Monday, July 13, 2009
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first novel in a trilogy that was written by Stieg Larsson before he passed away in 2004 from a heart attack. It was published last year to lots of critic and reader praise. I thought it sounded good when it came out last year, but I was off mysteries at the time (and still mostly am) so I gave it a pass. I picked it up a few weeks ago, though, because it finally hit the right spot. This blockbuster Swedish crime novel features the mysterious and intriguing Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed, surly, asocial computer genius. When Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who's recently been convicted of libel, is summoned to the home of Henrik Vanger he is wary. What would one of Sweden's most successful businessmen want with a disgraced magazine writer? Mikael soon finds out: Vanger wants him to solve the disappearance of his beloved niece Harriet in exchange for cold hard cash. With trepidation, Mikael agrees to the assignment and soon finds himself enmeshed in the troubled world of the Vanger family. When he makes a breakthrough in the case he hires Lisbeth to be his research assistant and together they embark on a dangerous quest to discover the truth. Though billed as a mystery, I enjoyed the more chaotic structure of this novel. With several plot lines running rampant, this did not have the feel of a traditional plodding procedural mystery. The characters are fascinating, especially Lisbeth, and the pacing is spot-on, spurring the reader to quickly turn the pages and possibly stay up much too late to find out the truth.This book might have triggered my return to reading mysteries, as it was so good that I realized I was craving the satisfaction you get from reading a well-plotted and intense thriller. I can't wait until the second one, The Girl Who Played With Fire, comes out later this month!