Murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue combine into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel, the first in Stieg Larsson's thrilling Millenium series featuring Lisbeth Salander.
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.
About the Author
Stieg Larsson was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo. He was a leading expert on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist organizations. He died in 2004, soon after delivering the manuscripts of the novels The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.
Date of Birth:August 15, 1954
Date of Death:November 9, 2004
Place of Birth:Västerbotten, Sweden
Place of Death:Stockholm, Sweden
Read an Excerpt
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
By Stieg Larsson
Knopf Copyright © 2008 Stieg Larsson All right reserved.
A Friday in November
It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day–which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.
“What is it this year?”
“I don’t know what kind it is. I’ll have to get someone to tell me what it is. It’s white.”
“No letter, I suppose.”
“Just the flower. The frame is the same kind as last year. One of those do-it-yourself ones.”
“Same as always, all in capitals. Upright, neat lettering.”
With that, the subject was exhausted, and not another word was exchanged for almost a minute. The retired policeman leaned back in his kitchen chair and drew on his pipe. He knew he was no longer expected to come up with a pithy comment or any sharp question which would shed a new light on the case. Those days had long since passed, and the exchange between the two men seemed like a ritualattaching to a mystery which no-one else in the whole world had the least interest in unravelling.
The Latin name was Leptospermum (Myrtaceae) rubinette. It was a plant about ten centimetres high with small, heather-like foliage and a white flower with five petals about two centimetres across.
The plant was native to the Australian bush and uplands, where it was to be found among tussocks of grass. There it was called Desert Snow. Someone at the botanical gardens in Uppsala would later confirm that it was a plant seldom cultivated in Sweden. The botanist wrote in her report that it was related to the tea tree and that it was sometimes confused with its more common cousin Leptospermum scoparium, which grew in abundance in New Zealand. What distinguished them, she pointed out, was that rubinette had a small number of microscopic pink dots at the tips of the petals, giving the flower a faint pinkish tinge.
Rubinette was altogether an unpretentious flower. It had no known medicinal properties, and it could not induce hallucinatory experiences. It was neither edible, nor had a use in the manufacture of plant dyes. On the other hand, the aboriginal people of Australia regarded as sacred the region and the flora around Ayers Rock.
The botanist said that she herself had never seen one before, but after consulting her colleagues she was to report that attempts had been made to introduce the plant at a nursery in Göteborg, and that it might, of course, be cultivated by amateur botanists. It was difficult to grow in Sweden because it thrived in a dry climate and had to remain indoors half of the year. It would not thrive in calcareous soil and it had to be watered from below. It needed pampering.
The fact of its being so rare a flower ought to have made it easier to trace the source of this particular specimen, but in practice it was an impossible task. There was no registry to look it up in, no licences to explore. Anywhere from a handful to a few hundred enthusiasts could have had access to seeds or plants. And those could have changed hands between friends or been bought by mail order from anywhere in Europe, anywhere in the Antipodes.
But it was only one in the series of mystifying flowers that each year arrived by post on the first day of November. They were always beautiful and for the most part rare flowers, always pressed, mounted on watercolour paper in a simple frame measuring 15cm by 28cm.
The strange story of the flowers had never been reported in the press; only a very few people knew of it. Thirty years ago the regular arrival of the flower was the object of much scrutiny–at the National Forensic Laboratory, among fingerprint experts, graphologists, criminal investigators, and one or two relatives and friends of the recipient. Now the actors in the drama were but three: the elderly birthday boy, the retired police detective, and the person who had posted the flower. The first two at least had reached such an age that the group of interested parties would soon be further diminished.
The policeman was a hardened veteran. He would never forget his first case, in which he had had to take into custody a violent and appallingly drunk worker at an electrical substation before he caused others harm. During his career he had brought in poachers, wife beaters, con men, car thieves, and drunk drivers. He had dealt with burglars, drug dealers, rapists, and one deranged bomber. He had been involved in nine murder or manslaughter cases. In five of these the murderer had called the police himself and, full of remorse, confessed to having killed his wife or brother or some other relative. Two others were solved within a few days. Another required the assistance of the National Criminal Police and took two years.
