Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Title: The Chestnut Man
Author: Soren Sveistrup
Published: September 2019, Harper
Format: ARC Paperback, 528 pages
Source: Publisher

The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

If you find one, he’s already found you.

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.

My thoughts: This was one of my most anticipated fall reads and I was lucky to pick up a copy at BookExpo this past Spring. This Scandinavian crime novel is dark and gritty and was the perfect book to lose myself in over the weekend - and it's definitely one that needs your attention - there is a lot going on but it's so worth the time and effort it takes to sort it all out!

This is one heck of a chunkster, coming in at just over 500 pages, but once you get going, it doesn't feel that way. The short chapters definitely help move things along and you totally become engaged in what is going on. This is a slow-burn thriller at first, and there are a lot of characters to introduce, so much so that I actually made myself a cheat-sheet to keep track of who was who, especially since at first, I wasn't able to devote a big chunk of time to reading this. (Note - it helps to read this book in big time chunks!)

I loved all the different threads that were going on...and of course, eventually they all do intersect. It was hard at first keeping them all straight, but following them and seeing how they all come together was pure genius. This book gets dark, but we don't actually see too much gore, which I appreciated. It does allude to it, so if that isn't your cup of tea, this book definitely isn't for you. 

I'm a big fan of police procedurals and as far as that part of the book goes, this one worked for me. I loved the pair of detectives that is assigned this case. Thulin and Hess don't even like each other, but they make it work and their individual strengths shine as they figure this case out. I would love to see more of them in the future - perhaps solving another case together?

The action definitely picks up later in the book and luckily that was when I was able to devote a larger amount of time to reading it and was able to read nonstop. The twists and turns kept me glued to the pages and I did not guess where it was headed at all. It actually shocked me and that is always a good thing.

This chilling book had all the hallmarks of a great Scandi-crime thriller and I am so glad I finally picked it up. It was addicting, thrilling, atmospheric and totally binge-worthy. I will totally be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author and I just might be checking out his Netflix show as well!



  1. Ooohh.. Your review makes be want to read this even more! I will probably do a cheat sheet as well because I'm awful at following multiple characters in a big book. Thanks for the tip! :)

  2. I want to read it too. I like procedures and the fact that the threads intersect well adds to the interest. Thanks for the review.


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