Book Review

THE CHESTNUT MAN by Søren Sveistrup

Rating: 4.5 / 5

THE CHESTNUT MAN by Søren Sveistrup was my Book of the Month pick for September and it is also our buddy read pick for the next meetup of the Southern California bookstagrammer group I’m a part of. I also wound up getting the audio from the library while I was reading this one which I will say helped a lot since I’m not the best at figuring out how to pronounce names.

THE CHESTNUT MAN is part mystery/thriller and part police procedural following the hunt for a viscous killer in Copenhagen who leaves behind a handmade chestnut man at each brutal and bloody crime scene. As if this isn’t tragic enough, investigators are surprised to find that a fingerprint belonging to a missing girl is present on each of the chestnut men. She has been presumed dead, but is it possible that she is still out there somewhere?

This book is perfect for fall (I kept finding myself wishing I was reading it on a chilly night because sadly it has been hot and humid for those of us in California). The book delivers on great descriptions of creepy crime scenes and it really focuses in on the characters who are a part of the investigation, from the investigators themselves to the family of the missing girl who have had their hearts broken again and again.

This book isn’t for the weak of stomach. I wouldn’t say that it is incredibly gory for the most part, but it definitely does have its moments of gore. The killer in this case certainly has no care as to the mess he creates and leaves behind. There are also trigger warnings for child abuse, sexual and physical.

I have seen quite a few people comment that this book is slow to get going (usually followed with a statement that it’s worth it). I agree to an extent that it is a bit slower in the beginning, but I didn’t find that to be really slow. The book steadily increases the pace, creating a slow burn to allow you to get invested in the characters and the case. It really does an excellent job of ramping up the thriller aspects of the story the further in you get.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a chilling fall read. I was actually shocked that this was the author’s debut novel (though he is a well known television and movie script writer) because the book is so well done. I will absolutely be hoping for more novels from Søren Sveistrup in the future!

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