The Chestnut Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Compelling, haunting, dark and twisted, THE CHESTNUT MAN by Søren Sveistrup is a terrifying read that you simply cannot put down. The chapters are short and well-paced and I found myself halfway through the book in the blink of an eye without even realising it. The setting is eerie and perfect for the story and the characters are flawed, relatable and memorable which is always a must for me. There are secret, lies, evil, and heartache and I highly recommend this book.
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The Chestnut Man is about a series of murders happening and being left behind are little homemade chestnut figures! The murderer is always one step ahead of the police, and every lead leads them no where. This was a very intense book and the plot was amazing.  A lot of details, graphics, and gore. It's not a book for a weak stomach. There were definitely times that my heart was racing and kept me on the edge of my seat.  Hoping for once the police would make it in time. You never knew what was gonna happen next, and that's definitely something I look for in a book. If you want a book that will give you nightmares, this is the one!
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For lovers of Nordic Noir fiction, this is perfect. Original, flawed characters, unexpected turns, random interesting facts (chestnut men?????), unusual locations. Loved it.
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To call this book a thriller is an understatement! It’s suspenseful, riveting, unpredictable and sometimes disturbing. I’ll never look at chestnuts the same way again! Many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Wow. This book was a simply brilliant piece of classic Scandinavian crime fiction, long but riveting throughout. This is the debut novel from Soren Sveistrup, the writer and creator of the crime drama The Killing, and he did a fantastic job transitioning from TV to fiction. 

The book focuses on two detectives in Copenhagen: Naia Thulin, a young, intelligent, and fierce detective who wants to leave the Major Crimes Division for the national cyber crime force, and Mark Hess, a somewhat disgraced Europol detective who was forced to return to his position on the Major Crimes Division in Copenhagen while he’s on administrative leave. 

Thulin and Hess investigate the brutal murder of a young mother, Laura Kjaer - her body is mutilated and left in a playground with one hand amputated. A little chestnut man(something I had never heard of - a small doll that children make out of two stacked chestnuts and matchsticks as arms and legs) is left right next to the body. They think nothing of the chestnut doll until forensics comes back and shows that it has a very special fingerprint on it - the fingerprint of Kristine Hartung, the daughter of the Minister of Social Affairs, who went missing a year before. A few days later, a similar murder happens, that of Anne Sejer-Lassen - both hands are amputated and there’s another chestnut doll hanging next to her body. Thulin and Hess scramble to find the links between the two murders and try to keep one step ahead of the killer - but he’s much smarter than they think. 

The book is told in shifting perspective, from Thulin and Hess, but also from other detectives, from the Minister of Social Affairs and her husband, even from some of the victims. The chapters are short and punchy, each one leaving you on a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep reading, but isn’t cheesy. Sveistrup adds in lots of the classic detective moments: the ones where the detective is going about his business, not looking for clues in the case, but hears something tangentially related and has a breakthrough. I love those moments. 

Sveistrup’s writing style, no doubt influenced by his background as a screenwriter, makes you visualize everything as if you’re watching it on screen. He leaves out no details and conveys all the complexities of each actor - there are no flat characters here. It toes a brilliant line between detective fiction, serial killer cat-and-mouse, and political thriller. This book is often grim and gruesome, dealing with topics and scenes that are not for the weak of heart. Like I said, he doesn’t spare details. 

The twist and reveal at the end is satisfying, with a perfect build-up and a great explanation for what motivates the killer. It was a slam dunk for the novel, a book that not only creates tension and back story well, but totally delivers on the ending. Although this book is LONG, it goes by fast - you really don’t want to put it down until you find out who this crazy killer is.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Free copy received from NET GALLEY

Have you heard the term 
"Scandi-saturated', no?  Well I made it up because writing gets so copy-cat these days but I took a chance because of the show "The Killing" where if you watch the first two seasons you can only lament for the lack of quality t.v.

Okay, so I took the chance on the typical man/woman who hate each other, in this case Hess, and Thurin.   It took off for me from there.  Gritty, dark and CRAFTED; you will not want to have the 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' after this one.  ENJOY!
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Wonderful heart stopping addition to
 nordic Noir.
Loved the fast paced gritty thriller with its twists and turns.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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The plot here is very similar (or, should I say stereotypically formulaic?) to many other crime thrillers. Much of the story follows the same familiar tunes once the murders start happening, and it’s a bit disappointing. You have the two detectives who don’t get along (one “efficient” young female climbing the career rungs, and the other down-on-his-luck with a mysterious past and a chip on his shoulder)... but then there is the hint of a romance! Because of course if there is ever a male and female detective working together, they have to find each other attractive! There’s the whole concept of the senior officers not wanting to listen to reason/evidence because “budget blah impossible blah you’re wrong and you need to drop this blah blah blah.” Everyone rejects any and all valid ideas. The killer is always two steps ahead (which is commonplace in most serial killer thrillers; obviously to be build tension and increase the chase momentum, but still a cliché). The procedures and cat-and-mouse sequences of the investigations all play out just like countless other books within the genre— on a side note, this also reminded me a lot of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman).

I even called who the killer was from the very beginning, and I knew it without a doubt, which you must understand made the rest of the 500+ pages a totally unsurprising SLOG! I was (and still kind of am) irritated about it.

One of the biggest mistakes for me personally (aside from how easily I deduced the killer) was also towards the very beginning, but it’s a spoiler, so I can’t speak much on it here. Same goes for the end, and not connecting the dots... just know I find fault with that kind of sloppiness.

