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All booksHorrorThe Chestnut Man
The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

The Chestnut Man

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Søren Sveistrup, on your first book!

by Søren Sveistrup

Quick take

This slow-burn Danish detective thriller follows a truly gory killer. Squeamish stomachs: You've been warned.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

Why I love it

Stacey Armand
"You Be the Judge" Winner

Calling all fans of Nordic Noir! Do twisted plots, gritty atmosphere and detailed police procedures make your thriller-loving heart race? Do you live for stories that have a violent serial killer on the loose, reading them late into the night with all the lights on, electric bill be damned? Then do I have the book for you!! The Chestnut Man delivers all this and more—complete with a creepy children’s song and a tenacious female detective who will stop at nothing to catch the killer.

The book opens with a scene that is not for the faint of heart (our madman favors axes and saws) and a police force utterly baffled at the latest in a series of murders, with nothing but a handmade chestnut man bearing fingerprints of an unrelated missing girl for a clue. Desperate to avoid a scandal (the missing girl’s mother also happens to be a prominent government official), the detectives work around the clock to solve the case ... before the murderer strikes again.

Red herrings abound in this gruesome whodunit, which allows the Chestnut Man to stay one step ahead of the law. The book begins slowly, but by the end I found that I had yelled, “RUN,” several times as I read alone in my living room. With an ending that begs for a sequel and a plot that will have you checking the locks on your doors, this is the perfect fall read for thriller fans who delight in the dark world of the macabre.

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Chestnut Man.

Member thoughts

All (11079)
All (11079)
Love (6762)
Like (3715)
Dislike (602)
11341 ratings
  • 60% Love
  • 33% Like
  • 5% Dislike
  • Slidell, LA

    This definitely is one of the best books I’ve read this year.. it was long and started out kind of slow however when it picked up it was hard to put it down...⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For The Chestnut ???? Man !!

  • Agawam, MA

    Multiple viewpoints • Who dun it? • Foreign country crime • FBI-esque • excellent character development • intersecting story points • False leads • Sublime influence • Chopped short chapters • Thinker

  • Portland, OR

    Another book I couldn’t put down. I enjoyed the twists/turns and the fact that the book was slightly longer. I’m glad it isn’t Fall right now- I have a feeling I won’t look at chestnuts the same way

  • Little Rock, AR

    If you’re looking for a vivid, gut wrenching, “OMG NO WAY” kind of mystery/thriller - this is it. I love crime shows and this book was like watching one of them. Definitely not for the weak stomached!

  • Austin, TX

    What a wild ride this was! 500+ pages and I could NOT put it down. One of the most exciting thrillers I have ever read. If you’re a fan of Nordic Noir, I promise you won’t regret giving this one a go!

  • Yakima, WA

    At first this book plays you like a typical murder mystery. The interestingly unique writing style is what keeps you interested. Don’t you dare put it down, though. It’ll throw you at the last second.

  • Steubenville, OH

    Loved this book. A slow burn, but not boring. It was more because it followed police work “realistically” and not - they find the victim, find the killer, boom solved. One of my favorite BOTM choices.

  • Caledonia, MI

    This. Was. So. Good. I’ve been a part of the BOTM club for 2+ years and this is easily my favorite. It’s a chunk of a book, but easy to blast right through. Kept me on my toes, with a surprising end.

  • Cedar Falls, IA

    At first I was unsure I wasn’t going to enjoy the book as I was told it was gory, but am I glad I took a chance! It wasn’t bad like I thought it would be. I flew through the pages I loved it so much.

  • Rio Rancho, NM

    This book is amazing in the most disturbing way! You’re constantly trying to figure out how everything is connected while finding bits and pieces that make your stomach turn. I couldn’t stop reading!

  • Bakersfield , CA

    This book is so scary, disturbing, and chilling. It’s a very fast pace book I finished it in three days which is fast for me lol. I didn’t connect with the characters much but the plot was amazing...

  • Lafayette, IN

    Couldn’t put it down. There were a lot of great twists & turns to keep the reader guessing. I did think some of the plot lines could have been developed a bit further, but not enough to change rating.

  • Lincoln , NE

    *SPOILER* I love the book, but one thing I could never understand was how the police never even considered the fact that the killer was within the department after the third murder, he knew the plan.

  • Dearborn, MI

    I loved this fast paced tale of detectives trying to catch a crazed serial killer. I loved the short chapters and the different perspectives on the case. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this.

  • Woodbury , NJ

    Definitely a cool mystery that takes place in Denmark. Didn’t baby the reader w/ over explaining Danish government or policies. Kept me guessing who the killer was for most of the story. Great ending.

  • Lexington, KY

    Loved this book! A crime/mystery novel that keeps you guessing and with an “twist” ending that wasn’t predictable. With over 400 pages I read it in less than 3 days cause I couldn’t put it down

  • Mesa, AZ

    The story was fascinating. I liked how it was told from many angles. It felt like a show was playing out. I didn’t have time to get bored with a character or even dislike one. The chapters were quick.

  • Dixon, IA

    This book may seem long, but it is a very quick read! The author keeps you wanting more after each chapter you don’t ever want to put the book down! Not for the weak stomach people, very descriptive!

  • Denver, CO

    Utterly compelling- despite being 500 pages I couldn’t stop reading and finished in two days! Definitely had scenes not for the squeamish and a bit unsettling but not too bad for horror wimps like me

  • Corapeake, NC

    Couldn’t put it down. Had me at the edge of my seat. A great police mystery set in Copenhagen. I didn’t find it as gruesome as the reviews said but I watch a lot of cop shows. Still pretty creepy.

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