|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no turning back. This debut thriller--the first in a trilogy from the late Stieg Larsson--is a serious page-turner rivaling the best of Charlie Huston and Michael Connelly. Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo. --Dave Callanan
- Intriguing Mystery
This book grabs you into the arms of the characters. Salander is the most lovable character to come along in quite some time. She's so funky and different that you can't help but fall in love with her. Blomkvist is hard to fathom which makes it all the more intriguing. It pricks at the conscience to find yourself cheering her on in some of her most outrageous stunts, but you can't help yourself. You just love her, and thank your lucky stars that you don't have a daughter like her.
I just finished reading (in 5 days) the second book in the Trilogy (The Girl Who Played with Fire) and found it even better than the first. I'm anxiously waiting for the third one to be translated.
It's a loss to the mystery lover's world that Stieg Larsson died at a young age....more info
- Smart and suspenseful thriller with literary sensibilities
This compelling crime novel follows disgraced investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and talented but troubled security firm researcher Lisabeth Salander as they work to solve a forty-year-old mystery.
In the mid-1960s, Harriet Vanger, the teenage heiress to one of Sweden's largest industrial fortunes, disappeared from her home. Despite the efforts of a team of police investigators, the case remained unsolved. The missing girl's affectionate great uncle and guardian, Henrik Vanger, continues to brood over the disappearance, searching for clues about what may have happened. Nearing the end of his life, Vanger recruits Blomkvist in a last-ditch attempt to discover the truth.
As Blomkvist and Salander come to understand more about Harriet's disappearance, they uncover a bigger and more sinister mystery with important implications.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a great read with a fast-paced, clever and surprising plot to rival the best of the best mystery/thriller genre. At the same time, the novel features dynamic dialogue and a cast of fully realized, flesh-out characters that defy stereotypes.
Particularly fascinating are the two main characters: Blomkvist, with his passion for exposing corruption, his loving but complex relationship with best-friend, business partner and sometime lover Erika Berger, and his profound but atypical morality, and; Salander, the twenty-four-year-old misfit with a dark history of institutionalization, a gift for understanding computers and data assimilation, and a punk rock aesthetic.
Highly recommended. ...more info
I don't get the excitement generated by this book. After barely thirty pages the stiffness of the translation, (or is the stiffness of the writing?) was unable to make up for the dragging plot involving some sort of financial shenanigans and a wrongly accused journalist. I think. I just couldn't keep plowing through. Now the book sits forlornly waiting for me to give it away to the next unsuspecting reader. ...more info
- More Than Murder
Mr. Larsson spends almost a quarter of this book setting up the murder mystery. That amount of background is appropriate because this is far more than just a murder mystery. There is a financial mystery to unravel as well. As one gets to know tha main character, Mikael, it is inevitable that both mysteries would occupy him. He has been professionally shattered as a journalist after writing an unsubstantiated story about a crooked financier (resulting in jail time). He is then hired by a wealthy industrialist to solve a decades old mystery the industrialist believes to be a murder.
At the outset there is also a parallel bio of Lisbeth, the girl with the dragon tatoo. She has some major mental problems and is under guardianship, but we also see early on that there is some sort of genius within. Watching her progress and overcome some of her demons is worth the price of the book alone.
Eventually Mikael and Lisbeth join forces. Both mysteries are terrific (particularly the murder) and, by the end keep the pages turning.
Both characters are very engaging, particularly Lisbeth, whose off-the-wall characteristics contrast well with Mikael's starightforward economic journalist tendencies.
I gave this only four stars because although all the background was necessary, it took a while for the book to really take off. Once it did, it was terrifically engaging. I look forward to the next installments of the trilogy. These characters, especially Lisbeth, are well worh following.
- Good beginning, poor end
Mikael Blomkvist, a muckracking financial journalist, has just lost a libel case lodged against him by the powerful businessman Wennerstrom. Through a series of strangely engineered circumstances, he ends up working for another businessman, Henry Vanger, and is tasked with finding out what happened to Henry's neice Harriet, who had disappeared over 30 years earlier. Through some more strange circumstances, he ends up partnered with expert researcher Lisbeth Salander. Salander is a strange character, alternating between sullen silence and aggression in her dealings with people. She has lots of tattoos (she is the title character of the book, though she is not the main character) and it is hinted that they represent past traumas, but her past is not revealed. She is an interesting but not fully developed character. She hits it off with Blomkvist, for no obvious reason other than that the author likes both these characters and would like them to get along.
