The Chestnut Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Serial killer fiction is one of my favorite subgenres, despite the fact that very few of these books reach a level of exceptional storytelling. But when it's done right, there's no better read for me.

Unfortunately, The Chestnut Man isn't done right.

I often feel as if there is some outline for writers of the genre entitled "How to Write the Typical Cliché Serial Killer Novel" of which they all follow and for some reason that's enough for the masses.

That's not enough for me.

The Chestnut Man follows this outline to a T. I'll sum it up for you:
Bad cop, good cop in love/hate relationship work under the threat of their up-and-coming superior who is more concerned with his career than actually solving a crime. Enter serial killer, throw in some gory scenes for distraction. Sprinkle in a few red herrings even though the killer is pretty obvious to most astute readers. Wrap everything up with bad cop saving good cop from killer but not before killer vomits the story of his entire friggin life as way of explaining why he started chopping people up as a hobby. Good cop and bad cop live happily ever after (fade to black). 

2.5 Stars ⭐

If you're not a frequent reader of this genre then I've no doubt that this one will be a sufficient and engrossing story. If you wish to compare it to other books with more depth and less cliché, I can recommend a few: 
Silence of the Lambs
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Collector
and a more recent addition, The Butterfly Garden. 

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for the advance reader copy of  "The Chestnut Man" I normally do not read novels set outside of the United States, but wanted to step out of my comfort zone, and kind of break the traditional detective novel tropes in the states. Apparently Mr. Sveistrup wrote a similar television show titled "The Killing' which I have not seen, but will be seeking out now that I have finished his excellent Novel debut. I would describe "The Chestnut Man" as a traditional Serial Killer Thriller, but with top notch writing! Everything is here, characters, two detectives, (yes the butt heads) really good atmosphere and plotting. Can be dark and gruesome at some points, but is about a serial killer that involves forensic details of a... wait for it, no spoilers, a doll left behind at the crime scene. Also forensic details of dead people! Again, wonderful prose and a dark story line make for great Nordic Noir! Thanks! #thechestnutman
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I picked up The Chestnut Man because I heard it was from the creator of the hit show The Killing. The novel is excellent and tells the story of a murderer leaving little handmade chestnut figures at each crime scene. We follow the detectives investigating the murders and beware..the story gets dark! Part police procedural, part crime thriller, readers will be unable to put this one down until the very end. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy dark crime fiction.
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Two detectives, Naia Thulin, a single mother trying to leave major crimes for a cyber crime unit and Mark Hess, a burned-out, disgraced former Europol investigator investigator trying are teamed up to investigate a series of gruesome murders of young mothers. At each murder scene they find a chestnut figurine which ties the crimes to disappearance of a young girl a year ago. The story is intriguing and its characters, especially Hess, are well developed. After several twists that introduce a few potential perpetrators, the story fizzled toward the, rather predictable, end. But, there is hinting of more Hess and Thulin cases in the future.
The book is very well written and will keep your interest until the end. We are adding it to our library collection.
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Wow! I totally loved this book! I have to admit that my hopes were already pretty high going in, because of how much I had enjoyed just the American version of the television show, The Killing (and after this tracking down the Danish version is in my future!). But, this is one of those few times where my hopes were exceeded! 

With short chapters and present tense, this book's immediacy makes it quite easy to just keep the pages turning. The characters have. enough foundation and growth throughout the they all feel authentic (and have my fingers crossed that this won't be the last that we see of them!). There are a few rather heavy-handed moments about clues being overlooked that are sure to frustrate readers, but really, for the most part this is a flawless procedural serial killer thriller that I genuinely loved reading.

It's super thrilling and the plot completely took me by surprise - which seems to get harder and harder as the years pass! I really didn't see these twists coming at all, and I genuinely can't wait until this one is published here so that my dad can read it, too - I am sure that he will have as much fun reading it as I did!
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Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Chestnut Man.

I was excited when my request was approved because if there's one thing I love about mysteries, its a mystery about a serial killer.

I've never seen The Killing but as the author is the creator of the series, I had high hopes going into The Chestnut Man.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Two mismatched detectives (aren't they always?) named Thulin and Hess are forced to work together to solve a series of grisly and gruesome murders. 

To make matters more baffling, a little chestnut man is left at the scene of each crime.

As Thulin and Hess probe into the lives of the murdered women, clues eventually point to a high powered female politician whose daughter was kidnapped and presumed dead over a year ago.

If you're sensitive or squeamish, this is not the book for you.

There's blood, torture and screaming. 

Also, there are the additional triggers of pedophilia, sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Minus those dark and tragic themes, The Chestnut Man is a formulaic, stereotypical police procedural.

First, Thulin and Hess don't get along. 

Hess is just kicking tires until his superior calls him back to his respectable position at the Hague, having been kicked down to Major Crimes following an act of insubordination.

Thulin is waiting for permission to join the CyberCrimes Unit, a more prominent and prestigious sector of the unit she wants to to be a part of.

