The Chestnut Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

"Scary" books can be hard for me to get through sometimes, as I don't like reading anything too scary alone at night (which is when I do most of my reading), but I simply couldn't put down The Chestnut Man! Read this book!
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Boy oh boy this was a good one! Super short chapters immediately draw you into the very fast pace of this story. Each chapter is under two minutes (according to my Kindle and my slow reading) yet the author is able to dig in deep and build really solid characters and never leave the reader behind during the lightning speed of the very intricate plot. You like a fast paced read and a sadistic serial killer? You will not be disappointed with this one.
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A serial killer is on the hunt in Copenhagen. Leaving behind a chestnut man as his calling card, the killer marks their presence at gruesome crime scenes. These tiny dolls made from matchsticks and two chestnuts could hold the key to a much older disappearance. A lone fingerprint rests at the bottom of each doll belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter, who was kidnapped a year earlier. The girl was believed to have been murdered, but her body was never found.

Detective Thulin has been paired with Hess, a detective recently suspended from Europol, to find out who is behind these killings. Who is the Chestnut Man and where will he strike next?

I’m keeping my synopsis short and sparse for THE CHESTNUT MAN because I think it’s best to go into this book fairly blind. I say fairly because I know for most it will be hard to agree to read a 500+ page book without a hint of what is going to happen. I urge you to trust me on this one and pick up a copy of THE CHESTNUT MAN quickly!

Last year this book hit shelves in the UK and I was mesmerized by all of the fantastic reviews bloggers were putting out. It was in my cart to order from Book Depository several times. When I heard it was finally coming to the US I knew I needed to beg, plead, and cry for a copy. The book gods answered and I was not once disappointed while reading this beast!

Sveistrup chooses to open THE CHESTNUT MAN with a compelling and gruesome event from the past. The reader instantly knows that this event is somehow tied to the crimes that are happening in present day, but the link is puzzling. Each victim and crime scene, as well as the detective’s moves are methodically plotted out for the reader. There isn’t one bit of information given that doesn’t play a part in making this book work. That being said, the pacing isn’t breakneck for a book being marketed as a thriller. It is however true to its roots as a book I would classify as Nordic Noir.

Helping to keep the plot continuously moving along are the main detective duo of Thulin and Hess. These two are an odd couple match-up. They have completely different backgrounds and different ambitions, but at the end of the day they both want to do what is best for the victims. I loved how they each shined individually, as well as working together.

THE CHESTNUT MAN is dark, twisted, gritty, and intensely atmospheric. Your attention will be grabbed from the opening pages and you’ll find yourself up late into the night chasing a serial killer. You’ll be guessing at every possible motive and suspect only to be swept away in an ending made for TV. This book isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s perfect for diehard crime fiction and Nordic Noir fans who enjoy intricate and complex police procedural stories.
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This is one of the best thriller I have read in a long time. Its fast pace and will keep you guessing until the very end. The ending was  shook me. filled with twist & turns, I promise you won't want to miss this one. I highly recommend. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I did not care much for The Chestnut Man. I read police procedural and crime novels often, but something about this one bothered me. I read some and skimmed some, but I didn't like what I did read. I found this story disturbing, and it's definitely not for me.
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A current Danish murder is entwined with an earlier closed case by a child’s Chestnut Man.

Almost a year ago, a girl named Kristine disappeared. Her mother, Rosa, is high up in Danish politics. Police find a mentally ill man who confesses to the crime and is quickly convicted. However, Kristine’s body is never found.

In the present day, Laura is killed in a graphically violent way on a local playground. Suspicion immediately falls on her live-in boyfriend. Out of town for the day, his alibi is thin. If their relationship was perfect, why had Laura changed all the house’s locks while he was gone without telling him? Her autistic son can’t help explain and he was the only witness inside the family. However, when a Chestnut Man is found at the scene of Laura’s murder with the partial fingerprint of Kristine, the investigating detectives, Thulin and Hess, decide to dig into the earlier case too.

This enthralling police procedural contains a complex and challenging mystery. Despite the rather graphic murder scenes, it is not the typical dark Nordic Noir. I adored this twisty book. It is perfect for armchair detectives who want to challenge themselves. 

