of its early readers. I’m a sucker for a great detective pairing and the relationship between these two characters will undoubtedly make you feel like they’ve stepped right off the page and you’re following the trail right alongside them.
Buy yourself a copy of this exciting, immersive and darkly thrilling read as soon as you can – it’s out on the 10th January and is definitely going to be one of my Reads of the Year 2019
Thank you so much to Jenny Platt for inviting me onto the tour and hope you enjoy the reviews from some more of the fantastic bloggers who are posting their reviews later in the month and through January too.
‘As in The Killing television series, Sveistrup offers lessons to seasoned practitioners of the serial-killer whodunit in how to inject new energy into this near-exhausted subgenre, and a reminder (via his portrayal of the families, homes and workplaces that his cops visit) that crimewriting has the potential to be eye-opening, panoramic social realism’ Sunday Times
Writer On The Shelf
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.
Søren Sveistrup (born 1968) holds a master of Literature and History from the University of Copenhagen and has graduated as a scriptwriter from the Danish Film School.
Read this fascinating article about him here