The ninth case was solved to the police’s satisfaction, which is to say that they knew who the murderer was, but because the evidence was so insubstantial the public prosecutor decided not to proceed with the case. To the detective superintendent’s dismay, the statute of limitations eventually put an end to the matter. But all in all he could look back on an impressive career.
He was anything but pleased.
For the detective, the “Case of the Pressed Flowers” had been nagging at him for years–his last, unsolved and frustrating case. The situation was doubly absurd because after spending literally thousands of hours brooding, on duty and off, he could not say beyond doubt that a crime had indeed been committed.
The two men knew that whoever had mounted the flowers would have worn gloves, that there would be no fingerprints on the frame or the glass. The frame could have been bought in camera shops or stationery stores the world over. There was, quite simply, no lead to follow. Most often the parcel was posted in Stockholm, but three times from London, twice from Paris, twice from Copenhagen, once from Madrid, once from Bonn, and once from Pensacola, Florida. The detective superintendent had had to look it up in an atlas.
After putting down the telephone the eighty-two-year-old birthday boy sat for a long time looking at the pretty but meaningless flower whose name he did not yet know. Then he looked up at the wall above his desk. There hung forty-three pressed flowers in their frames. Four rows of ten, and one at the bottom with four. In the top row one was missing from the ninth slot. Desert Snow would be number forty-four.
Without warning he began to weep. He surprised himself with this sudden burst of emotion after almost forty years.
Friday, December 20
The trial was irretrievably over; everything that could be said had been said, but he had never doubted that he would lose. The written verdict was handed down at 10:00 on Friday morning, and all that remained was a summing up from the reporters waiting in the corridor outside the district court.
Carl Mikael Blomkvist saw them through the doorway and slowed his step. He had no wish to discuss the verdict, but questions were unavoidable, and he—of all people—knew that they had to be asked and answered. This is how it is to be a criminal, he thought. On the other side of the microphone. He straightened up and tried to smile. The reporters gave him friendly, almost embarrassed greetings.
"Let's see . . . Aftonbladet, Expressen, TT wire service, TV4, and . . . where are you from? . . . ah yes, Dagens Nyheter. I must be a celebrity," Blomkvist said.
"Give us a sound bite, Kalle Blomkvist." It was a reporter from one of the evening papers.
Blomkvist, hearing the nickname, forced himself as always not to roll his eyes. Once, when he was twenty-three and had just started his first summer job as a journalist, Blomkvist had chanced upon a gang which had pulled off five bank robberies over the past two years. There was no doubt that it was the same gang in every instance. Their trademark was to hold up two banks at a time with military precision. They wore masks from Disney World, so inevitably police logic dubbed them the Donald Duck Gang. The newspapers renamed them the Bear Gang, which sounded more sinister, more appropriate to the fact that on two occasions they had recklessly fired warning shots and threatened curious passersby.
Their sixth outing was at a bank in Östergötland at the height of the holiday season. A reporter from the local radio station happened to be in the bank at the time. As soon as the robbers were gone he went to a public telephone and dictated his story for live broadcast.
Blomkvist was spending several days with a girlfriend at her parents' summer cabin near Katrineholm. Exactly why he made the connection he could not explain, even to the police, but as he was listening to the news report he remembered a group of four men in a summer cabin a few hundred feet down the road. He had seen them playing badminton out in the yard: four blond, athletic types in shorts with their shirts off. They were obviously bodybuilders, and there had been something about them that had made him look twice—maybe it was because the game was being played in blazing sunshine with what he recognised as intensely focused energy.
There had been no good reason to suspect them of being the bank robbers, but nevertheless he had gone to a hill overlooking their cabin. It seemed empty. It was about forty minutes before a Volvo drove up and parked in the yard. The young men got out, in a hurry, and were each carrying a sports bag, so they might have been doing nothing more than coming back from a swim. But one of them returned to the car and took out from the boot something which he hurriedly covered with his jacket. Even from Blomkvist's relatively distant observation post he could tell that it was a good old AK4, the rifle that had been his constant companion for the year of his military service.
