Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gazan, Sissel-Jo (The Dinosaur Feather)

There is no question this is a compelling book. From start to finish, you are pulled inexorably to the end, or should I say, ends. (There are at least three of them.)

Now, I'm a Swedish mystery aficianado, so I was super geeked to see this in my Christmas stocking a few days ago. (Yes, I read it that fast.) I figured, the Danes must be learning to push back - break that lock that the Swedes have had for decades. I really wanted to see if that was true.

A solid B+ for effort and style. Gazan aces the Scandinavian mournful tone (in spades), provides a solid set of plots, and she's a biologist so her themes have a more interesting bent than usual. She has an easy, light writing style (as translated), with the occasional excellent turn of phrase to make you smile or raise your eyebrows.

Also, unexpectedly, Gazan gives you a boatload of backstory, which while also compelling, comes at a very odd time in the book, ie, the beginning. I mean, at least 70 pages of backstory. It moves very quickly, but it begins to dawn on you that this is an extraordinary amount, and either the author is brilliantly setting you up for the ending or she's a pretty dumb writer. How to know when it's the first book of hers you've ever read? There is, in fact, a reason for it, but I'll give nothing away here.

(I should also say that this is the first book in a long while that I have read in paper. There was something comforting about being able to turn actual, non-digital pages. No, that alone won't put me off using my Kindle forever and always.)

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