The lead-up was great - the increasingly intricate research the characters needed to go through to gain new, overlooked information on the case had me reading late into the night. However, when I finished the book I felt sort of let down. Here are the reasons:
1. In the development of the book, the author depicted the Vanger family as a highly dysfunctional, but still realistic and believable, family. Most of the events of the book also seemed to be depicted in a realistic manner, but some of the events/revelations of the resolution went right over-the-top and actually weakened the realism of what came before.
2. The resolution requires all characters involved to make moral compromises that did not sit easily with my expectations of a real resolution.
3. After the resolution of the main case, another 50 pages are spent wrapping up the Wennerstrom affair; this is vaguely interesting but also very anticlimactic after what came before....more info
I might have appreciated this book more if it went by its original title, Men Who Hate Women, since that has more resonance to the story inside than simply naming the book after a secondary sidekick character, Lisbeth Salander aka "the girl with the dragon tattoo." Granted, she is about the only thing I found interesting in the entire book, but despite how unique the author tried to make her I found it pretty lame that she, just like every other "beautiful" female character in the book just could not keep her hands off boring Blomkivist, the main character of the story. What a lucky guy that he has three beautiful women to bed whenever he gets bored sifting through the entire Vanger family history to find out where Harriet Vanger disappeared to forty some years ago. That's probably how he didn't die of boredom. I made it through the whole book because I figured, wow, the ending must be pretty good if there's so much hype over the book. I was disappointed. The whole book is basically the main charcter reading papers and researching and looking at photographs. The author goes into an incredible amount of detail into the Vanger family history, but it is just boring facts. Most of it has nothing to do with the missing girl, and is just trivial facts about the Vanger family and its many members. The climax of the book where the truth is revealed and the action takes place should have been the most interesting part of the book, however it is the shortest part of the book, about a chapter. There is almost no details about what actually went on, no descriptions of the evil deeds that happened, which surprises me because there was so much detail about every other aspect of the history, and then the truth is just kind of brushed off. The villain of the story might as well be a silhouette and is not defined at all, therefore not scary or dangerous really and just about as boring as every other part of the book. The author seems sexist since he makes the three main female characters in the book all sex objects for the main character, Blomkvist. No matter who they are they all seem to want him and are all perfectly ok with him sleeping with other women. In fact, that's how they want it! Isn't that awesome?!? That's the real mystery of the book, why they want him, because he seems to have no personality. This book didn't have much personality either. It seems more like a detailed family tree than a mystery novel. I'd recommend it if you are looking for a bunch of family facts, business jargon, money talk and a little mystery on the side. Because the mystery really is on the sidelines with this book....more info
- Impatiently waiting for second book
Highly recommended by a friend...exceded recommendations. What a spell binding, intertwining of stories and different types of characters! Highly engaging. This is the kind of book which you want to read rapidly because you want to find the answers...yet, at the same time, want to read slowly because you do not want it to end. I am truly looking forward to the next Stieg Larsson book which is coming out at the end of June. I almost went ahead and ordered it from Europe where it is already available in paperback, but I decided to wait for my hard back copy from Amazon....more info
- slow in the beginning but gets better
The first half of the book was a little slow, but towards the halfway point and beyond it really picked up. ...more info
- more, please
Rarely does 644 pages go by so quickly! Lisbeth Salander is simply fascinating and I can't wait to read more about her. The plot has been detailed in many wonderful reviews here, so there really isn't much more to add there. This book kept me up late on more than one occasion and waiting for the 2nd in the series, The Girl who Played with Fire, is agonizing. ...more info
- Flawed but well-written
I felt it was well written and gave me a view of Sweden and big business. It was somewhat predictable and it had one or more things that made no sense to me. For example, for a long time our protagonist is searching obscure places for a particular scene in a photo and after many chapters, he thinks to ask the most logical character who would have had the picture if he has any pictures. He had a big box of them....more info
- Mysteries + Good Characters + Interesting Locale = Great Book
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is mostly a murder mystery set in Sweden. I know, that sounds like something that would put you to sleep. Believe me, Larsson's book is not just another murder mystery set in a cold, dark place...though it does take the reader to some dark places.
