My Review | The Chestnut Man

Book Review of The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup - by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads -

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. 

I’ll be honest, I rarely read murder mystery novels. I have nothing against them I just never gave them an opportunity until I saw this book chilling in the member’s fave section of BOTM and my curiosity was peaked. Especially when reading the little bio I just had to get to the bottom of this mystery. Boy was I pleasantly surprised with this book from the characters, to the storyline, to the murders, I was on the edge of my seat, eyes scrolling through the pages, trying to piece together what was going on. 

“grief is love made homeless,”

Our story centers around a string of murders suddenly happening in Copenhagen. Some of our chapters are separated by different dates and time, jumping from different events happening from a flashback, someone being murdered, jumping back to our main characters that the readers follow.  Soren Sveistrup doesn’t leave out any details so the reader may have to keep up with some details but we get to figure out along with our main narrators. We have Naia Thulin, a detective awaiting her promotion so she can work in a different department and Mark Hess, a somewhat mysterious person from  Europol who seems to be dealing with his own demons. The two of them are sent on a case to figure out who is killing these women and why are they leaving these little chestnut men. The mystery begins to deepen when they run fingerprints on them to find out they have to fingerprints of a missing child that was already presumed dead a year ago. Reading this book felt like I was watching Knives Out or a murder mystery to that degree. Clues quietly hidden throughout the chapters, red herrings, any mystery novel device you can think of was distinctly used in the novel.

Though it was a hefty read, there were moments where I couldn’t put the book down. Where Thulin or Hess would find something and I felt a similar excitement with them. The pacing was so well written and there wasn’t anything that felt out of placed or forced. I especially enjoyed how natural the relationship of Thulin and Hess progressed and Thulin wasn’t disregarded any way because she’s a woman. Of course I had my assumptions but all the characters seemed so authentic in some way. Sveistrup’s depictions of gore even made my skin crawl so if you’re a bit squeamish then I’d suggest bracing yourself or staying away. There was no holding back. All around enjoyed every aspect of the book, the classic twist towards the end really threw me for a loop! Though there were lots of details, backstories, and characters to introduce I’d say I was not too overwhelmed with everything and felt that the story progressed with ease. I didn’t feel like I was reading too much considering how much fun I was having going along side Thulin and Hess’s adventure.

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“Hess had long thought of death with indifference. Not because he hated life, but because existence was painful.”

Sure the book has loads of details it needs to sort through but the suspense was killing me. And Sveistrup keeps me guessing. Every page I was wondering who the killer was and how the hell did they have a missing girls finger prints. But the details were hidden in such a way that once you’re finished you’ll be going “ohhh how did I not see that coming,” which is an important asset for any mystery novel. You don’t want to make anything obvious but you want to make it fun for the reader. Plus the gore is so impressively written. Now I don’t mind reading anything too gross but the Chestnut Man was not afraid to be gruesome. It didn’t feel too cartoonish, in fact Sveistrup’s descriptions felt a little too real. Impressive and gross. The story itself never felt too forced and the suspense was apparent through every chapter. There were moments I couldn’t put the book down I just needed to solve this damn case myself. But oh man when we got to the big reveal I was just banging the book (carefully) because it was so good. So good that I was mad I didn’t think of it. Honestly if you want to read a story with a twist that’ll make you audibly gasp this one is the one for you. 

I was impressed with Sveistrup’s attention to detail and managing to keep the story as tight as possible. As in I didn’t notice the story going in the wrong directions and all the plot holes were properly filled. When you’re reading the bio the story may feel outlandish (which is what I thought too) until all the pieces started to fit together I wanted to scream at the book. In a good way. Screaming like I didn’t see this coming kind of way. Which isn’t that the best way to read a book? If you want to read an interesting mystery with a twist that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader then check this one out!






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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them.