Title: The Chestnut Man
Author: Soren Sveistrup
Length: 528 pages
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Source: Book of the Month
Recommended for Fans of: true crime, police procedurals
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.
When this was a BOTM choice in September, I skipped because The Chestnut Man was described as a very gory, gruesome, and chilling thriller, and none of the other choices appealed to me. However, as soon as I started seeing so many rave reviews for this book, I knew I had made a mistake. I finally corrected that by adding this to my February box for a buddy read.
The Chestnut Man was my first “Nordic noir” book. It took me some time to get used to the storytelling style. There were lots of characters to keep up with and I had trouble adjusting to the constantly shifting POVs and names I didn’t know how to pronounce. However, the short chapters kept the story moving at a pace that felt much faster than its 500+ pages. I just had trouble keeping up at the beginning, and I prefer stories where I feel closer to the characters.
There were frequent twists and turns to keep me turning pages on the edge of my seat. Technically I guessed the killer’s identity early on, but I didn’t entirely trust my prediction so I was still surprised by the ending, and the why was much more important than the who.
Overall, this story was wild! It was intense, and while there were some brutal and gruesome descriptions of violence, I did not think it was too much. I loved the creepy atmosphere. The story was very well done and suspenseful, but I just couldn’t fully get into the storytelling, so I’m not raving about this book as much as many other reviewers. A solid 4 stars for me! I will definitely check out future books from this author and other similar books.