The Chestnut Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

The murders were very intriguing. I didn't know who the killer was. Some of the Danish names were difficult to read because I didn't know how to say them. That didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book.

I received an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.
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This was a highly gruesome novel but incredibly intriguing. It was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good thriller. Be warned it is highly graphic but is necessary to accurately tell what the author was trying to portray. Incredible novel that will stay with me.
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The best psychological thriller of the year. Perhaps in the past several years. Dark, brutal and gory, this is a must read of any fans of the genre and definitely for any fans of the show, The Killing.
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This book started out great but did not live up to early promise. The author knows how to write and the set up was good but the plot got too convoluted and unrealistic. Still not bad.
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A serial killer leaves a little chestnut man at the site of each murder. Also left are fingerprints of a government minister’s child, kidnapped a year previous. Sveistrup portrays well a family on the edge of grief clinging to a tiny ray of hope. The police investigation gets a bit detailed, leaving Dear Reader hanging desperately to any investment in the story. The climax and denouement are sufficiently twisty and well-written. It’s worth the effort to slog through the slow parts to get to the revelation. I received a digital copy from the publisher Harper through NetGalley.
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The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup is a chilling serial killer thriller set in Copenhagen. Thulin and her new partner, Hess, are assigned what is initially believed to be the isolated murder of a single mom. More murders occur, each with a chestnut man left behind. Every time the police think they have answers, another happens. And it's possible these murders are tied to not just the recent kidnapping and suspected death of Rosa Hartung's daughter, but a mass killing decades in the past.

This book is yet another example of why I've fallen in love with Nordic mystery/thrillers. There are so many interlocking stories here, all fascinating, and I couldn't wait to see how they tied together. Masterfully done! Just when I thought I'd figured things out, WHAM! Another curve ball. I'm just sad that one of my favourite characters turned out to be the culprit. 

Besides the character in question above, Hess was my favourite. He's so broken, and at first you think he doesn't really care about the case. He's actually a Europol agent, sent back to Copenhagen for some offense. But as the story progresses, you see how smart he is, and learn why he's rather standoffish. I think he's a good man, dealing with a lot. I'd love to see another story featuring Hess and Thulin, or just Hess alone. I'm kinda cranky, too, because now I want to read more of Sveistrup's books and I can't find them in English! I'm quite tempted to learn Danish just to read more.

***Many thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins/ Penguin UK for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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If you are still looking for the perfect dark, creepy, mysterious read for October then this is the book for you!

I am not going to go into the storyline here, it is best to know next-to-nothing when diving into this book. That is also my motto! What I am going to tell you is that this book is a must read for those who want a great thriller with a lot of mystery and intrigue.

This book doesn’t waste any time and opens with a gruesome murder scene. This is the moment I knew I had finally found the perfect October read that delivers the thriller punch I was looking for! Moms are being killed, body parts cut off, and what is up with all those chestnut men being left behind at the murder scene?!

I love that the police detectives are at a loss as to who and why. Just when they think they have gotten two steps ahead, they realize they have been outsmarted once again. They want nothing more than to stop these horrendous killings and it cannot be soon enough.

If this book is sitting on your TBR list I would highly recommend you pick it up today!!
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As a big fan of The Killing, I was extremely excited about this book. I’m happy to say that it lived up to my expectations and then some. It’s one of the best books of 2019. 

The Chestnut Man has several fascinating characters, all of whom are flawed in realistic ways. The main duo, Thulin and Hess, are members of law enforcement. They begin investigating a series of murders by the titular Chestnut Man. Are these murders connected to the year-old disappearance of a local girl? And why does the killer leave a chestnut man doll behind at every murder scene? 

The author managed to create a story with many minor and major parts, a ton of red herrings, and a couple of reveals that I never saw coming. This book is longer than a lot of modern thrillers, and it does get a bit slow in a few sections (but not in a bad way). Overall, it’s a truly compelling read that in some ways mimics The Killing’s formula yet also manages to be a completely original story. 

If you like thrillers and are okay with some gore, this may become your new reading obsession. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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There’s a serial killer terrorizing Copenhagen. He doesn’t just kill his victims but first puts them through hell through his torture. His signature are the chestnut dolls he leaves behind as his calling card and the case detectives will leave no stone unturned to find this psychopath.

Naia Thulin from the Major Crimes division is paired up with Mark Hess who has just arrived, or been exiled, from Interpol. She’s not excited to work with him and frankly, he seems a bit of a mess. For his part, Mark will do whatever it takes to get out of Copenhagen. Both of the main protagonists like all good fiction detectives are carrying a lot of baggage but their characters still feel interesting and you want to get to know them.

The stakes are high for both detectives as the fingerprint that was identified links the crime to the Minister of Social Affairs, Rosa Hartung. It’s her daughter’s fingerprint they have found and that raises the question about her disappearance many years ago. Everyone assumed her dead but now there is hope for Rosa but everyone has to work quickly as possible to catch the Chestnut Man.

One of my favorite characters in the book was Naia’s daughter Le who is smart and sweet. There are definitely some gruesome details of the killings so it was nice to have a character removed from all of that. The book is a bit on the longer side but it’s a thriller and it’s a good one. I enjoyed it so much and am really hoping there will be a sequel.
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The Chestnut Man is a dark, chilling, character-driven suspense read with lots of police procedural descriptions, which I absolutely love. This book gave me nightmares, I am not kidding, I actually had to quit reading it at night because I was not getting enough rest due to all the disturbing dreams I had. This said, I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves gripping storyline, strong characters, gory and unnerving descriptions of crime scenes, and just a well-written story with many unexpected twists.

