Posted by: istop4books | October 12, 2009

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This isn’t my favorite genre – thriller/mystery. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but it had received so many rave reviews that when we voted to read this book for book club, I thought I’d give it my best shot. I must admit that after 25 pages I was rolling my eyes wondering what all the hoopla was about; by page 35 I realized that I had to reread most of it more carefully because I had zoned out.

And then all hell broke loose. I spent every spare minute of the next few days engrossed in this novel. I found the whole thing fascinating, the characters believable if not likable and the plot with all the twists and turns, not one easily figured out. The two main characters, Lisbeth and Mikael are very different but brought together to work on a case. Mikael is a journalist whose name is mud; he’s a decent guy who reported on the wrong person and got into a bit of trouble. He gets an offer to ghost write the history of what must be Sweden’s most dysfunctional family with a caveat – that he research the disappearance of the patriarch’s niece; a case over 40 years old. He reluctantly agrees and is soon drawn in to the inner secrets, awful truths, secrets, quirks and anomalies of this family. Mikael needs the help of a top notch assistant and Lisbeth comes into the picture with her not-quite-all-legal, but highly useful skills, piercings, tattoos and unusual demeanor.

So there is a mystery, and it does get thrilling; but underneath all this are two underlying themes: Corporate greed and the hatred of women – two separate issues. The vulnerability of women throughout the book is compelling, as are the statistics which start out each part of the book. Scary stuff and very sad in this day and age to read about the violence against women in Sweden.

One other part of this book that I really enjoyed is the ending – and no spoilers here. The author opens up quite a few different possibilities but doesn’t lead you incessantly towards one, only to bait and switch at the end. You follow the investigators on their journey hand in hand with some suspicions here and there, but it’s not as though there’s a huge surprise culprit at the end. It’s logical, it makes sense and the action leads up to it.

Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

View all my reviews >>

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