Friday, December 11, 2009

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Another book where I couldn't find a worthy passage to put up here. That said, I have much different feelings about the first installment of the "Millennium Trilogy" than I do the Twilight books. In fact, I owe a debt of gratitude to Larsson for getting the taste of soft-core-vampire-pornography out of my mouth. I'd write the guy a letter to thank him, but he went and died before this book (and its two sequels) were ever published. I had no idea that Larsson was dead going into it, and I'm sure that his death played a part in the popularity of the novel, but it stands on its own as a crime procedural.

The story is pretty complex. The main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is an investigative journalist who earns his living exposing the seedy underbelly of the Swedish stock market. (I found it interesting to know that Swedish people can, indeed, be seedy and that they do, indeed, have a stock market. I'll no longer look at Sweden as a large country filled with more realistic versions of that muppet chef.) Blomkvist finds himself convicted for libel after printing an exposé that went after Erin Wennerstrom, a Swedish industrialist with a reputation for dishonest business tactics. After taking a sabbatical from his financial magazine, Millennium, he is contacted by Henrik Venger, another captain of industry who wants Blomkvist to investigate a family mystery. Blomkvist is asked to find out anything he can about a 40-year-old missing persons case in which Venger's niece, Harriet, went missing and was never heard from again. From here, the story focuses on Blomkvist's inquiry into the matter, interviewing family members and other present on the day of Harriet Venger's disappearance. We're also introduced to Lisbeth Salander, a waify twenty-something computer hacker with a knack for gathering information and a serious problem with authority. The two investigators eventually find themselves victims of threats and physical attacks while they begin to unravel the twisted, murderous secrets of the much-revered Venger family.

The conclusion of the mystery is essentially satisfying, and I enjoyed reading the book. I wouldn't say its anything special, but if you like mysteries, thrillers, or books about corporate intrigue then you should definitely pick this up. I'm not dying to read either of the sequels but I probably would if given the chance. Blomkvist and Salander are both interesting, vibrant characters and I could stand another thousand or so pages of them.

Highlights: Seeing the way Salander's mind works and watching her get what she wants in the most brutal ways possible.
Lowlights: So many Swedish names... Half the time I didnt know if I was reading about a suspect or an Ikea wall unit.

3 comments:

Lula O said...

I liked this one okay. It did wrap up nicely. My main problem was the incredible violence against women, and Lisbeth, my favorite character in this series gets viciously raped, while Blomkvist just has a whole lot of mindless unprotected sex with a married woman, a super old woman and a girl who looks like a twelve year old boy. And the husband doesn't care?? Right.

Christopher said...

50!

Jill said...

I found the the next in the series, The Girl who played with fire, much easier to get into. There were fewer new Swedish names to learn and more plot action right off the bat.