Second, because Hess doesn't have a good reputation, when he objects to how the investigation is proceeding and makes valuable and thought provoking comments, his insights are (naturally) disregarded.

Which allows the serial killer to continue killing. Of course.

Third, Hess is an enigma, brooding and moody, smart and competent, as most detectives are characterized in novels. 

Thulin is also not your typical female detective. 

She is forthright, capable and dogged, the single parent of a precocious little girl. She is moody, but in a different way. She has had many lovers and not the type of person to dwell on love and relationships.

Fourth, I figured out who the killer was early on but I kept reading because I wanted to know WHY.

Most of the obstacles the detectives encountered during the case were typical, designed to impede the investigation or cast doubt on Hess' credibility. 

There's the usual bureaucratic politics and the grandstanding superior who knows way less than his detectives who are doing all the heavy lifting.

The writing is solid and the author manages to juggle many characters, keeping all the balls in the air, adding minor expositional details to flesh out each person.

I can't say I liked Thulin and Hess. I didn't dislike or hate them. They were rote characters and believable as far as detectives go.

The story held my interest and I was interested to see how it would end.
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I’m a huge fan of the show The Killing, so when I heard Soren Sveistrup had written a book, I knew I had to read it! 

As the synopsis states, a psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen and at each crime scene he leaves behind a chestnut man made of two chestnuts and matchsticks. What makes this even more shocking is the fingerprint left behind on each chestnut man. The Minister for Social Affair’s daughter had been kidnapped and murdered the year before (though her body was never found), so why would the little girl’s fingerprint be on these chestnut men? 

Detective Thulin and investigator Hess from Europol are sent on a wild goose chase as more victims are found, each with a chestnut man left at the scene of the crime, but each victim also has a limb removed. The first is missing one hand, the second missing if the killer is trying to make a human version of a chestnut man. Thulin and Hess are determined to find the killer and uncover the connection between the victims and the presumed to be dead little girl before it’s too late.

I had my suspicions throughout this book, and as the story came to a conclusion I was white-knuckled, gripping the edge of my seat. I’m glad my suspicions were wrong though. Honestly I was blindsided when the killer was revealed, but seeing how the pieces to the puzzle fit together, it all made sense. 

I really enjoyed this book. At times it felt like the story dragged on a bit, but I love how it all came together in the end. I could definitely see some parallels between the characters in The Killing and The Chestnut Man. Having seen the The Killing beforehand, I had high hopes for this book, and I think I set the bar a little too high, but nevertheless I thought it was a great book and definitely recommend it.
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The Chestnut Man is a big, sprawling, dark and brutal Scandinavian thriller that powers through a complex story of revenge with style, fascinating characters and vivid settings. I read an advanced readers copy of Søren Sveistrup 's heart-pounding novel, courtesy of NetGalley and Harper Collins. I hold them responsible for the loss of a night's sleep. The books needs a warning sticker!

Beginning with a chilling and bloody prelude (attention must be paid), the tangled plot moves quickly after a young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. The doll has a mystifying connection to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of a politician. Why mystifying? The man who confessed to her murder is behind bars and the case long since closed. 

The brutal murders pile up, and slowly the plot unravels with an explosion of violence and murder. Who is the Chestnut Man and why are all these people being viciously dismembered? Shhhhh.

I really enjoyed Sceistrup's writing. The plot is original and unpredictable. The book may be 500 pages long, but it unfolds at a frenetic pace. Every page counts as the author guides us through numerous twists, turns, cliff-hangers and red herrings to an outcome which is as bold as it is explosive. The book's length allows us the get to really know Sceistrup's players. The characters, their relationships and their backstories are wonderfully developed, even the supporting cast. An ambitious and uber-talented young female detective is assigned the case, but to her dismay is partnered with Mark Hess, a washed-up, burned-out Europol liaison officer with secrets of his own (a common thread in the novel – EVERYONE has secrets that haunt them). 

All and all, it sent me to find and read more Scandinavian mysteries and that's the sign of a really good book!
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Nordic Noir at its best. Complicated characters in a plot so well built that it was hard to put it down. Several storylines seem disconnected, until the investigators uncover every clue. I had no idea who the baddie was, why the murders were happening or how it related to the disappearance of a girl that has been solved. The murder scenes are horrifying and some chases in the dark gave me gooseflesh. An interview with a convicted murderer in a secure psychiatric institution was so scary that I wanted to put my Kindle in the freezer. And the ending... what an ending. I hope this is the beginning of a new series that I can keep reading for years. The rhythm is fast and the clues all tie together like a great puzzle. One of my favorite reads this year!
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/HarperCollins Publishers!
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Am I right in thinking that, ever since The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo made such a splash, Scandinavia has become the epicenter of smartly written mystery thrillers?  Maybe it’s the long, cold winters, huh?  Nothing to do but cozy up by the fire, drink hot chocolate, and dream up unspeakable acts of utter depravity.  Then it’s either write them up or commit them, I guess, but scriptwriter and TV producer Soren Sveistrup writes, thank goodness, and he does it well.  His creation, the Chestnut Man himself, is a shoo-in candidate for the Boogey Man Hall of Fame - whip smart, cool as a cucumber, driven by vengeance, and he is human.  Well, he looks human, anyway.  And speaking of deceiving appearances, seedy, sad sack detective Mark Hess, on reassignment for Europol, is sharper than he appears and finally puts it all together after local authorities have botched it.  You know they did.  Mark’s character will pique your interest, and so I’m thinking, hoping, more to come, maybe.  In the meantime, read this one, and if someday you stumble upon a crude doll, a little man made of chestnuts and matchsticks, run…… like the Boogey Man is after you.