He called the police and that was the start of a three-day siege of the cabin, blanket coverage by the media, with Blomkvist in a front-row seat and collecting a gratifyingly large fee from an evening paper. The police set up their headquarters in a caravan in the garden of the cabin where Blomkvist was staying.
The fall of the Bear Gang gave him the star billing that launched him as a young journalist. The downside of his celebrity was that the other evening newspaper could not resist using the headline "Kalle Blomkvist solves the case." The tongue-in-cheek story was written by an older female columnist and contained references to the young detective in Astrid Lindgren's books for children. To make matters worse, the paper had run the story with a grainy photograph of Blomkvist with his mouth half open even as he raised an index finger to point.
It made no difference that Blomkvist had never in life used the name Carl. From that moment on, to his dismay, he was nicknamed Kalle Blomkvist by his peers—an epithet employed with taunting provocation, not unfriendly but not really friendly either. In spite of his respect for Astrid Lindgren—whose books he loved—he detested the nickname. It took him several years and far weightier journalistic successes before the nickname began to fade, but he still cringed if ever the name was used in his hearing.
Right now he achieved a placid smile and said to the reporter from the evening paper:
"Oh come on, think of something yourself. You usually do."
His tone was not unpleasant. They all knew each other, more or less, and Blomkvist's most vicious critics had not come that morning. One of the journalists there had at one time worked with him. And at a party some years ago he had nearly succeeded in picking up one of the reporters—the woman from She on TV4.
"You took a real hit in there today," said the one from Dagens Nyheter, clearly a young part-timer. "How does it feel?"
Despite the seriousness of the situation, neither Blomkvist nor the older journalists could help smiling. He exchanged glances with TV4. How does it feel? The half-witted sports reporter shoves his microphone in the face of the Breathless Athlete on the finishing line.
"I can only regret that the court did not come to a different conclusion," he said a bit stuffily.
"Three months in gaol and 150,000 kronor damages. That's pretty severe," said She from TV4.
"Are you going to apologise to Wennerström? Shake his hand?"
"I think not."
"So you still would say that he's a crook?" Dagens Nyheter.
The court had just ruled that Blomkvist had libelled and defamed the financier Hans-Erik Wennerström. The trial was over and he had no plans to appeal. So what would happen if he repeated his claim on the courthouse steps? Blomkvist decided that he did not want to find out.
"I thought I had good reason to publish the information that was in my possession. The court has ruled otherwise, and I must accept that the judicial process has taken its course. Those of us on the editorial staff will have to discuss the judgement before we decide what we're going to do. I have no more to add."
"But how did you come to forget that journalists actually have to back up their assertions?" She from TV4. Her expression was neutral, but Blomkvist thought he saw a hint of disappointed repudiation in her eyes.
The reporters on site, apart from the boy from Dagens Nyheter, were all veterans in the business. For them the answer to that question was beyond the conceivable. "I have nothing to add," he repeated, but when the others had accepted this TV4 stood him against the doors to the courthouse and asked her questions in front of the camera. She was kinder than he deserved, and there were enough clear answers to satisfy all the reporters still standing behind her. The story would be in the headlines but he reminded himself that they were not dealing with the media event of the year here. The reporters had what they needed and headed back to their respective newsrooms.
Excerpted from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson Copyright © 2008 by Stieg Larsson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
“An intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller that is variously a serial-killer saga, a search for a missing person and an informed glimpse into the worlds of journalism and business . . . Lisbeth is a punk Watson to Mikael's dapper Holmes, and she's the coolest crime-fighting sidekick to come along in many years.”
“An exceptional effort for a first-time crime novelist. In fact, a fine effort for any crime novelist . . . This book is meticulously plotted, beautifully paced, and features a cast of two indelible sleuths and many juicy suspects.”
“Combine the chilly Swedish backdrop and moody psychodrama of a Bergman movie with the grisly pyrotechnics of a serial-killer thriller, then add an angry punk heroine and a down-on-his-luck investigative journalist, and you have the ingredients of Stieg Larsson’s first novel.”
–Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“The book lands in the United States as Wall Street sputters and global markets clench, a timely fit to Larsson’s themes of corporate corruption. He tells his crime story cleverly, but the zing in Dragon Tattoo is inked in its two central characters.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A super-smart amalgam of the corporate corruption tale, legal thriller and dysfunctional-family psychological suspense story. It’s witty and unflinching . . . Larsson’s multi-pieced plot snaps together as neatly as an Ikea bookcase, but even more satisfying is the anti-social character of Salander.”
–Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air (NPR)
“It’s like a blast of cold, fresh air to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo . . . It features at its center two unique and fascinating characters: a disgraced financial journalist and the absolutely marvelous 24-year-old Lisbeth Salander–a computer-hacking Pippi Longstocking with pierced eyebrows and a survival instinct that should scare anyone who gets in her way.”
“Larsson’s novel could serve as the definition of page-turner . . . The worst part: We have to wait until summer ’09 for the second installment.”
–Time Out New York
“The biggest Swedish phenom since ABBA.”
“Imagine the movies of Ingmar Bergman crossed with Thomas Harris’s novel The Silence of the Lambs. Larsson’s mesmerizing tale succeeds because, like P.D. James, he has written a why-dunit rather than a whodunit.”
“A whip-smart heroine and a hunky guy who needs her help? This sexy, addictive thriller is everything you never knew you could get from a crime novel.”
“Larsson’s debut thriller succeeds on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. First off, it’s an absolute page-turner. But the characters are so fascinating and the clear, understated writing so graceful, you are going to want to savor it . . . Electrifying.”
–Portsmouth Herald (NH)
“Is the hype justified? Yes . . . This complex, multilayered tale grabs the reader from the first page.”
“The first U.S. appearance of another major Swedish crime writer is cause for celebration . . . The novel offers compelling chunks of investigative journalism, high-tech sleuthing, and psychosexual drama. What a shame that we only have three books in which to watch the charismatic Lisbeth Salander take on the world!”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a striking novel. Just when I was thinking there wasn't anything new on the horizon, along comes Stieg Larsson with this wonderfully unique story. I was completely absorbed.”
“I doubt you will read a better book this year.”
“Dark, labyrinthine, smart, sexy, utterly original, and completely captivating, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo delights at every level. Nuanced, sympathetic characters, caught in a tangle of unusual and compelling relationships, grapple with a baffling family mystery and with their own demons in the unique literary environment of modern-day Sweden. This book is artful and grand entertainment. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”
“So much more than a thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dazzling novel of big ideas. It tackles issues of power, corruption, justice, and innocence–all the while drawing you into the twists and turns of a frighteningly suspenseful mystery.”
“As vivid as bloodstains on snow.”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an utterly fresh political and journalistic thriller that is also intimate and moral. In spite of its dark unearthings Stieg Larsson has written a feast of a book, with central characters you will not forget.”
“Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family’s remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller . . . At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets, this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred)
“What a cracking novel! I haven’t read such a stunning thriller debut for years. The way Larsson interweaves his two stories had me in thrall from beginning to end. Brilliantly written and totally gripping.”
“With its compelling situation, its complex plot and especially its unique, fully-realized characters, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo embodies–in seamless translation–the best of European crime fiction.”
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a Tolstoyan re-invention of the ‘closed room’ murder mystery, Agatha Christie for adults. Curl up on the sofa with this masterwork of noir and let Stieg Larsson draw you into the shadows. It’s also a profound investigation into tribal violence in the world of high finance, and a revelation of the dark side of a country normally seen as the very height of propriety. By the end of the first chapter you will know better. By the end of the second you will be putty in his hands. Don’t even think about putting it down.”
From the UK:
“Crime fiction has seldom needed to salute and mourn such a stellar talent as Larsson’s in the same breath.”
–The Sunday Times
“Larsson has up his sleeve two extremely engaging protagonists. Once these characters have appeared, our surrender to the novel is guaranteed . . . This is classic English mystery territory. But what follows is much darker and bloodier–more Thomas Harris than Dorothy L. Sayers.”
“The ballyhoo is fully justified . . . The novel scores on every front–character, story, atmosphere, and the translation.”
“This is a striking novel, full of passion, an evocative sense of place and subtle insights into venal, corrupt minds . . . The journalist and the hacker are ingenious creations.”
