Saturday, 29 December 2018

Books Read: The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

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 . . .

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I'd like to thank Jenny at Michael Joseph Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for my proof copy of The Chestnut Man to review.

A few years ago, like most of the population, I was hooked by the scandi crime series The Killing so when I was offered a copy of the first novel from the creator of the series to read I didn't hesitate to say yes.  And just like his TV series Søren Sveistrup has written a gritty, complex novel that will have you on the edge of your seats although I do have to forewarn you it is quite graphic and gruesome reading at times.

Naia Thulin is an ambitious young detective who is currently working in the serious crimes unit but wants to make the move over to the Cyber Crimes unit which is where she sees the future of crime heading, but before she can submit her request she is assigned a new case to investigate and a new partner to work alongside!  Mark Hess has just returned from Europol and it's clear that there's a lot more to his return than we know but as far as he's concerned he just wants to solve this case as quickly as he can so that he can prove his worth to the powers that be and make his return to Brussels.   

From the offset it was clear that Thulin and Hess were going to clash and be at odds with one another as they both have different characteristics and investigative styles, although the one thing they do have in common is that they want to solve this current murder as quickly as they can so they can get back to doing the jobs they'd rather be doing.  But when a second gruesome murder is discovered which has links to the first, and the possibility of a connection to a previous case, they soon realise that it's not going to be an open and shut case and before they know it they find themselves in a race against time to catch the killer before they can strike again. 

Personally I will admit that at the beginning I didn't particularly warm to either of the central characters, or any of the characters if I'm honest, and found it a bit too graphic for my liking, so if this hadn't been a review book I would have probably stopped reading and moved onto a different book.  But I can admit hand on heart that if I had done so I would have missed out on what proved to be such an enthralling read as before I knew it I was hooked and racing through the pages wanting to follow Thulin and Hess as they worked tirelessly to solve the case.  

Like the detectives I had so many theories and reasoning running through my head as to who was involved, and the motive behind the gruesome murders, but once again I was completely wrong and caught offside when the reveal finally came. I didn't see that coming at all although in hindsight the clues were there, I had just overlooked them which is the mark of a skilled writer.  

The Chestnut Man is a book that I think will divide readers because of its gruesome content, and the sensitive, harrowing topics that were at the centre of the crimes, but overall it's a chilling crime/thriller that makes for hours of gripping, if somewhat terrifying, reading. 

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