It starts slowly and ends slowly. In between, the novel has more than its share of often bizarre twists and turns. Yet, the shock value of these is consistently undercut by Larsson’s wooden writing. (Or is it the clunky translation by Reg Keeland that’s responsible?)
Still, as an entertainment, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” does entertain. It keeps the reader turning pages.
There is a cinematic quality to the story. Lots of visuals. Lots of action. No wonder the book has already been made into two movies, one in Swedish and one in English that will come out in less than a week in the U.S. And that the novel’s two sequels have already been filmed in Swedish, and are certain to get an English language treatment as well.
There’s also, at the heart of the book, the fascinating enigma of Lisbeth Salander — she of the dragon tattoo — an ill-adjusted, erotically charged and scarred gamin and world-class computer hacker.
She’s a haunted victim and a dangerous adversary, compelling enough to carry this overweight, overlong book on her thin shoulders.
And enough to carry me, after finishing “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” immediately into the second book of Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander trilogy, “The Girl Who Played with Fire.”
Patrick T. Reardon