Friday, July 02, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A disgraced journalist, tattooed hacker girl, and a former CEO end up on an island together, where they are not alone and it is all about murder.

I believe that my first introduction to this title was a little pamphelet sitting on a table at Barnes & Noble. I picked it up. Dragons? Tattoos? How bad could it be? I perused the little pamphelet and let it slip down to the bottom of my bag, before checking out the book several months later. I reasoned that it sounded like an interesting book and reminded me of some of the true crime titles I was reading at the time. What I got was an unexpectedly brilliant novel.

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist and one of the publishers of the magazine Millennium. Recently he is on the front page news after being convicted in a libel suit by Hans-Erik Wennerstrom.

Lisbeth Salander is twenty-four years old, pierced, tattooed, a genius hacker, and according to the courts incompetent. She works for Milton Security investigating people by providing detailed background checks on them.

Henrik Vanger is the former CEO of Vanger Corporation. Forty years ago his niece Harriet Vanger vanished amid a festival and accident on Hedeby Island. In the time since then he has continued searching for Harriet and each year receives a rare flower on the anniversary of her disappearance.

Henrik offers, in exchange for Blomkvist looking into the disappearance of his niece, a sum of money and some very damaging and revealing information on Wennerstrom. Hesitant at first, Blomkvist eventually accepts and moves up to Hedestad and Hedeby Island to take a fresh look at the case. Along the way Blomkvist brings Salander into the investigation, putting her considerable skills to work. Together they will begin to unravel far more than a forty-year-old mystery, which will earn them far more than they bargained for.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the late Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy. The hardcover is 495 pages, and the paperback I read was 590 pages, so it is not light reading. It is however worth every page and so well written I found myself flying through the pages and dragging it everywhere with me.

Corporate corruption, scandalous family secrets, and an off-beat heroine combine into one thriller of a novel. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is available in print or on audio on the VBPL catalog, as are the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

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