“One of the greatest crime-fiction novels I have ever read . . . As mesmerizing as it is insightful . . . The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a multi-layered, multi-character tale by a writer of some considerable power. Full of social conscience and compassion, with insight into the nature of moral corruption, it knocked me out . . . Mikael Blomkvist and his partner, the enigmatic and deeply troubled Lisbeth Salander, will soon join the pantheon of greatest crime-fiction characters that populate the genre at its apex.”
“A blockbuster story . . . The plot is interesting and credible but above all the heroine is splendidly original . . . An extraordinary book.”
“An absorbing and idiosyncratic crime novel.”
Reading Group Guide
“Wildly suspenseful . . . an intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller.”
—The Washington Post
The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of Stieg Larsson's extraordinary thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
1. Who do you consider the novel's protagonist, Lisbeth or Mikael? Why?
2. What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as violence against women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?
3. What function do the sex-crime statistics on each section's title page serve?
4. Reread the passage from Mikael's book on page 103. What is its significance in terms of the plot?
5. On page 156, Henrik tells Mikael, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength—even if you no longer need to strike back." Over the course of the novel, who puts this advice to the best use? How, and why?
6. How does the involvement of several Vanger brothers with Swedish fascist groups cloud Mikael's investigation into Harriet's disappearance? What role does Harald play?
7. Why does Henrik become an investor in Millennium? Does his plan succeed?
8. Discuss the character of Lisbeth. Some think she is a "perfect victim" (p. 409), others find her intimidating, and Mikael wonders if she has Asperger's, but the reader is allowed to see exactly how her mind works. How do you see her? How do you think she sees herself?
9. What do you think about the way Lisbeth turns the tables on Bjurman? Is it admirable, or a sign that she's unstable?
10. On page 254, Lisbeth says her new tattoo is "a reminder." Of what?
11. Several times in the novel, Mikael's journalistic ethics are challenged. Do you consider him to be ethical? In your opinion, is anyone in the novel truly honorable? If so, why?
12. After reserving judgment for most of his investigation, Mikael determines that Harriet was, in fact, murdered and that he's hunting for a killer. What prompts this decision? How does this affect the rest of his investigation?
13. Discuss the role of parents in the novel. Who is a good parent, and why? How might Harriet's story have changed if her mother had behaved differently? What about Lisbeth's? Is Mikael a good father?
14. Blackmail is used several times in the novel, for different ends. Who uses it most effectively, and why?
15. On page 507, Mikael tells Lisbeth that to him, friendship requires mutual respect and trust. By those standards, who in this novel is a good friend? Is Mikael? What about Anita?
16. Discuss Henrik's request that Mikael never publish the Vanger story. Is it a reasonable request? Does Mikael's acquiescence change your opinion of him? Do Lisbeth's demands mitigate his ethical breach?
17. What ultimately drives Lisbeth to take action against Wennerström on her own? Does she go too far?
18. Reread Mikael's statement about the media's responsibility at the top of page 575. Can you think of a situation in the American media that is analogous to the Wennerström affair?
19. Discuss the ending. Was it satisfying to you? Why or why not?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've seen some complaints that it is too slow. To that I say, it's because of realism. Having done some investigative reporting stuff myself, I can say that the pace at which it starts into its mystery is completely believable. And the methods used as well. Is it a little slow in the first half? Yeah, but is that a bad thing? No. It's attention to detail and characterization, and a commitment to realism. And that's nothing to complain about. I've seen some opinions about the violence, and I didn't think it was overly graphic... nor without a point. I can't stand graphic violence with little to no point. But by the time you get to the end of the first book, at least for me anyway, I found myself fully appreciating his tackling this issue of violence against women in Sweden. And I finally both fully understood and appreciated the statistics regarding crimes against women that were inserted at the beginning of each new Part of the book. It seemed clear to me that Larrson wanted to let people know what life in Sweden can be like for a woman, and having no frame of reference to such before reading the book I found myself respecting Larrson for making this his main drive and theme of the story. I don't know... I can't complain. I think this is some of the best published writing I've read in a long time. I was never bored or disinterested. He kept me captivated from start to finish. My only complaint is that it's a little more vulgar and perverse than I usually care for. But even at that, he could have been much more perverse with as much promiscuity some of his characters indulged in; yet he often used the old school film method of setting the implication (or starting the process) and moving on to something else. Something with plot, something with character. Something we could care about. I just need to get the second in the series now, so I can pick up where it left off. OH, which reminds me, somebody said something about the end being a dud and that's said. It's called leaving loose ends, because it's a series and you want to keep your readers with you. If you resolve everything and walk away people won't come back--having been fully satisfied. My only hope is that the third (and final book he completed) has some full resolve or that they finally let his life-long companion finish his fourth one--which he was working on when he died. It really is a shame he left so early and that his works couldn't have been written and published earlier in life. It's reported he had 10 books in the series in mind. I guess we'll just have to make do with what he gave us.
