A year after her young daughter was abducted and murdered, Copenhagen’s Minister for Social Affairs Rosa Hartung returns to work. On the same day, a woman is found murdered and mutilated, with a nearby figurine of a man—made out of chestnuts.
Detective Naia Thulin catches the case and is partnered with Mark Hess, a detective recently suspended from Europol and sent back to Copenhagen for disciplinary reasons. Neither Thulin nor Hess is ecstatic about the work arrangement, but they must come together to chase a killer who makes it clear he has quickly escalating plans for multiple victims.
At each crime scene is a chestnut man, with a shocking link to an earlier case. How many women will die before Thulin and Hess stop the sinister figure, and what do the murders have to do with Minister Hartung?
Fans of the series The Killing should find The Chestnut Man up their alley since it’s written by Søren Sveistrup, creator of that international TV hit. The Chestnut Man has the same creepy, slow burn, and is headed by a dogged pair of detectives who don’t always agree but learn how to serve a common cause.
The torturous killings are not for the squeamish, almost every man besides Hess is a lecher who objectifies women and Hess’s logical ideas are frustratingly dismissed by colleagues, but Sveistrup offers commentary on adults who inadequately protect children and the lengths those children go to survive when the odds are overwhelmingly against them.
This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.