I was expecting great things when I heard about this book after all Soren Sveistrup was the writer who came up with The Killing which started this whole passion of mine off and in part lead to the creation of this blog. Given his success in Denmark with film and TV it is not surprising then that he has written a well structured book which was snapped up by the publishers.
Apparently The Chestnut Man is the first in a series and it is hoped it will make it onto our screens too. The book was good. I enjoyed reading it and I think I would enjoy watching it even more. It opens with the discovery of an incomplete body in a play park and a small doll made from chestnuts hanging nearby. It is written in the present tense which adds pace and really does help the reader to visualise the story like a TV show or film. The story features a good mix of police procedure, politics and psychological elements which fans of The Killing will recognise.
It is a big book full of twists and character development. The police detectives are male and female, Thulin and Hess, and there are tensions between the characters which develop and change. Others have described the book as too gory, too close to torture porn and violent but that is not what stayed with me. The strong elements of character, sense of place mixed with the use of a chidrens folkloric motif (the Chestnut Man comes from rhyme and a popular autumnal activity for kids) are what stayed with me along with the underlying comment on society. If this is made into a series in the style of The Killing it should be a quality show. If Soren does write more books in the series that are as big as this one I will read them in paperback, it was just too heavy in hardback.
The Chestnut Man is featured over on DeadGoodBooks and there is a free extract if you want to try before you buy. Click here.