Thank you NetGalley, Harper Collins Publishers, and the author for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC of The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

Copenhagen is being terrorized by a psychopathic killer who is brutalizing women.  His calling card?  A stout man made of chestnuts, but the real intrigue comes when a fingerprint on those men are one of a little girl who was abducted years ago.  A girl belonging to the Minister of Copenhagen.

I have a serious problem that I'm truly ashamed of.  It's why I struggled with the Dragon Tattoo series, and also why I don't read a lot of fantasy.  I have a tough time with names.  Remembering a culturally familiar name to me is hard enough, but when I'm not used to them, it's like my brain just cannot compute.  It's terrible.

Having said that, I had to initially work hard on this novel, switching between audio and ebook in order to keep everyone straight.  BUT, once I was pretty firm in my who's who, I was all in.  This is a great crime novel, the characters were excellent and the plot was thick and intriguing.
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The Chestnut Man begins in 1989.  A police officer doing a simple check walks in on a massacre.  Flash forward and mother's are being killed and mutilated.  What do the two have in common?  That's what keeps you reading.  I have to say that the killer was not a big surprise.  The clues led right to him, so the reveal wasn't a twist at all.  Finding out the backstory was the whole point.  For a book as long as it is, there was very little true character development.  I don't feel I know Hess well as I should.  I know a lot about ridiculously obscure Danish Parliament.  I guess that's something.  In the end, I do want to see Thulin and Hess again.
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I did not care for the book.  I could never really get into the book.  I tried to read the book several times.  Other people may enjoy it, I'm not one of them.
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If you are looking for a page turning thriller, look no further. This was a wild and crazy ride that you can’t put down. I would recommend this to anyone looking for their next must read thriller! While the book is long you don’t really realize how long it is because you are so into the storyline!
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This debut novel by Soren Sveistrup, a well known screen writer starts off at a rather slow pace.  Before long, the story starts to gallup along weaving the different plot lines together.  For fans of Nordic fiction this is one not to be missed.  A good, albeit violent, and entertaining read.
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A spellbinding tale. difficult to put down.  This is a wonderful read that 'I will promote and use for Reader's Advisory for many years to come.
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Rating: ★★★★☆+

Synopsis

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.

Review

Thanks to HarperAudio and the author for an LC of The Chestnut Man in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this listening copy did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

If it isn’t obvious, based on my reading criteria, that requesting the audio for this one was a no-brainer, then you haven’t been following my blog closely enough. This debut, alongside North’s The Whisper Man, were two (2) titles I had high up on my TBR since their announcement as I have come to LOVE mystery thrillers over the past couple of years, thanks in part to CJ Tudor’s The Chalk Man and Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.

The Chestnut Man is another must-add thriller alongside Michaelides’ The Silent Patient, North’s The Whisper Man, and Tudor’s The Hiding Place that cements 2019 as the ‘Year of the Thriller’. Bloody addicting, ferociously gripping, and knowingly relentless. This is exactly what I desire in a thriller and Sveistrup absolutely delivers.

Knowing Sveistrup was the creator of ‘The Killing’ and that this was his debut novel, I had a few (albeit tiny) reservations about jumping into this book with both feet. I have been let down enough times in the past be it a director, screenwriter, etc. and have come to wonder if it is just name alone that sells books and brings in rave reviews. Well, having finished The Chestnut Man, I can tell you that if you have the same reservations, throw those things in the trash and light them on fire. There is no need to hesitate going out and purchasing a copy of this novel for yourself.

First off, the opening chapter is breath-takingly terrifying and is an automatic “well I have to read chapter 2 now” guarantee. How can you not love when a thriller opens with brutal violence, murder, and an air of mystery? On top of that, the way the author begins introducing the cast of characters, giving us glimpses into their everyday lives on top of the reality they are set in, really feels like the setting of a TV drama. You can see where episodes end and others begin; cliffhangers leaving you wanting to flip to the next page late at night. Chapters are broken up between different characters, showing the overarching mystery from several POVs and even giving us eyes into the department and behind those of the suspects. It all works together so well.

This book sort of reminded me of the show Broadchurch with David Tenant and Olivia Colman (Anna Gunn replaced Colman on the US version called ‘Gracepoint’). Everyone is a suspect. Every object at a crime scene is a clue. It is almost impossible to figure out who the culprit is until the very end (unless you are super intuitive, which I am not). I loved the show, so that may have helped me love this book even more than others.

All in all, if you need another thriller in your life, this is an easy purchase. If you enjoyed any of the above referenced thrillers (The Silent Patient, The Whisper Man, or The Hiding Place), do yourself a favor and grab a copy of The Chestnut Man. Just don’t come crying to me if you scream the next time you walk by a kid’s craft table and see one of these little men staring back.
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Wow what an incredibly engrossing and amazing book The Chestnut Man was!   The characters, attention to details, and the plot were all so well done.  Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the twists and turns were simply riveting.
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Definitely had me hooked from the start but I just had a little trouble keeping the characters straight. Some names too similar I think. But I loved everything else about it!
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Thank You to NetGalley and Harper Collins and the author for the digital ARC I received in exchange for a candid review.

The beginning is extremely violent and the murders continue along this graphic line.  The story is  page turning and gruesome as expected for a suspense crime novel.  I didn’t find any part obvious, although the ending did feel a bit conventional and seemed to be never ending.  I feel like the explanation of why the killer committed each murder would have created more suspense throughout the novel rather than at the end.  It seemed anticlimactic at that point.

Having said that, I did love the plot of the story and the twist to who the Chestnut Man was.  I enjoyed the detective’s stories and how the author went through the problem solving for the different elements of the story.  Overall, it was still a good story.
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