Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!


Featured Authors:  Frank Stephenson, iRaymond Sturgis, iNordette Adams, iSonny Hudson, iAnthony Dalton, iLiana Margiva, iJanet Caldwell, i

  Home > Action/Thriller > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Keith Madsen

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· Articles
· 10 Titles
· 2 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
Member Since: Sep, 2010

Keith Madsen, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.

Featured Book
Pacific Crimson - Forget Me Not
by Edward Patterson

Poetry memorializing the events and people of the Pacific War...  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Featured Book
Finding Billy Battles:
by Ronald Yates

Finding Billy Battles is the sweeping story of a man whose deeds and misdeeds propel him on an extraordinary and perilous journey from the untamed American West of the 18..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

   Recent articles by
Keith Madsen

• The New To Kill a Mockingbird
• Inspirational Fiction: Making Our Own Path
• Learning from the Gold Rushes
• Inspirational E-books: Living on the New Frontier
• Can Fiction Change the World?
• Inspirational Fiction in a Violent World
           >> View all

The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo -- Great writing, So-So Form
By Keith Madsen   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, April 15, 2011
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011

Share    Print   Save    Become a Fan

A review of "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" by Steig Larson, with some thoughts on what makes good writing good.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson is one of the more popular mysteries out there on the market today, and having just finished it, I believe the popularity is deserved. I am not normally a big devotee of mysteries, but I like good stories and this is a good story. It is a multilayer mystery which (after a somewhat slow beginning) keeps you turning the pages to find out more. Was the young teenager Harriet really murdered, and if so, who did it? But then (layer 2) what about the old man who wants to reopen this murder mystery 40 years later? Is he really as crazy as some people think, and why is the family he is part of so dysfunctional? And then there is (layer 3) "the girl with the dragon tattoo" herself -- an investigator who reminds me of an even kinkier version of Kalinda on The Good Wife. What drives her, and what are the life traumas she is so desperately trying to hide?

As a writer of fiction, I wrestled a bit with what made this book good. It wasn't necessarily the quality of the writing -- at least not from a technical point of view. The author frequently uses passive voice. I noted a number of occasions where he used awkward sentence structure, and he frequently jumped from the thoughts of one character to the thoughts of another within the same scene. Some of this might have been because of translation issues or because Steig Larson died soon after submitting the manuscript, thus cutting short needed editing.

Whatever the case, I liked the book, and I know from the book's sales that I am not alone. I think this is because sometimes the technical aspects of writing are sometimes emphasized (at least in writer's conferences and writing groups) more than some more important features of a book. I am not saying that the technical aspects of writing are unimportant (I was bothered a little by these problems in this novel myself). But I would say that there are more important issues which need to take precedence. These are:

INTRIGUING CHARACTERS -- An interesting story requires interesting characters. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" has them. Most interesting of all is Lizbeth Salander, a girl who has been categorized by the court system as troubled and in need of supervision, but who as it turns out is an idealist with super investigative skills, and who is the strong female lead much in demand by female readers. Members of the dysfunctional Vanger family are also intriguing, especially Henrietta (mostly described in flashback and report), whose character is laced with mystery.

LIKEABLE CHARACTERS -- Personally, I quickly tire of even a colorful character if they are so unlikeable that I start to HOPE someone murders them so I don't have to read about them any more! Steig Larson created characters that I wanted to get to know.

A TRUE TO LIFE PLOT -- I don't care for stories that are improvised to fit the author's distorted worldview. I like to feel this really could happen!

A STORY THAT MATTERS -- Steig Larson's story has to do with family dysfunction, sexual abuse and sociopathic behavior, all of which need more light shed on them. I lose interest when the only issue is, will the hot, privileged young woman and the hot, privileged young man get together in the end? Snore.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" did have its shortcomings. I mentioned the writing style. I also was somewhat disappointed with the ending (I don't need happy endings, but I do prefer appropriately hopeful endings.) Still, it was a book that for me was well worth reading

Web Site: Keith Madsen, Author

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Coin For A Killer by David Snowdon

This thriller set in London, Chicago, Australia, Hong Kong, Paris, the Netherlands and Tenerife, it’s espionage through and through!..  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

2012 Airborne Prophesy ebook by Nina Anderson

A conspiracy story that is fiction based on fact and gives us an idea of what is to come in 2012. Lots of flying (the heroine is a pilot) and romance...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.