The bulk of the story centers around investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist , who has been hired by a wealthy industrialist to solve the murder of a young girl who disappeared nearly forty years ago. There is a lot more to this book than just a murder mystery, though. It is also a tale of corporate intrigues and love triangles populated by interesting characters that includes a whole family of crazies and the amazing girl with the dragon tattoo.
This will probably be in the top 10 books that I read all year.
- Best book of 2008
"The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo" was a first novel for Swedish author, Stieg Larrson, and it certainly has hooked me into the leading character, Lisbeth Salander. This book starts off a bit slow, but quickly sucks you into the amazing story that follows. This is one of those books that you will only read once a year, if you're lucky! I can't wait for his second novel to come out in July, which is reviewed as being even better than his first. Jane from N.J. ...more info
I didn't know a thing about this book before starting to read it, and then could not put it down. Not only thrilling, funny, touching, etc., but a view of modern Swedish life. Not for the squeamish, though!...more info
- a book you cannot quit reading
Has been a while I had a book I could not stop reading. Had to sacrifice sleep, but enjoyed every moment of it. Cannot wait to read his next one, The girl that played with fire. Enjoyed it I hope you will too....more info
- A real dragon
Good story but predicable. I had no problem figuring out what was going to happen much sooner than it did. That was kind of a drag. The story was a good story if not unbelievable and perhaps approximately 50 pages too long....more info
- I couldn't put it down...
When I started the book, I almost put it down in the first few pages. It was so slow and boring. I kept at it and then it took off and I couldn't put it down. I actually listened to this book on my iPod which I generally reserve for passing the time in the car. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was so good that I found myself walking around the house listening to it. I had to know what happened. This is the best mystery I've read since Val McDermid -- and interestingly enough the main character is reading a Val McDermid book in this story. I almost hesitate to call this a mystery because it's really much different from the usual murder mysteries out there.
The two main characters are introduced in what appears to be separate story lines which finally come together about half way through the book. Lisbeth Salander is so odd and quirky that at first she's hard to like. I think that's the point. In the story, the other characters react to her in much the same way that I did as a reader, but I quickly developed an empathy for her. We learn quite a bit about her inner self but her background -- how she got this way -- remains a mystery even at the end of the book. What we do learn is that she is an expert hacker, has a photographic memory and her own distinct sense of justice.
Mikhail Blomqvist is an ethical journalist who writes about a very corrupt business man. Through some misdirection and conniving on the part of the industrialist, Blomqvist is successfully sued for libel. At first I wasn't sure I liked him either, but I came to respect his dogged determination and sense of right and wrong.
There are two main story lines. The first is the journalist versus the industrial giant with journalist losing the first round. The second and really the main story line is about the disappearance and assumed murder of a girl 35 years ago. Her uncle who is getting on in years and who has all the money he could ever want just wants to know what happened to his niece before he dies. He hires the disgraced Blomqvist to investigate the mystery under the guise of writing an extensive family history. In the process, he turns the rock over on quite a few family secrets. One of the unusual things about this story is that while it's a murder mystery, its focus is about the unwinding of the mystery more than the murder itself. What Bloomquist discovers is not just one murder but a series of unspeakable murders of women all over Sweden. As the mystery part of the story wraps up, then there's round two of the journalist versus the industrialist and this time Blomqvist is assisted by Salander's special skills and there's quite a different result.
I can't say enough about how well-written this story is. Sometimes books I've enjoyed reading don't hold up when I listen to them being read. This one was excellent. The second book -- The Girl Who Played with Fire -- won't be out in the US until this summer so I may have to order it from AmazonUK as I'm not sure I'll be able to wait that long. If you like intelligent stories with complex characters, I think you'll want to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo....more info
- If you can make it through the mind-numbing first few chapters, it's a great read,
but learning all the Swedish names, reading everything there is to know about Sweden's financial markets/institutions and trying to keep all the names of every Vanger family member straight (must be 100 of them!) was just a tad too much for my pea-sized brain. It was very, very tough to make it through the first few chapters, but I stayed with it and am glad I did.
