Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

Hello Friends!  I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much this week.  It’s been crazy hectic at work with two late nights and to top it off, my daughter is sick.  I hope to be back to my usual schedule next week.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Rating:  ★★★★

I’ve been putting off this review because I feel like I really suck at reviewing thrillers.  I think the selling point of a thriller is mostly the plot, but for exactly that reason it’s not something I want to talk about.

My initial impressions upon starting this, was that there were a lot of view points to follow.  I was initially a little confused trying to keep them all straight, but things started coming together after you start following Hess and Thulin (our two detectives).  The introduction of new view points remains pretty consistent through out, but it becomes less confusing after the story is established.

The content of this book is super dark.  Not only are these killings gruesome (and graphic), but the plot focuses heavily on abused children.  I think if I had known that going in I wouldn’t have requested it.  As a mother child abuse is a topic I really struggle with, and there were points I almost quit.  Not because the book was bad but just because it was really that hard.

The chapters and structure are just what I want for a thriller.  Short, chapters and initially very quick pacing.  At 500+ pages I do think it is a little bloated for a thriller, and the book dragged a little before approaching the climax.  There is a turning point when Hess uncovers some new evidence, and it was full speed ahead from there, almost impossible to put down.

The imagery and tone are eerie and chilling.  The author uses a childhood nursery rhyme and a seemingly innocent childhood activity (the making of chestnut men) and turns them into something dark and foreboding.  This is a thriller that borders very heavily on horror.

I didn’t guess the ending (at all) so when the big reveal came I was pretty dumbstruck.  It didn’t come out of left field or anything and I loved the way all the pieces snapped into place.  There is a twist, but it’s not really in regards to the killer’s identity.  The twist was one of my only complaints (aside from the depictions of child abuse).  It’s not that it was a bad twist, it’s just that it wasn’t clarified enough.  The reader knows what happened, but the author skirts around the specifics.  I re-read that particular part a couple times and still couldn’t piece it together.  It frustrated me a bit considering the author doesn’t shy away from telling any other part of this story.

Overall, this is a solid thriller that I think would appeal to most fans of the genre.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

The Chestnut Man releases on September 3, 2019 can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

26 thoughts on “Book Review: The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

  1. I love thrillers, but I’m with you on the child abuse. It can be absolutely heartbreaking to read sometimes. I’m also the strange reader that handles and prefers really dark books, so I might consider giving this one a try seeing as how you still gave it a good 4 star rating…
    I hope your daughter gets to feeling better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! She seems okay this morning but I think she doesn’t complain very often and it makes me worry more. I’m probably being too overprotective- but that’s motherhood I guess.

      If you think you can handle it- go for it! I enjoyed everything else about this book, it’s just those parts were difficult. Let me know if you want further details on any parts, happy to give a heads up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I’m absolutely the same as a mother. It’s day 3 of my kids at their new school and I’m still nervous when I drop them off.

        I might add it to my TBR for sure. I’m definitely curious to see what all happens in the story and you have good reviews so I’m absolutely interested


  2. I have trouble with child abuse/murder/kidnapping stories as well, even now that my kids are older. At some point I might read this but I feel like I’ve read so many reviews at this point, maybe I don’t need to??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I hate when that happens! (And now I’m wondering if that’s why I still haven’t gotten to some of the more popular SFF authors like James Corey and Sanderson).


  3. That cover… is icky. I would have a hard time reading this book just because of that alone. Knowing it’s over 500 pages, and deals with child abuse, AND is more on the horror side of thriller, though, it’s definitely not for me. I’m glad you still enjoyed it, even with its problems!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope- it’s definitely not a book for everyone! And I’m not sure which version of the cover that is (I think it might be the UK version). Mine was black and red and the chestnut man was a scribble. I totally understand though- if I had been told about the child abuse thing I probably would have skipped it.


    • No kidding! I am currently reading through The Night Circus, which is another 500 pager.

      I actually don’t mind how long any book is- but if it’s going to be a long book, I prefer if the chapters are relatively short (like less than 5 pages) which both this one and The Night Circus are. I guess it just makes me feel like I’m progressing faster, although it’s probably also adding to the length.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Even though I am not a mother, I tend to draw the line at abused children, it’s a concept that makes my very soul cringe – and yet in your description of the writing, particularly when you say that it’s a thriller with horror overtones, I felt some Stephen-King-like vibes that might compel me to give this one a chance.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually- I was reminded a lot of Stephen King, so if you are aware going in to expect that, this might be a great pick for you. I’m not sorry I read it, despite the harder-to-read scenes.

      And you definitely don’t have to be a parent to be effected by child abuse scenes. Those were hard for me too long before I ever had a child.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Another Sunshine Blogger Award from AK of Everything is Bad for You | Extra Life

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