So much information/evidence is conveniently misremembered or looked over, and it’s embarrassing. The fact that the characters repeatedly make idiotic decisions doesn’t help the matter. Many of the cops/detectives, victims, suspects, and witnesses are so childish and catty, or stubborn, or prideful, or just plain dumb, that their actions create ideal opportunities for the killer. It’s only so, again, convenient that on multiple occasions do we have a character who could easily PREVENT something bad from happening, but who does nothing, or says nothing, or does just the opposite of what they should be doing, which gets someone killed, or at the very least a crucial piece of evidence/information lost/missed. I guess it’s to make the murderer appear more intelligent/menacing, and the story more tense, but all it ends up doing is making the entire selection of other characters look like absolute morons.

Keeping on the characters for a moment, can I just say that they’re a horny mess? All the men are lecherous pigs (damn-near every single one exudes macho Hetero energy), and all the women are MILFs or sexpots with issues. We are made to want to hate the men and hope for the women, but this book clearly wants to live in it’s torture-porn victimization of women. It was the same scenario every time, though. A quick chapter to make you feel sympathy for the person who was about to die violently, and then another chapter later to make you despise the character they were with. This scenario played out separately !!!three times!!! and got old fast.

I just don’t get why no one listened to Hess? Like, as detectives, you’d want to be open to any and all possibilities, but everyone around him was so goddamn stubborn! It was excruciating, frustrating, and annoying to watch it play out over and over: Hess making a valid connection, and then being shot down. And once past the 75% mark (a trudge, if there ever was one), it’s so remarkably ridiculous, and not in a good way. I could only suspend my disbelief so much to let all the inane character actions and situations go, but the total lack of foresight is mind boggling, especially considering the amount of investigative work the detectives, cops, and intelligence communities contributed to the case(s). 

I hate to rant about the faults, but there were just too many. And it’s not that the writing was bad (it’s actually very well done for a genre book), but it was plotted poorly/lazily. It’s also at least a hundred pages too long. The story could easily, and frankly more appropriately, work better as a film or limited TV series. As a novel, it simply lacked any sort of surprise or suspense for me. In the end, I’m left disappointed. I expected more from the creator/writer of The Killing, but this one wound up being nothing more than a generic Scandinavian serial killer thriller.
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“””The heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit Scandinavian television show The Killing.

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

Intrigued??? This heart pounding, knock the air out of your lungs when you turn the page to find out what’s next book is full of psychological mind play. If you like deep, dark, twisted, wtf reads THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!!!
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A high government official's daughter has been missing for a year. But she appears to be tied into several recent gruesome murders. This book also deals with child abuse so be forewarned if this is a trigger for you.
While well written, it could have used some better editing but still was a book that flowed pretty well.  

Warning: This book is not for the faint hearted. It consists of nightmare inducing chapter after chapter. This book really, really needs to be made into a movie.

Can't wait to see what comes out of this author next.
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I read thrillers occasionally. many times I am left wanting but this one..... WOW! This had me so anxious I had to stop when it got dark. Thrilling, heart pounding suspense.  I loved it. I hope he writes more novels and I need to watch his films (with the lights ON)
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I love Nordic mysteries and this is no different. The characters are real people with everyday stuff to do along with solving horrific serial murders. There is the requisite creepy calling card at each event, and connects to events in the past.
These are atmospheric stories and it can sometimes feel the cold and dark.
A bit bloody and sadistic for me, but otherwise a fun book to read.
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Very difficult to get this one out of my head, hard to put down.  Loved the Stieg Larsson books, Jo Nesbo books & so this one sounded interesting.  It has just enough of that Kroner talk that you know you’re once again in Scandinavia (Copenhagen to be specific) with characters like Nylander & Hess.  What an intriguing book.  Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for the opportunity to read this ARC free of charge for which I gladly offer a few kind words.
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Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book.
This story was very chilling.  The setting was new to me since mostly I read thriller based in US or UK.  It's always good to read something from other countries.
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This is an amazing debut novel and one you will not put down once you start. A very psychotic serial killer is stalking the streets of Copenhagen committing some very gruesome and baffling murders. The story is not for the faint of heart but nothing is written here with the intent to shock the readers.  It is all relevant to the storyline. I would consider this one of the best examples of the growing list of nordic noir novels to hit the market in the past few years.  Thank you NetGalley for the advanced reader copy for review.
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The Chestnut Man is a prodigious thriller. It's really an extraordinary debut from Soren Sveistrup. The pacing is impeccable. The characters are engaging. The plot threads are wonderfully woven together as the book races towards a utterly satisfying conclusion. One can only hope we see more of Hess and Thulin in the future-- in print or on the screen. Bravo!
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This books was amazing.  It was SO good.  I could NOT put it down. All 500+ pages of it.  I had NO idea who was behind the killings until the killer was revealed at the very end.  The writing was fantastic.  The characters were brilliant--so much depth to each and every one of the them and the story kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time from page one.  For some reason, Swedish mysteries, at least the ones that I have read, are so much better than many of the American ones that I have read and this one is a shining example.  Every detail is so precise.  The author leaves nothing to the imagination.  One of the best, most gruesome bloody murder mysteries I have ever read.  I will definitely look for more from this author!  Do not miss this book!!!!
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A psycho is terrorizing Copenhagen and must be caught NOW!
Good grief his M.O. is using handmade dolls with matchsticks and two chestnuts at each and every crime scene.
Seriously amputation of each victim is occurring and the madness is continuing. Something must be done!
What kind of sicko is doing this and why?
Is this a publicity stunt, attention getter, someone well known in the community?
The ending will floor you.
Trust me it's that good!
Thank you to Soren, the publisher, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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Chilling creepy a serial killer on the loose.Scenes you will never forget .Two detectives on the hunt two detectives with their own issues.A well written thriller impossible to put down. #netgalley # harpercollins
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I love this genre, it is raw, gritty, and character driven.  I must say this one did not disappoint, I did have it figured out pretty early but getting there was a great read.  I will be watching for more of your work.

Thank you for allowing me to read for
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