The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup – A Book Review

chestnut man


As the leaves fall, he’s coming for you . . .

One October morning in a quiet suburb, the police make a terrible discovery.

A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing.

Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Examining the doll, Forensics are shocked to find a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

Can a new killer be the key to an old crime?

And will his spree be over when winter arrives – or is he only just getting started? . . .

Author: Søren Sveistrup

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 512

Release Date: 05/09/2019

Genre: Thriller

Series: N/A

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating of ‘The Chestnut Man’: 3 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon, Audible


This is a book that got some great reviews when it first did the rounds on the blogging circuit back in 2019 and, typical me, I picked it up a good few years later. It’s not that I wish I hadn’t picked it up, as I enjoyed it, but I feel that if I had left it a few more years I probably wouldn’t have missed out on anything.

The Chestnut Man hits you pretty hard, almost right away with the gore. The author seems to think that we’ll only care about his story if he goes in hard ASAP and keeps that level of torture up throughout whenever his killer needs to get down to work. Personally, I felt the gruesome parts were a bit too over the top. None of the story would have suffered if what was being done was lessened, but gore for gore’s sake, I suppose.

I really liked the quick, snappy chapters. They served to keep the pace feeling very quick and always left you wanting to start the next chapter. So bravo on getting the hooks in often. What I thought was less good was 98% of the characters. That’s approximately how many characters were thoroughly unlikeable. Even ones who you’re supposed to be rooting for tend to be pretty miserable to read through. There were only a couple of characters that actually felt likeable. Not a great feel for a five-hundred page book. Really made me feel every one of those pages and, I’ll not lie, I put it down for a month whilst reading as my interest just struggled to be held.

I don’t really feel like the pay-off was worth the length of the book but, saying that, I really enjoyed the end chapters after everything had been said and done. The author tied things up neatly at the end and left me feeling like I’d had a better time enjoying it than I actually had.

The translation was excellent. I’ve read numerous translated works that seem to lose a lot along the way, but this read like a native English speaker had written it 99% of the time (which, if I’m honest, is as good, if not better than some genuine native English language speakers). So bravo to Caroline Waight for helping to craft an easy to read novel.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. But, I’d also say ‘don’t rush to get to it or put it above books you already want to read’. It’s good, but not mind-blowingly good like some of the reviews I’d read suggested.

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