Archive for December 20th, 2008

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Saturday, December 20th, 2008


By Stieg Larsson

The Short Take:

This is one roller coaster ride of a mystery: a missing and presumed dead young heiress, the smoke and mirror financial schemes of an international company,the depravities of a serial murder, journalistic rivalries. Whew, what a trip! The best news is that there are two more page-turners coming from this now-deceased author.

Why?

This book comes fully loaded with mystery, danger, interesting characters, and a fast-moving plot. Set in Sweden, all the local details meant to give you a sense of time and space actually make it a little difficult for people like me whose knowledge of Sweden borders on nil. But ultimately they do not get in the way of the exceptionally smart and fast-paced plot.

An added bonus is the creation of such an intriguing cast of characters who are sure to appear in the next two books (the original intent was to create a 10 book series). The greatest of these is the emotionally flawed yet brilliant Lisbeth Salander. While financial reporter Mikael Blomkvist is the lead character in the novel,it’s Larsson’s delicate balancing act in creating the complex Lisbeth that wins you completely. 

I have to admit, I have some doubts about the quality of the translation. I can’t help but wonder if the book was rushed into English to ride on the wave of consumer concern about the current world-wide financial crisis (the Swedish original came out in 2005). Lazy financial reporter, corporate greediness, and the unhappy outcome of the two together play large roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

If you have any interest in crime thrillers at all, this one is for you.

A Little Plot:

Financial reporter Mikael Blomkvist has just lost a libel case against a wealthy and powerful entrepreneur when he is asked to resolve the mysterious disappearance of Harriet Vanger some 40 years earlier. Though believed murdered, her case was never closed and it continually preys on her aging grandfather.

With misgivings,Mikael takes the assignment and soon discovers more than the average number of skeletons in the Vanger family closet. His research reveals that he in turn has been investigated by Lizbeth Salander. Adding her extraordinary investigative skills to his efforts, they soon uncover a series of grizzly murders connected to the Vangar family. Yet still more mysteries remain, including the biggest one of all.

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