At the start of this month, I started putting together my thoughts on my Top 10 books of the year. I had a few books on my list to read in December but for whatever reason, I naturally assumed that none of them would make the cut and I’d be safe to write, edit and photograph the books ahead of the post being published at the end of the month. I was wrong.
A few months ago, I was sent an uncorrected proof of The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup, the Danish writer behind the popular TV series The Killing, by Penguin Michael Joseph. Whilst I expected the book to be good- thrillers published by Penguin Michael Joseph generally are- I didn’t expect it to knock every other book I’ve read this year out of the water.
I absolutely loved it.
The Chestnut Man starts with a flashback to 1989, where a policeman is sent to check on some goings on at a farm. When he arrives, he discovers nothing less than a mutilation scene, with two terrified children the only survivors. As he is calling in the crime scene, everything goes black and he too becomes one of the victims. Fast forward to the present day and we are introduced to Naia Thulin, a young detective working in Copenhagen. The police have made a horrendous discovery and it is up to her – and newly banished Europol detective Mark Hess- to work out what has happened to the poor woman. She is found close to her home with a single hand amputated. Found tied above her was a small Chestnut Man. Whilst in a normal situation, the Chestnut Man might well be a coincidental addition to a crime scene, in this situation it is not – they have evidence to believe that the missing daughter of a beloved politician, declared dead incredibly recently, is linked to this new murder – they just don’t know how. Another chestnut man appears, and another – and bodies along with them. Each hour that passes leaves more women at risk of being murdered so Thulin and Hess have to work quickly to make the link between the Chestnut Men and the missing girl.
The Chestnut Man was absolutely thrilling- I found myself on the edge of my seat constantly, dying to find out what twist was going to be thrown at me next. Whilst you will doubt the integrity of every single character that you meet, the revealing of the actual perpetrator brought a shiver down my spine. Unexpected and quite frankly, impossible to guess (although, damn, did I try!) I absolutely loved the characters and their backstories. I loved how every single clue somehow made up a piece of the jigsaw and there wasn’t a single piece at the end of the story that hadn’t been explained thoroughly.
Books like this one are what enticed me into the world of book blogging and reading itself. Knowing that a book can make you feel so many different emotions at the same time is just so thrilling and rewarding to me and I thoroughly recommend that all readers – lovers of thrillers or not- give this book a go in 2019.
The Chestnut Man is released on 10th January, 2019.