Once you get through the first quarter of the book its awesome! I usually put books down if they dont have me hooked by the first 3 pages but I read reviews and knew that the beginning was a bit slow so I kept at it and I'm so glad I did! I just finished the last in the series (The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest) and I was on the edge of my seat with all 3 books!!!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is book is neither bloated nor overblown and it's absolutely wonderful that there are so many characters; it creates a rich reading experience. And besides, there is a family tree one can refer to. This book is highly interesting and engaging. I found that after the first couple of character introductory chapters that the mystery to be solved kept me wanting to keep reading! I enjoyed the complexity of the plot and enjoyed that Larsson takes his time and presents a story with depth. If you want a fast moving book filled with action this book isn't for you. But if you want a thoughtful book that deals with moral issues, has two very interestingly different protagonists (Blomkvist and Salander), has a humdinger of a mystery and yes, does have some intense action, then pick up a copy today!!
I am not sure of the age or intelligence of some of these reviewers but this is not a 5th grade read. You do need some intelligence and a very general knowledge of European culture to appreciate this book. The first 100 pages were not slow. They were used to clearly describe each character, their past, their occupation, their life, their sexual preferences so you gain an appreciation for their motives and behaviors as the story picks up. Just because the first 100 pages were not action packed does not mean they were boring or unecessary. Clearly some reviewers are just looking for lame action packed writing. This book is so much more and so much better. I am still not finished but find it hard to put down at night when I am falling asleep. The book involves a lot more sex and violence than I had expected but it fits perfectly and reaffirms the tenedencies of the characters. I am anxious for the conclusion and cannot wait to read the next two books in the trilogy. I definitely recomend this for any intelligent person who is not just looking for meaningless lame 'action-writing'.
I was very reluctant to purchase this book based on the negative reviews, but a book that gets this much hype must be read despite reviews both positive and negative. I actually enjoyed the book. Yes it was long. No it didn't need to be that long to get to the point, but I liked the character development. I liked that I got to know the characters really really well. I like Salander and think that she's a very interesting person indeed. As for the mystery of the book. It got intense and then slowed down again to finish of the whole Wennersom affair which was also an interesting aspect of the book as well. All in all the book is worth reading. I'm thinking the others in the sequence will be just as good or better. I'm interested in learning more about Salander and Blomkavist as well!
This book is by a Swedish author and only recently published in the United States. It was great reading about Sweden from the Swedish perspective. Goes to show the that universal themes are always interesting - the main character Mikael "Bear" Blomkvist is hired to solve and/or write about the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a daughter of a very wealthy family. She disappeared 40 years ago. Since Blomkvist is temporarily unemployed due to a financial reporting scandal, he takes the job. During his investigation he runs into Lizbeth Salandar a mysterious punk computer expert. Sounds like a romantic thriller? Well you are in for a rollercoaster ride of intrigue, secrets, an inditement of the Swedish mental health system and what is is like to live on the edge. Great book
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dark novel. The main characters are complicated but likable. If you try to think one step ahead of Salander forget it. She is dark, cynical, odd, and smart,I could go on but if you are interested in meeting her you must read this novel. It took me a while to get into it but when I did I could not put it down. Can't wait to read the next in the trilogy.