Even though it is over 500 pages, I was disappointed when it ended. Now I guess I will have to watch The Killing on Netflix by the same author and pray for a sequel. 5 stars!

Thanks to Harper Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Whoa...this book was so dark, brutal, gory...fantastic...

I have been wanting to get ahold of this book for a loooong time. I finally got lucky enough to get a copy. I must admit I was a bit intimidated when I discovered it was over 500 pages and that it was a police procedural. Trust me, none of that matters. The chapters were short and I flew through them. I found the tension building as I raced through them. I am not a fan of police procedurals but this had such a intriguing blurb that I had to dig in and yes it was addictive.

The crimes are not for the faint of heart. I found myself almost wanting to cover my eyes and peek at the pages, it was that gory. Yet what did I expect? This is a flipping serial killer that is into some weird games. He leaves his calling card at each scene...a handmade chestnut man. Yet the tiny chestnut dudes all have something in common. They all have the fingerprints of a victim that has been thought to be dead for a good year. Hmmm...is she alive or did she make these before she was brutally murdered?

I was all over the place with my suspicions as to whom might be "the chestnut man" as the killer was justly named by the media. We follow along with the team of detectives and they were just as much in the dark as I was as to who this twisted psychopath was. 

I loved the ending and dare I say I predict there may be a sequel? Do I dare say the author left an opening for yet another twisted book? I really thought this was going to be just "too much for me" when I started it. Yet, it was like a bad accident, I just could not look away. I got caught up in the story and I had to know.........who is the chestnut man?
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From comments, I expected serious gore, even splatterpunk. But although it has gore (and certain revelations later on that may be psychological triggers), it wasn't nearly as extreme as I expected or as the reader's hook seemed to indicate. A plethora of character building and evolution (and devolution) and an enormously twisted mystery provided quite the entertainment and kept me in suspense throughout. This is fine Scandinavian Noir indeed.
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From the writer of the TV series “The Killing” comes a debut that’s a twisty good read from start to finish.  Sveistrup takes us on a romp that is not for the feint of heart.  There is more than one gruesome scene, that at times made me cringe.  With a rock solid plot and an excellent set of characters this book drew me in and kept me riveted until the final page. From that final page it looks like we will be seeing more of Thulin and Hess in the future.  I’m hoping for much more!!
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A thrilling murder/mystery that takes place in Denmark.  A serial killer is leaving chestnut men at the scenes of his crimes- little dolls made of matchsticks and chestnuts. A fingerprint on the dolls ties them to a closed case involving the disappearance of a young girl. The twists and turns of the plot keep you guessing and entertained up until the very end.
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I was a HUGE fan of The Killing, so when I had the chance to read The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup, I jumped at the chance! An amazing setting in Copenhagen (I love it there), and it just did not disappoint!
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This book is fast paced with an engaging storyline. It’s great for all fans of translated Swedish mysteries. . There is a  lot of detail and the characters are well developed . It keeps you turning pages and the unexpected occurs frequently.
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Søren Sveistrup's "The Chestnut Man," translated from the Danish by Caroline Waight, is a gruesome thriller in which men, women, and children are brutally slain and, in some case, mutilated. The book opens at a crime scene in 1989. A veteran police officer, Marius Larsen, responds to what he thinks is a routine complaint, but when he arrives at his destination, he sees things that would turn the stomach of even the most hardened professional. Among those who will be affected by this tragedy are the Danish Social Affairs Minister, Rosa Hartung, whose twelve-year-old daughter disappeared a year earlier; Mark Hess, a former employee of Europol who was relieved of his duties and reassigned; and Naia Thulin, an intuitive, savvy, and conscientious detective in Copenhagen. When she is ordered to partner with Hess, she takes a dislike to her messy, apathetic, and uncommunicative new colleague.

This intense and macabre novel has a plot similar to many that we have seen before. An unidentified perpetrator is stalking and targeting women for death. When he strikes, he leaves behind a "chestnut man," a makeshift doll, as a kind of calling card. Naia and Mark might not be fond of one another, but as events progress, both become obsessed with stopping the carnage. Their boss, Nylander, who is the head of the Major Crimes Division, is none too happy, because against his wishes, Thulin and Hess persist in dredging up the past and looking into sensitive matters that Nylander would prefer to sweep under the rug.

