Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vintage Crime (Random House)

Originally written in Swedish by author Stieg Larsson, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a gripping novel of mystery, tragedy, politics, journalism, family matters, and of course, love. This book first caught my attention when I was working at Barnes and Noble over a year ago. I'll admit that it was the neon yellow green cover that caught my eye (the other cover not pictured here). Along with the title and the author's name sprawled across, the book looked quite foreign- which made me even more interested. (I believe mystery and suspense is the most fun genre to read.) Regardless of the cover, it was deemed a "wildly suspenseful....utterly engrossing thriller" and other reviews from my fellow readers had relayed it as a good read.

What I was most excited about was the fact that it was authored by a non-English speaker and it's setting was in Sweden. I love how this novel spans time and place. And if I can't travel, I will at least read about other places. The names are different, the landscapes and weather create a unique setting, and the speech is native to the land, not just English.

Larsson is a terrific writer. I applaud his ability to pace the story while writing at a vivid yet coherent level. His descriptions are clear but not overly drawn. The reader can picture the characters not only as he decribes them but also through their words and reactions. I felt like I could pick out any of his characters on the street if I just overheard their conversation.

As far as content goes (no way I'm going to ruin this for you), I was impressed at the stories he wove into the novel. He kept his main characters central to the story, but he did not leave any side story untouched. It is a quick-paced mystery with many names and places. The reader must pay attention in order to follow the protagnist, Mikal Blomkvist, as he searches for the truth behind the Vanger family. Other than the overly graphic descriptions in a few places, the novel was very exciting and well crafted. Larsson has produced a rich and suspenseful tale, and I cannot wait to read his next one, The Girl Who Played With Fire.

(It's a great, curl-up-on-the-couch, cold-weather read! Enjoy!)

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