I was given this book as a gift and had to force my way through it. Unlike some I did not have trouble with the characters I just did not like the story. I for one do NOT appreciate reading about violence against women especially in a VERY graphic manner. If it is vital to the story its one thing but I found some of it completely unnecessary. It was very slow and had to force myself to finish it. And just when I thought things were getting good..it ended with a thud. Do not waste your money!
This was a good read for someone who likes suspense, romance, and crazy families. If you like to be a fly on the wall and listen in on people's conversations to learn all of their deep dark secrets, this could also be your book! There was a lot of nonsense material in the book, where I can see some good editing could do away with about 100 pages without harming the overall story line. If you can get past the wordiness, the plot is thick and the bizarre turns make it hard to put it down. Enjoy :)
This was quite a good book. Very suspenseful with great intricate plot. enjoyed it
I dont ever read mystery novels but i thought i would give this one a try and i loved every second of it. I would sit there reading for hours on end and into the night and through the morning. I had to keep reading because i wanted to know what happened next but also because i was scared at times to fall asleep. The book isnt dark or extremely scary but the thrill and the thought process make it a hard book to fall asleep with. I will definitely be reading the next two.
I was just at the airport picking out a book to bring with me on the plane to read. I was in a rush to catch the plane. I walked over to the "Bestselling" shelf and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" By Stieg Larson, caught my eye. I quickly skimmed through the blurb; without a second thought,I bought the book, not knowing that it would leave me with such interest and would be placed in my top 20 all time favorite books. At first, the book may start off with no connection between the characters and may seem like a downer. But as soon as it gets to the point. It is the most thrilling, suspensful book that could leave you in awe.
This Compelling Fiction involving caustic family secrets, grisly serial killings, horrendous business miss-dealings on a grand scale and much more provide a complex plot. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative business journalist and co-owner of a magazine called, "Millennium", has just lost his reputation, his savings and his freedom after a nasty libel suit from an executive named Wennerström. His magazine lost its credibility and is on the road to lose everything. Eventually he makes a breakthrough and needs a good researcher, where Lisbeth Salander, a severe, petite, anorexic-looking, punk-dressing, tattooed genius investigator appears on the scene. Blomqvist's perceptiveness takes hold and Salander's edgy brilliance shines. He spots talents that Salander has kept secret all her life. As Salander lets some of her defenses down, a partnership develops that allows intense deduction and intuition, working up to a nail-biting conclusion that initiates a new set of problems to be faced in the second book, "The Girl Who Played with Fire". I found myself holding my breath a lot throughout this book! Whew! I recommend highly if you like to sit on the edge of your seat while you read! Great writing style, engaging plot, many complex layers, many unexpected twists, fascinating, NOT BORING characters, and much more!
I put this book down at least a dozen times trying to get through the first few chapters, but I perservered and then I couldn't put it down. It was definitely offbeat, watching it unfold and wondering how all the characters came together was exciting. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a book that makes you think.
I saw this book on the bestseller list in Barnes and Noble as well as in the NY Times and decided to give it a shot. I really liked it! Although it may seem at the beginning that you read about all these characters with no apparent relation to each other, it all develops into an intricate web of lies, deceit and basically everything that can go bad when money and power are involved.
It may be Harriet Vanger's disappearance that Mikael Blomkvist has to solve but along the way he finds out more than what he bargained for!
For originality alone, this book stands tall. The plot, the writing, the characters intertwine to tell a very intriguing story. It didn't drag at all and the ending really caught me off guard. Won't give away the story. This is good, very good. On to his next book in the trilogy.
This is a seriously suspensful read. It was difficult to get into in the beginning, but once the storyline is established you won't put it down. This is definitely somewhat of a dark thriller, and may offend certain readers at times. However, the plot is interesting and different, and keeps your attention well. It would be fascinating to use this book as a choice for a book club and really analyze the characters and themes presented. I found the character of Blomkvist to be well developed and relatable in many ways. I also enjoyed the imagery created by the author. I would absolutely recommend this book to others, and look forward to reading the next two novels by this author.
