The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.
If you find one, he’s already found you.
A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.
His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.
Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.
A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?
To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.
Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over.
And no one is safe.
This book is a thriller, mystery and crime novel all rolled into one. I haven’t read much of this genre, but I have enjoyed these types of TV show (Law and Order: SVU, and Criminal Minds). I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I could not put it down. I was instantly drawn into the novel from the very first sentence. I remember I was lying in bed and reading the first paragraph when I frantically grabbed my boyfriend’s arm and exclaimed ““You need to read this! Read how wonderfully written that first sentence is!” I was drawn into the plot and the characters instantly.
Sveistrup writes screenplays and scripts; his most famous work is The Killing which aired on AMC. I haven’t gotten around to watch the TV show, but I heard many good things about it. While reading this book, I could picture everything very clearly like a movie was playing out in my mind.
The build-up to the climax of the book kept me reading. I found it very difficult to put this book down once I got into the thick of it. I found myself reading more quickly, I had to remind myself to slow down; to savour this book to make sure I was enjoying it. I added sticky notes when I first started reading to keep track of each story line and how they were connected.
There are different plot lines within this novel, at first I wasn’t completely sure how they were related to one another. One plot is about the investigation that Hess and Thulin’s are involved in regarding the Chestnut Man – a serial killer who targets women and leaves behind a figure made of chestnuts. The women are found with a body piece missing (hand, arm, or leg) and the chestnut man that the killer leaves behind is also missing that body piece. The tension between Tulin and Hess could have been expressed in a better manner. The tension between these two characters felt very forced and unnatural to me. I began to get very frustrated with them, which I think Sveistrup wanted the reader to feel.
The second plot line involves a 12-year old girl that went missing a year ago and her family. This plot line involves how the family is handling her disappearance, and heavily focuses on the mother who works as a government minister. I found it interesting how Sveistrup intertwines both of these storylines to have the reader guess how they are linked. It’s not until the climax of the novel that it becomes evident.
I normally don’t re-read books (Harry Potter and the Lemony Snicket novels are the only exceptions!) but this book might be worth the re-read. I feel like I zipped through the book and may have missed some details. This novel has already been added onto my ‘favourite books’ shelf at my dad’s house. While reading this novel I could not stop singing its praises, especially to my boyfriend and my sister.
I’ve posted a brief review of the novel on Goodreads and I rated a 5/5. After thinking this rating over, I won’t be changing it. I always rate books on Goodreads as soon as I finish them so they’re fresh in my mind. I then wait a few days (or weeks in this case) before I fully write out my review or book blast and then decide if I need to change my rating. This time I’m keeping it as 5/5 cups of tea; although this book was more of a coffee drinking book. I definitely needed the caffeine to keep me reading this novel! I’ve given this novel a 5/5 because of the character development, the intricacies of the different plot lines.