This one won't be released for a couple of months, September 3 I believe, but it's worth the wait.

Full Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided to me by HarperCollins Publishers / Harper via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I would like to thank the publisher, the author and NetGalley for providing me this opportunity.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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Honestly I picked this because it made me think of Tha Chalkman. I really enjoyed this though. It was totally awesome of a thriller. 
Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a honest review.
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I am giving this book a definite WOW! If you are looking for a thriller that will keep you wanting to read it long after your eyes have said, enough, this book is for you.

One of the most sadistic killers you are ever going to meet roams the pages of this excellent story. Psychologically relentless, mesmerizing scenes and complicated characters will keep you guessing right until the end, and when you do discover the killer's identity and the reason why this person is killing you will still not find an ounce of understanding or sympathy in yourself. At least I didn't.
You have to add this one to your reading list. 

Did I tell you it's set in Denmark. That's another plus for me.

Highly, highly recommended!
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Oh man.  This was a thrilling read from the first chapter through to the end.

I loved "The Killing" series, so when I saw this book was from the screenwriter, I couldn't wait to dive in. I was not disappointed. Set in Denmark, The Chestnut Man is the story of the hunt for a serial killer. The writing is excellent. It is one of those reads where you want to fly through it because the suspense is killing you, but you want to savor it, so that you don't miss the details and you really don't want it to end.

It is rather gruesome in a couple of spots, but those spots are brief.  This was a fantastic binge read.

Okay, Soren Sveistrup, I am ready for your next book. 

Thank you to #NetGalley and #HarperCollins for an eARC of this book for an unbiased review.
#TheKilling #TheChestnutMan #SorenSveistrup
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I wish we could give half stars, because this is really a 4.5 stars for me!
I will tell you, for countries that consistently rate as some of the happiest in the world, the Nordic-Swedish-Danish sector of the world sure can write some really dark fantastic novels. This dark crime novel, The Chestnut Man, comes from one of the creators of the television show The Killing. I loved that show! So when I read that he wrote this novel- I was in. I wasn’t disappointed. The novel starts off several years earlier, with a horrific crime. Then fast forwards to current day, where it seems a serial killer may be on the loose- leaving creepy Chestnut Men (not something I think we make in New England?) at the scene of his/her killings. There are many twists and runs along the way. Some red herrings thrown in too. The partnership of Thulin and Hess is a good one- Thulin works long hours and often has to rely on her sons granddad to fill in. Hess, her new partner she’s stuck with after he got suspended from Interpol, doesn’t seem to have much of a life either. They don’t seem to hit it off. But things change as they both become sucked in and enthralled by this case. I really liked it. It is DARK- I struggle with storylines with crimes against children. But you can skim the few paragraphs that are really hard to take. Overall, this is the kind of book that will keep you up reading well past your bedtime
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My guide always for mysteries remains Agatha Christie.  Why?  Because she sets the scene right away.  You know what is the mystery, who are the players and are dying to find out who-dun-it.  I don't find that same ability to get a reader's interest in the plot in most books, and not in this one either.  

We have here an author who evidently can write, although it is always hard to critique language usage  if we are reading a translation from another language into English.

So, I would say to all mystery writers:  read Christie!  And then write your book with some tantalizing details that make you want to find out the end.
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My thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book. All for the price of a measly review!
So, my thoughts? This book will make it to my top 5 books published in 2019. Seriously good writing!
I pride myself in being able to figure out whodunit, This one had my mind churning. Did I figure it out? Yes. But then, no. Then yes. Crap! I had changed my thinking so many times that I blew it! This was one hell of a story, and just downright creepy. I love chestnuts, but I don't think I'll ever look at them again without seeing chestnut people. I'm looking forward to more from this author.
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Excellent crime novel. The writing is nice and crisp with short, to the point chapters. Each chapter left me with a little nugget, a little piece of the puzzle to ponder, but also compelled me to "just read one more". The storyline felt very plausible, and believable. Best yet, I felt there were several possible culprits in the cast of characters, and I was wrong in who I thought it was!

Definitely recommend!

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion
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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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