The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

This is a classic Scandinavian crime noir. It has all the essential ingredients: a series of gruesome murders, a strong female detective, a damaged and complex male detective, and dark, brooding atmosphere. There are painful secrets and the storyline manoeuvres across and through the body of evidence, closer and closer to the perpetrator. The perpetrator is psychopathic and seemingly inhuman, but at the same time highly intelligent. He knows how to play the police and on some level he interacts with the detectives, pokes and probes them, and manipulates their investigation. This draws the reader into the events on a more personal, intimate level.

Perhaps because the Nordic crime fiction is so crowded these days, I found myself craving something more, something different, something to make this book stand out from the rest and render it unique.

As much as it was a compelling piece of fiction, that something special eluded the author. Assuming that this is the first instalment in a series, I am expecting Sveistrup to develop that personal trademark as he builds this brand. I would most certainly read the next book.

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