The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for sending me a review copy of this novel.

The author, Soren Sveistrup is the creator and writer of the television show, The Killing. Although I had heard of it, I hadn’t seen it and so when I was asked if I wanted to review this book I started to stream it (currently available on Amazon Prime) and I really enjoyed it. The Chestnut Man is very much devised with the same formula in mind; newly partnered detectives, both with their own issues, coming together to tackle a challenging case.

The Chestnut Man teams together detectives Thulin and Hess, albeit reluctantly on their part. Thulin is determined to leave the homicide team as soon as possible whilst Hess has been sent back to Copenhagen after being kicked out of Europol’s HQ. Together they are assigned to investigate the murder of a young mother who has been killed, her hand amputated and her body dumped in the local playground. Above her dead body hangs a doll made of chestnuts. They soon discover evidence which mysteriously links the murder to the case of a missing girl who is the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. Soon the killer strikes again and Thulin and Hess are in a race against time to stop the murderer from killing again

I clicked with The Chestnut Man very quickly and sped through it, falling victim of the short chapter length, which both kept the pace fast and encouraged me to read ‘just one more chapter’, even when my eyes were daring to close on me. Despite being in excess of 500 pages, I read within a couple of days and sacrificed a lot of sleep in the process! I was worried about the gore factor, as it does deal with killing and amputation. I won’t lie, it is gruesome (and rather disturbing!) in places, but it isn’t overdone, giving the killings and the events surrounding them the gravitas they deserve.

The partnership of Thulin and Hess was a highlight of the book for me, and I can’t help but feel that the foundations are being laid for a series of books featuring them. Whilst the case was solved, it felt that there were threads left to explore and to pick up on in future. I, for one would love to see more of Thulin and Hess, and more from Sveistrup as a novelist.

I can’t recommend The Chestnut Man highly enough. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, heart pounding, thrilling read with a touch of gore and a cracking storyline – this is the book for you! Absolutely brilliant!!


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 twelve year 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….

About the Author

Soren 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.

Soren Sveistrup (born 1968) holds a master of Literature and History from the University of Copenhagen and has graduated as script writer from the Danish Film School.

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