The Chestnut Man

Harper. Sept. 2019. 528p. from Danish by Caroline Waight. ISBN 9780062895363. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062895387. THRILLER.
DEBUT In Copenhagen, a woman is found murdered with a small token made of chestnuts next to her containing the fingerprint of a missing girl presumed dead. Detectives Naia Thulin and Marl Hess are thrown into a mystery that will make them question everything they know. As the two newly paired partners try to decipher the link between this new case and that of the missing girl, more women are targeted by the killer dubbed as the Chestnut Man by the media. Danish TV scriptwriter (The Killing) Sveistrup’s debut is filled with imagery of Copenhagen, terrifying scenes, and strong characterization. The writing is superb; the author takes readers through a classic detective story of a closed case coming back to light. The switching of perspectives among the short chapters is a bit jarring at first, but readers will soon learn to appreciate entering the minds of both the detectives and the potential victims. Readers of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman and other noir fiction will want to read this one. ­
VERDICT Sveistrup creates a plot so intricately woven that even a seasoned crime reader won’t guess the ending. This book is the best kind of terrifying.

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