Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the phone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. 

I'm not generally one for thrillers, but I saw this one at a library sale and picked it up for a whopping $1. I am on occasion fond of a smart thriller (practically an oxymoron, I know), so I took a chance. And I really enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It reminded me a bit of State of Fear, but it was much better, and was a mystery thriller as opposed to an environmental thriller. "Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there's always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo." More specifically, Bloomkvist is hired to investigate what happened to Harriet Vanger by her old uncle. 

Like many 600+ page thrillers, it takes a while for all the book's various sub-plots to combine. You have the story of Blomkvist's battle against libel charges, the story of Lisbeth Salander, a lot of background information, and of course the main mystery. For nearly half the book, Lisbeth and Blomkvist's stories don't converge, although Lisbeth is interested in Blomkvist. 

There is so much going on in this book, and there are so many members of the Vanger clan that the reader must be suspicious of. This book is so complex, and there are so many different threads of the narrative that have to drawn together. And drawn together they are, very skillfully. 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is definitely an "adult" novel, if you know what I mean. There are many deeply disturbing scenes.  I did really like it though; it had its darkly funny moments, and its moments when one of the "good" characters gets their revenge, and you, the reader, feel so good too. And, like most thrillers and mysteries, there's a moment when the detective (in this case Bloomkvist) makes a major break-through in the case. 

I enjoyed both the characters of Bloomkvist and Lisbeth. They are both so complicated, and so interesting. I also learned a lot of things that may (or may not) be true about the Swedish system. This is the first of a trilogy, and I might read the sequel, though this book wrapped things up pretty well. I loved the various twists and turns in this book, as the mystery grows ever deeper. 

Read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo:
  • if you like thriller
  • if you like mystery
  • if you like Swedish fiction
644 pages. 
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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