Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This book is the exact opposite of what I like to read.  It is dark, twisted, techie, and just downright strange.  I loved it!  That's the mark of a really good book, even if it isn't exactly your thing, there is just something compelling about it.  I'll admit, it was difficult for me to get into it.  It is told from multiple points of view and it is quite a while before these characters begin to connect.  Plus, the book contains a lot of Swedish names and places that an Okie girl can kind of get hung up on trying to process.  Still, I stuck with it and was pretty soon sucked into the deep, dark web that Larsson created.

After being publicly disgraced and sentenced to a brief term in prison for liable, Mikael Blomkvist (see, I told you) is approached by an aging industrial giant (Henrik Vanger) with a strange request: find his great-niece's murderer.  The catch?  The murder happened 40 years ago and there is absolutely no evidence of a crime.  The girl simply vanished one day.  So, Blomkvist moves to a fishbowl of an island, surrounded by Vanger's strange and hostile family, to investigate and solve a seemingly-unsolvable crime.

Then there is Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo).  A young, angry, genuis of a girl, she is the perfect mix of tough and vulnerable.  In addition to her own complicated personal problems, she stumbles upon Blomkvist and his investigation and is quickly drawn into the increasingly mysterious chain of events that Blomkvist is uncovering.

Part murder mystery, part family drama, this book reminded me of the mid-century "hard boiled" detective fiction, but with a few extra twists.  Like a mixture of Dashiell Hammet, Ernest Hemmingway, and James Patterson.  It really was a strange and enthralling book and I am glad that book club gave me the incentive to read a book that I have passed over many times but never felt motivated to up.  

Interesting factoid:  this title is the most downloaded ebook of all time.  Also, there have been Swedish movies  produced based on all three of the books in the series and there is a Hollywood version scheduled to release in December of this year.  

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