The Chestnut Man Review
Updated: Apr 14
If you find one, he’s already found you.
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 really wanted to love this one, but there were so many plot holes and avenues that were left open or not fully detailed that I just couldn’t love this one. Now even though I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading this. I truly enjoyed reading this.
This book had been sitting on my shelf for over a year now, I had picked it up as my book pick for BOTM back in September 2019. I had been wanting to read it but this book is definitely on the heavy side with over 500 pages. But after a fellow bookstagrammer, @kenzies.bookshelf decided to post that she and a few others were doing a buddy read of it. It finally convinced me to just pick it up and read it.
Going into this, the concept of a serial killer killing what appears to be random victims, women only, that have no connection with one another other than a chestnut doll left at the scene of the crime. How intriguing is that? I was hooked by its summary especially the sentence “If you find one, he’s already found you.” So creepy! And the beginning of the book keeps the creepiness as it starts with a murder.
I was hooked by its summary especially the sentence “If you find one, he’s already found you.”
The book flows really well, despite being over 500 pages. The chapters were kept short, often being only a couple of pages long. I also looked into it, the author is a screenwriter and it truly shows. This book flows like it’s a film, I felt like I was reading a film. Now I often say that I love reading because it’s like a movie in your head. But this felt different from other books I’ve read. One thing that made it feel more film-like was all the cliffhangers that occurred at the end of chapters, similar to maybe how TV show episodes might end. And there were so many! And then you’d have to read another 3-5 chapters until you’d get back to where the cliffhanger was.
This book flows like it’s a film, I felt like I was reading a film. Now I often say that I love reading because it’s like a movie in your head. But this felt different from other books I’ve read.
After a while when I’d get to another cliffhanger I started to get annoyed and go “Oh come one!!” These cliffhangers started to feel forced, especially at the end. Going off the cliffhangers, I would also get annoyed by the fact there were so many moving parts and so many characters. It was starting to get a bit difficult to remember each of the characters and their roles. It’s the numerous amount of characters that made the cliffhangers obnoxious. When we moved on to a different set of characters, I wasn’t sure when we’d circle back to the cliffhanger. Though when we finally do go back we were never told upfront the details. They would dance around it until near the end of the chapter and then maybe tell us upfront. Not always though. Sometimes they wouldn’t say it at all. This happened when the killer was discovered, all the characters figured it out, but it wasn’t voiced to us until we got to the next chapter that focused on the killer themselves.
There were also some parts of the book that were never fully discussed. Including, the backgrounds of the characters. For some of the characters, they hinted at things from their past or their backgrounds, things that seemed significant but then they aren’t ever explored. Or we’re told the least amount of details needed that just adds confusion. Including the reason behind all the killings, which to me it just felt a bit far-fetched.
So it’s because of the far-fetched serial killer, all the cliffhangers, and the surplus of characters and moving parts, I couldn’t love this. I wanted to, truly. I think the premise and the film format make this book extremely unique. I also think there’s a high probability there will be a sequel which I’d totally read. I just personally didn’t love this, I liked it, it was still a joy to read.
Overall, this is definitely a unique thriller mystery. I’ve never read a book quite like this before. I’m glad I finally picked this up. I’ve read it’ll also be a Netflix show too! I’m excited to see how that turns out! I think anyone who enjoys murder mysteries will enjoy this one!
Keep reading for more of my thoughts on The Chestnut Man!
WARNING! Spoilers :)
The entire reason Genz was a serial killer was a revenge plot towards Rosa, a politician. Except for me, this seemed a bit far-fetched. We only get one chapter that explains what occurs between these two characters and it supposedly includes the reason that Genz wants revenge. I even went back and reread it several times after the fact and we’re barely told anything. We’re left having to fill the rest of the details in ourselves, which I didn’t like. All the other parts of the book were fully explained except this one. So this reason just didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand why Genz felt the need to blame everything on Rosa. It would have made more sense if we were told exactly what happened.