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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ~ Stieg Larsson

July 11, 2009

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Genre:  Thriller

Publisher: Vintage Books USA

608 pages

ISBN: 9780307454546

Mikael Blomkvist, a middle-aged financial journalist set on exposing the wicked underbelly of the banking elite, has just been slapped with a libel conviction. Lisbeth Salander, a moody, tattooed, computer hacker in her mid-twenties is living P.I. job to P.I. job, occasionally acting as indie-band groupie and living in a state of general debauchery.

The two stand on opposite ends of the social scene in Stockholm until they are both tapped to participate in a bizarre investigation regarding a murder 40 years cold with not a lead in sight. In the ‘60’s, sixteen-year-old Harriett Vanger, grand-niece to the patriarch of one of Sweden’s wealthiest and most prominent social families, went missing. For four decades her granduncle, Henrik, has gone to obsessive lengths to find out what happened to his beloved girl the night of her murder, with not a single clue. Blomkvist is initially wary of taking on a most likely, dead-end project, but after much pleading and coercion by the eldest Vanger, Mikael, and subsequently Salander, find themselves mired in a family drama so dark and sinister, it’s amazing anyone has lived to tell about it.

The investigative team is a misfit pairing beyond a doubt but the two inevitably find common ground in their various sleuth skills, driving them together. Each is lovable in his and her own, quirky way, despite individual vices and hang-ups.  Mikael is a bit of an accidental playboy, although he is a stickler for the rules in everything outside of the bedroom. Neither of these habits dissuades the reader from jumping onto the Blomkvist, though as his vices are sort of endearing. Lisbeth is a much more dynamic, stormy character, filled with a horrible past and current digressions. She, also, find her way into the reader’s heart, though as she shows moments of softness and sincerity underneath her punk exterior.

Taking back anything I have ever said about thrillers being far from my cup of tea, I have fallen head over heels with the genre and this, right here, is the reason. Darkly disturbing and inherently twisted, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is as intricate a story as one could hope for while still maintaining a readable pace. The set up is astoundingly detailed but, again, never slows to an uninteresting speed. I am entirely too excited to dig into the sequel, set to come out in two weeks. The final book in the trilogy is dated for a 2010 arrival, entirely too long to wait, in my humble opinion.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2009 2:40 pm

    Hi Atlanta, nice review, very well put. Glad you’re excited. The USA got on the bandwagon last with these books, hence the delay with #3. I think the next one is the best, and #3 is not far behind. Basically it’s a 3-book epic (which was supposed to be 10). Take a breather, read my wife’s translations of Mari Jungstedt to calm down, then dive back in to #2. Best from Albuquerque, Reg

  2. July 16, 2009 8:46 am

    I liked the basic story of this when I read it last year. It was waaaay too graphic for my tastes, though. I’m not sure if I’ll go ahead with the rest of them for that reason. Might have to see if #2 is more graphic or not first.

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