If you can make it through the first few chapters, it's an excellent book. I can't wait to read "The Girl Who Played With Fire" coming out in July. I'm hoping it will be available for the Kindle! The story of Lisbeth was left WIDE open. The next book should be even better after what she did!
If you're a Kindler and want to read "The Girl Who Played With Fire" on your Kindle, go to "The Girl Who Played With Fire" page and click on "I want to read this book on my Kindle"...it's on the left side of the page....more info
- Two Distinct Stories, Linked by the Venality of the Adversaries
The story itself is quite good, in fact it was a breakaway bestseller, but the author's own story is equally compelling. He was active in the Swedish Communist Worker's Party and he intended to leave all of his assets to that organization. But his will was not witnessed, and therefore not legally enforceable, and at his death of a massive heart attack at 50, his assets, including this book's royalties, went to his father and brother, under Swedish probate law. The original title of the book showed his political leanings, "Men Who Hate Women." Someone had the foresight to re-title it "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" when it was translated into English. I doubt it would have become a bestseller with the original title. He also made no attempt to publish the book, writing it for his own enjoyment. As a committed communist, the acquisition of wealth was unimportant to him. His father published it posthumously.
This book has two distinct plots. There is the story of an investigative journalist who is targeted by the horrible rich capitalists. Of course it turns out that his enemy is not only a capitalist, since readers might not see that as sufficiently venal; he is a drug dealer, a weapons dealer, and runs prostitutes. The second story, completely unrelated to the first, is the investigation of a missing person/possible homicide that turns into the discovery of a serial murderer. If there is a connection, it is that the murderer turns out to be...you guessed it...another horrible rich capitalist.
As the story unfolds it turns out that the husband of the married woman the journalist is sleeping with is just fine with the arrangement. And the journalist's sociopathic partner, a gifted hacker with a dragon tattoo, is truly a fine person, despite her emotional disability. That disability, Asperger's Syndrome, is unfortunately misrepresented in this novel. Asperger's does not confer any advantages, despite our heroine's extraordinary feats; Aspberger's is a severely disabling disease which usually renders its victims perpetually dependent on caregivers and therapy.
Most likely it occurred to Larsson that neither of his two stories had the critical mass required for a full length novel, and he found a way to combine them. But the patching together left seams which are instantly visible and it is tempting to believe that he hadn't attempted to publish because he was not satisfied that the job was done. The book's enormous commercial success is most likely due to the creative vengeance which the heroic journalist and little Miss Aspberger come up with to punish their criminally rich adversaries.
- A revelation
I didn't know this author, which was recommmended to me by a relative. I found the first third of the book kind of confussing: it takes some time to get used to unfamiliar Swedish names and places, and a lot of characters are presented, setting a slow pace. But when I got to the middle, I couldn't put it down and finished in one sitting. Well written, different stories are perfectly wooven into one another, and it keeps you wishing for more, can't wait till the next. And I totally agree with another reviewer about the title ... the original "Men who hate Women" makes so much more sense ......more info
- A Fantastic read!
This book was the best read I have had in months (and I do read a lot!). Nothing since has come anywhere near the sheer 'immersion factor' this gripping novel exerts on the reader. The plot is complex, clever, the characters all utterly convincing (Lisbeth being a real masterstroke ), the general atmosphere rather spooky and very nordic...It is a hit on all sides and I could not recommend it strongly enough to everyone. The only downside is the cover jacket and the title, misleading potential readers into believing that the book is about a chinese woman. A very stupid decision from the english publisher.
I wish to add to this review, that I wrote when I only had read the first volume , in english. Now a few months later, I have read the two following volumes in french, because I could simply not wait years until the English publisher decides to release the whole three. This waiting time in between volumes is simply ridiculous as we are dealing here with possibly the most gripping trilogy ever written.
I must say that the two to come are just as brilliant, clever and immensely satisfying as the first. Rarely is a plot so twisted, so interesting, the characters so genuine and ultimately the whole story so resounding.
I deeply regret that Larsson died (or was help to die ??) and that we will never have another chapter in the tormented life of Lisbeth Salander. ...more info