The Chestnut Man: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Thrilling, disturbing, and an incredible debut novel from The Killing writer and creator Søren Sveistrup. Set in Copenhagen, a murder spree begins when a young mother is found murdered nearby her home with her hand amputated off, and two other murders follow soon after. The murderer leaves a small chestnut man at every crime scene, each with the fingerprint belonging to a young girl who went missing--and presumed dead--a year ago. The case is in the hands of an unlikely pair; Naia Thulin, a single mother with a fading interest in Major Crimes, and Mike Hess, a Europol agent who has been temporarily suspended from his agency and reassigned to homicide for the time being. As the mystery unfolds, each piece of the puzzle that seemed unlikely to connect weaved their way together to create a thrilling, heart-pumping climax as the killer and their intentions are revealed. Sveistrup elegantly jumps from gory murder to politics to the inner lives of our protagonists, and by the time I reached the last chapter I was eager for the story to continue. At first I struggled to stay engaged with the police-procedural styled plot, but once the plot kicked in and we got to learn more about Thulin and Hess, their chemistry together and their determination to find the truth behind this wild murder spree, I was all-in. I truly hope that Sveistrup is looking to do a sequel that pairs these detectives together again. This is a great read for someone who is a fan of the “Nordic Noir” thriller style, but this book is definitely not meant for the light-hearted. Be prepared for some graphic content!

Kirstin Swartz

September 2019 Indie Next List

“This is the thriller of the year! From the creator of the Scandinavian mini-series The Killing, The Chestnut Man is an unbelievably fast-paced and exciting page-turner. I literally had trouble putting it down so I could go to sleep! A serial killer is on the loose, a cold case kidnapping is brought back to life, and a politician is attacked from all sides. This is the kind of book Thomas Harris would write, and it’s one of the best-plotted mysteries in a long time. What a wonderful group of vivid characters and what a ride! Whew!”
— William Carl, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA



A Best Book of the Year: New York Times Book Review, Kirkus, Library Journal,

FROM THE CREATOR OF THE HIT TELEVISION SHOW THE KILLING, “a full-throttle thriller in the tradition of classic Stieg Larsson” (A.J. Finn)—SOON TO BE A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES.


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.

About the Author

Søren Sveistrup is an internationally acclaimed script writer, creator and film producer of several TV series. From 2007 to 2012 he was the creator and writer of THE KILLING, which has won several international awards, been sold to more than a hundred countries all over the world and remade for AMC by Fox Television Studios in the US. He lives in Copenhagen.

Praise For…

“Cunningly plotted  . . . . Although it’s hard to look away from Sveistrup’s fiendish villain, the good guys are also worthy of your attention.”
New York Times Book Review

“A tension-charged debut. . . . Incendiary.”
Financial Times

“This might just be the thriller of the year. The Chestnut Man grips you from the opening page and never lets go, as we’re pulled into a haunting whirlwind of secrets, deception and the dark side of the soul. The policing is top-notch, of course, and the characters—good and bad—are so real we’re sure we’ve met them before. Brilliant!”
— Jeffery Deaver, author of The Never Game

“A full-throttle thriller in the tradition of classic Stieg Larsson, drenched in atmosphere and charged with adrenaline. Buckle up. You’ll gulp down every word. I loved this book.”
— A.J. Finn, author of the The Woman in the Window

“A stellar debut.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This is a page-turner that will make you hesitate before turning the page, so unnerving is the violence. One of the best and scariest crime novels of the year, it adds to its rewards by promising us at least one sequel. A tantalizing, un-put-down-able novel by an instant master of the form.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Superb… 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.”
Library Journal, starred review

“A complex procedural deepened by gut-wrenching social commentary.”

“A big, bold, spend-all-day-reading thriller.... In his debut crime novel, Søren Sveistrup instantly establishes himself as a must-read author for fans of Nordic Noir legends Jo Nesbø and Lars Kepler—and, for that matter, as a must-read for any reader who just wants a gripping thriller to sink their teeth into.”
— Crime by the Book

“A thrilling page-turning story with lots of twists and turns that will keep you reading right to the last page.”
— Red Carpet Crash

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062895370
ISBN-10: 0062895370
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020
Pages: 528
Language: English
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