Sveistrup pulls no punches in his critique of people like Nylander, who are more interested in their image than in the search for truth. Hess is an intriguing character with a past that torments him, but he proves to be a smart, determined, and courageous sleuth who is unafraid to step on the toes of important people to get to the bottom of a bewildering mystery. Unfortunately, at over five hundred pages, this book is too long and meandering, with an abundance of red herrings that cloud the investigation and allow the murderer to continue his killing spree. Although it generates a great deal of suspense and angst, "The Chestnut Man" is not for the faint-hearted. The author describes in graphic detail horrendous acts of torture and abuse. In addition, while the countless hours that Hess and Thulin spend in their eagerness to connect the dots eventually pay off, this macabre work of fiction ends on a sinister note that could foreshadow even more bloodshed to come.
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The cover of this book is a bit dark and ominous.  It draws the eye.  Flip the book over and it reads:

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

The Chestnut Man.

Come Play.

( Eyes bulge.  Shiver down spine.)  I am hooked.

Gah, chills.  The kind of chills that make you want to dance the hebbie jebbies away.

Whew!  This book was a bit nerve racking in a good, I am scared way.  I kept whispering to myself "This is just a book.  This is just a book.  This is just a book."

Once the story settled  and the hunt for "The Chestnut Man" began, I settled right into this captivating psychological thriller.  Written by the creator of the brilliant Netflix series, "The Killing," author Sore Sveistrup has done it again.  This book delivers all the elements of a phenomenal dark crime story.  It is haunting, engaging, and wonderfully crafted.  A perfect read for cool and crisp autumn night to come.
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If you like Scandi-Noir stories (I love them) in books, in film, or on television, you will enjoy this new story from Soren Svelstrup, the creator of the television series, "The Killing." Copenhagen is the place, and its characters are detectives who work in Homicide for the Murder Squad. The key figures are Naia Thulin, and Mark Hess, a temp from Europol who waits for the verdict on an investigation of one of his slip-ups in Bucharest.

The plot is gory, murders of women with amputated limbs. As the detectives piece together each crime, it becomes clear that there is a serial killer on a mission. The murdered women all have a history with Danish Child Services about neglect in parenting. Additionally, a little toy found at each scene, a homemade toy called a chestnut man, makes it clear the killer is sending a message.

The novel becomes complex when Rosa Hartung, Minister for Social Affairs, returns to work after an extended leave when her daughter, 12-year-old daughter, Kristine, was kidnapped one year ago. Rosa remains hopeful that her daughter is alive even though Linus Bekker claims he killed Kristine and resides in a criminal psychiatric facility. Meanwhile, Rosa receives several death threats. Her marriage to Linus is at the breaking point. He wants to move on, and Rosa hangs on, by a thread, to the idea that Kristine is alive.

The murders stack up, and Thuil and Hess cannot get a handle on any suspects. They give it their all and SS creates an intricate suspense story where the answer seems just within reach but a murderer stays one step ahead of us. I loved this gruesome story and the relationships developed by the characters. As the story unfolded, I thought about how one must be wary of trusting everyone in your life.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper for the ARC of this excellent book (September 3rd).
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The Chestnut Man is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you reading until the final page. Sveistrup hits it out of the park!
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The Chestnut Man takes so many twists and turns in this dark, disturbing crime novel. It is well written, smart, disturbing and a fast paced read. Leave the lights on!

**I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.
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If you like the shows The Killing (by this author) or Hinterland, I think you will love this book.  A great psychological thriller showing the darkness that can be found in people, it also is a great police procedural.  Thulin and Hess are great as the investigators and the mystery surrounding a recent horrific murder and how it could be tied to the disappearance of a politicians daughter years ago is intriguing.  Great Read!
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This intense Danish mystery/thriller completely delivered. By turns heart-pounding and plot-twisty, the novel had me captivated and, really, I couldn't finish it quickly enough. I've heard of The Killing but hadn't watched it yet - I'll be putting it on my list now!
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I really enjoy this genre of Scandinavian mysteries, so I am more than a bit biased but this is a great book. I am looking for other books by this author that are published in English, so that I can continue reading  his work. Great character development, well developed plot, and doesn't use the cliche literary mechanisms that are so popular with American artists.
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