The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (by Stieg Larsson) is a book that was recommended to me by a few people. Every single one of them gave me the following warning, however: It starts off a little slow. That, my friends, is an understatement.
It’s like saying that clowns can be a little creepy. Seriously, who the hell thinks that clowns are a good idea?
The beginning of the book is slower than that kid who sat in the corner of the classroom eating paste. It’s so dry that it should be labled “Highly Flammable” (Editor’s Note: Most books are highly flammable. They are made of paper.)
At page 100, the story actually picks up. Once it does, the story is fast paced and exciting and pretty damn good. It’s a chore to get there, but it’s mostly worth it. I can’t reveal what the story’s actually about without ruining the shock of the first big twist, but I can say that it’s a mystery story. I always love the chance to solve a mystery.
Or re-write history. Woo-ooh.
A lot of modern mystery set-ups, in shows like CSI or House, follow the same basic path: The detective (or medical team) hits a dead-end, and they only break the case by noticing something completely unrelated to the case that lets them instantly determine the solution to the mystery. It’s lazy writing, and thankfully, this book doesn’t follow that route. Instead, you see the main characters researching every minor detail of the case, trying to piece together the solution from the information already provided. There’s only one example of an “instant case-solving brain-flash” and it ALMOST works naturally. You’ll know it when you see it, but I’ll just say that I’d be surprised if even a regular student of theology caught the connection.
“I totally missed it”
So the book’s pretty good. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever read, but if you can get past the terrible beginning, it becomes worth it. I do have to note that I was a little pissed off at the ending. Near the beginning of the mystery, the main character notes that we have a “locked-room mystery.” It’s a classic mystery set-up for a seemingly impossible crime. But when the book presents a solution that violates the rules of the locked room, the main character then says “Because it wasn’t a locked-room mystery.” Thanks main character! We never would have thought it was one if you hadn’t EXPLICITLY TOLD US THAT IT WAS. I haven’t been so upset about a twist ending since “The Monster At The End of This Book”
Screw you, Grover
Final verdict: I have the Duck Tales theme stuck in my head. Oh, and the book was good.