The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson BOOK REVIEW

10/30/2010 02:29:00 PM

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Paperback, 644 pages
Publisher:  Vintage Books, a division of Random House
Paperback, 644 pages
ISBN:  9780307473479


Synopsis (from GoodReads): 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.

My Take: What did I wait so long for?  Oh, yeah ... lots of books for review and the SIZE of this book!  But ... oh, my goodness!  I really can't wait to sink my teeth into the next two .. they are just sitting here on my desk .. calling and calling to me.

This book is a cross between mystery/suspense/drama.  Lisbeth is an unusual sort of private investigator who is originally enlisted by her boss to look up information on Mikael Blomkvist, then just as quickly told that there's no need to continue the investigation.  She, however, has her interest piqued and continues the investigation on her own.

Mikael Blomkvist is the part-owner, publisher, and journalist of a respected financial magazine who is apparently fed a false story by an old friend.  When he publishes the story, he is sued for libel by the subject of the story .. and loses, which means he will be spending some time in jail.  To preserve the reputation of the magazine, he steps down from his post.  He receives a mysterious offer (through the same attorney who originally hired Lisbeth's firm to run a background check on HIM [although he doesn't find THIS out until much later]) from a millionaire industrialist (Henrik Vanger) to look into the matter of his granddaughter Harriet's disappearance for a year.  The best thing - the industrialist's offer to give him the real dirt on the financial "guru" who sued him for libel when the year is up.

For over 30 years, Henrik has been receiving a yearly 'gift' - a pressed, framed flower - an apparent mockery of the flowers that he used to receive as gifts from his granddaughter prior to her disappearance.  The police haven't been able to make any progress into the case, although Morrell, the original detective in charge, has never been able to stop investigating.

That's the bare bones plot.  But the novel is so much more.

We start out with a scene of a young girl who is being held captive by someone.

We read in turn about Lisbeth and Mikael.  It is a testament to the well-developed characters that as I read about one, I forgot about the other until the narrative came back to them.  

There is intrigue, and old stories, and a serial killer, and a sadist or two, and mystery, and incest, and familial rivalry and strife, and a book that makes you want to keep turning pages to see what is going to happen next.

If you haven't read it yet .. READ it.  Seriously.

Sensitive reader:  There are references to sex, profanity, and violent scenes.


Then, as she was on the threshold of her teenage years, All The Evil happened, which she did not want to think about.  The last outburst set the pattern and prompted a review of the casebook entries from elementary school.  After that she was considered to be legally . . . well, crazy.  A freak.  Salander had never needed any documents to know that she was different.

"You see.  You've already started to adapt to the submission principle.  I hold your life in my hands, Mikael.  You know that I can dispatch you at any second.  You pleaded with me to improve your quality of life, and you did so by using reason and a little good manners.  And you were rewarded."

"The fact is, I've never worked with such a brilliant researcher.  OK, I know you're a hacker and hang out in suspect circles in which you can set up an illegal wiretap in London in twenty-four hours, but you get results."

Book Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Disclaimer:  This is a personal copy.

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  1. Arghhhhh! After reading the review I am going to read this one UP to the very front pile!

    I cheated and watched the movie and was blown away by the actors. The actress playing Lisbeth is incredible and she played it with such enormous grit.

    Going to watch the second movie... heee heee at least I can get a head start with the movies ... then catch up with books... Lame I know but...

  2. I thought this was pretty good, and the film was a good adaption too. I'm not that excited about the American version coming up, but I'll probably see it out of curiosity.

  3. Great review. I haven't read this yet but bought the first two books. Then I read a few reviews from people who didn't like it at all. Kind of scared me off. I am so glad to see you liked it! Now I won't be afraid to dig into my copy!

  4. So glad you liked this one. It is definitely an example of when a book is well hyped for a reason!

  5. So glad you liked this one. It is definitely an example of when a book is well hyped for a reason!

  6. I thought this was pretty good, and the film was a good adaption too. I'm not that excited about the American version coming up, but I'll probably see it out of curiosity.


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