Title: The Chestnut Man
Author: Søren Sveistrup
Translator: Caroline Waight
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: 10th January 2019
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Started: 30th December 2018
Completed: 31st December 2018
Summary: Rosa Hartung is returning to her job as Minister for Social Affairs, a year since the disappearance of her twelve-year-old daughter. Linus Berger, a mentally ill young man, confessed to her killing, but can’t remember where he buried her dismembered corpse. That day a young single mother is found murdered at her home in the suburbs of Copenhagen – she’s been tortured, and one hand has been cut off. Thulin and Hess, sent to investigate the crime, arrive to find a chestnut figure hanging from a playhouse nearby. When yet another woman is murdered, and another chestnut figure is found, Thulin and Hess begin to suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women.
Thulin and Hess are drawn into a race against time, as the murderer is on a mission that is far from over…
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Søren Sveistrup, and the publisher, Michael Joseph, for this opportunity.
Søren Sveistrup is a Danish writer and producer who has worked on films such as The Snowman (2017) and The Killing (2007-2012). The Chestnut Man is Sveistrup’s debut novel and has been translated into English by Caroline Waight.
I did enjoy aspects of this book but, to be honest, I didn’t like some features of this book.
The plot was thrilling and there was a real sense of tension created in the book. I really enjoyed the opening which was dark and threatening as it made me want to read on and find out just what was going to happen in the rest of the book. I’m not going to comment on the writing style because this is a translation rather than the original as, unfortunately, I can’t read Danish. I did like the contrast of long and very short chapters because this added to the suspense and the overall tension of the book. I think it was a great choice by the author to write the book in this style.
I found the characters a tad forgettable. I did think that Magnus, the child of one of the women that were murdered, to be a very intriguing character and I was fascinated by the story of Rosa Hartung. I just didn’t really connect with any of the other characters.
There’s a lot of graphic violence in the novel, including vivid descriptions of dismemberment and murder, and most of the time it felt necessary to the plot but at other times it just felt gratuitous. I’ve read a lot of thrillers with excessive violence in them and I usually don’t mind it but in this book, it just felt like there was too much at times. I’m not sure whether the translation made the language more blunt or unforgiving but there was too much unnecessary violence for me.
Overall, I think that the premise of this book is excellent. It’s an exciting thriller with a great mystery and some intriguing characters. I’d recommend it to any thriller fans who don’t mind gratuitous violence.
I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who read the original because I do wonder if something got lost in the translation of the book.