Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist decides to take a leave of absence from his magazine, Millennium, to work for wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger for one year. Vanger hires Blomkvist to secretly look into the disappearance of his niece, Harriet, who went missing almost forty years ago on Hedeby Island, which is almost completely owned by the Vanger family. Blomkvist's cover story is that he is working on a book about the history of the Vanger family. While on Hedeby, Blomkvist becomes immersed in the dysfunction of the family and crosses paths with female tattooed hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Slowly, Blomkvist penetrates Salander's tough exterior and they begin to work the case together. With Salander's help, Blomkvist uncovers clues that just might lead them to find out what happened to Harriet all those years ago. Yes, considering my reading tastes, it's surprising that I haven't read this book years earlier. I really enjoyed it, although it's definitely leisurely-paced at times. The mystery of Harriet's whereabouts, dead or alive, I found completely absorbing. That aspect of the book reminded me a lot of books by Henning Mankell. I found the story of Millennium and Blomkvist's career less compelling. Surprisingly, to me, Salander did not dominate the book as I thought she would. I did really like it, though, and look forward to reading the other two books in the series. Two other observations: the original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, is really more appropriate for the book and it's obvious that Larsson has a fondness for mysteries because of the titles he name-drops throughout the novel. Another read-alike for Stieg Larsson would be Jo Nesbo.

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