Guest Review

STIEG LARSSON – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Genre – Mystery, Thriller and Suspense

465 Pages

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“I would have never done it, Lisbeth, but I understand why you did. I don’t know what you have experienced, but I was about to die in that cellar, and you saved my life. Whatever you have seen, you don’t need to tell me. I’m just happy that you’re here.”

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago when she was 16. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. Every year he has received the same anonymous gift on his birthday: a single framed flower. He is convinced the series of flowers have something to do with the disappearance of his great-niece.

Mikael Blomkvist, a respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. He has been trapped by a libel conviction, for defaming billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected offer to resurrect his name is extended by Henrik Vanger. First, Blomkvist must spend a year researching the mysterious disappearance of Harriet and in return, Vanger will provide him with devastating evidence against Wennerstrom.

Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but troubled computer hacker and investigator is enlisted by Blomkvist to help his investigation of Harriet’s disappearance. As they work together, Blomkvist and Salander attempt to keep a professional relationship even as they connect personally. They dig deep into the Vanger family history and discover that Harriet’s disappearance is connected to gruesome murders of women that occurred in Sweden in the 1940s to 1960s.

On the surface, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a simple mystery thriller, but on a deeper level, the book is an examination of the violent abuse of women in Sweden, focusing particularly on the warped philosophies and governmental failures that permit such acts. Larsson depicts Sweden as a socially progressive society nevertheless cursed by blatant misogyny and antiSemitism. His writing is sharp and engaging, never shying away from the ugliness in the themes that he explores.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is highly recommended as the first of three novels in Larsson’s Millennium series.

The two sequel books The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest expand on and deepen an already engaging story.

Review written by Celine Margaret

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