After getting through the first sections of the book (all the financial/legal/business talk before I knew what I was reading or about to read), I ate this book up! It's a page-turner for sure. Impossible to put down. Larsson's writing style is perfection for this type of novel. His attention to detail and how he presents these details is brilliant. I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the mystery plot, as well as the characters. Lisbeth's actions are at times puzzling, but Larsson does a great job making the reader understand why she makes the unorthodox choices that she does, and what she has to deal with in regards to her social disorder. The suspense is perfectly balanced with the character work and the vivid scenery and backdrop of the novel. I couldn't WAIT to find out what what going to happen, but I didn't want it to end. I look forward to reading The Girl Who Played with Fire!
This was a "required" read for me, as it was chosen by my bookclub. I read the first 50 pages or so and my head was spinning. There were so many names (and it didn't help this was translated from Sweedish, so they were not 'typical names'). Once I got all the people sorted out, I could not put this one down. I gasped out loud and found myself thinking about what was going to happen next while I was away from the book. The 'ending' happened about 50 pages or so before the book was over, but it was still a good ending. Then I closed the book and found myself thinking about the people and wishing I knew more. Glad I found out this was the first in a Trilogy! It makes even more sense now that things ended the way they did. The 2nd Book, The Girl Who Played with Fire will be available in the US in July 2009.
Glad I read the first, look forward to the 2nd one. The translation was sometimes off (spelling of words and such) but it had no impact.
Amazing! Carl and Lisbeth were endearing characters that you can't help but fall in love with. This book is beautifully and intelligently written with multiple twists and turns to reveal the puzzle pieces, that keep the reader glued to the pages. Wonderful! Just wonderful!! A couple of other books I'd like to recommend are EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L. Pirrung and PERFECT, by Judith Mcnaught.
This is one of the books I will put on my page of best 100 books I have ever read. The cast of characters is a bit confusing as they are introduced, and it doesn't help you to figure out who did the crime when you take realize that you dislike most of the characters under suspicion. The story initially starts when the publisher of a struggling magazine prints facts he cannot corroborate, and is in the process of trying to rebuild his life destroyed by the scandal. Finances force him to take on a job that may actually reverse his bad fortune. Little by little, we discover that which seemed true is false, and as the mystery unfolds, recognize that reality is not what it appears to be. The girl with the tatoo may just be the whole point of the trilogy...who can say until all 3 books are published in English? This particular novel is alot like life: complex, highly affected by seemingly unimportant details,and always influenced by things one doesn't truly understand. The title character is fascinating in her disordered order, and I am looking forward to getting to know her better in the next 2 of Larsons books. The writing style is more complex than typical mysteries, but the outcome is worth the struggle to keep one's mind wrapped around the actual facts. The real crime? The author of this book is deceased,
I almost stopped reading this book within the first twenty minutes, but I could not be more thrilled I didn't! Don't let the first few chapters fool you.this is a book worth reading! I would recommend it because of its authentic & original characters. and of course its exhilarating plot. I'm so happy I continued to read this book and would recommend it to anyone & everyone! !
I read the paperback of the first book and then had the second two on audiobooks in my car (in Swedish). They were all completely gripping and I was just short of desperate when the end was drawing close. The stories are very cunningly woven together and you develop an admiration for the lead character. Highly, highly recommended. A tragedy that the author passed away a week after completing the series and that there will be no sequels.
The book begins slow, but it is very descriptive. The author is very into the details of the characters and their surroundings. Once the plot thickens, you can't escape it. The story is very original and I fell in love with Mikael!
So I started this book a while ago and after hearing about it on the site. It "sounded" exciting but as i got into the beggining the first 200 pages were extermeley hard to get through, it was way too much back story. It alomost felt as if i had to force myself to get through it. But once I did and get to the part were Sandler, who is really the main and best character in the book, came in to the light it got intresting. She is BEAST!!! Love her character because she is pictured as this fragile, little girl looking who is anti mankind, but she is really alot stronger and more intellegent then people give her credit for. Sandler made this book! Blomkist was a decent supporting character but the detail on his life is really the reason that i began to lose sight intrest in the book in the first place. Altogther once you really get in the plot line i felt like they focused to much on teh wrong things and people but when you find out who is doing the real bad its is shocking. In the end i really enjoyed half of the book. i still recommend it to people but not the best read ever.