My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Great book. Very sad that Stieg Larsson did not survive to see the success of his Millenium series. Apparently he had a heart attack after climbing 7 flights of stairs when the lift was broken down at his office. This was not long after he had submitted his manuscripts to his publisher. Conspiracy? Bad luck? It feels natural to wanna question everything after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a story about a missing girl and a magazine editor hired by a wealthy industrialist to look into her disappearance. Digging into the family crates will be complicated and dangerous. He hires the title character, the girl, to help him hack computers and keep him loving company on an island where he is housed to do his research in the ‘back and beyond’ of rural Sweden. Generations of the family he is hired to investigate live there with their long established animosities, in-fighting and secrets. Meanwhile our stud journalists beds almost every woman he encounters (the only part I thought to be slightly less believable and a little annoying) with ease. The title character has her own secrets and a painful personal history, but she is quite wonderful and lovable in her antisocial and eccentric ways; at one point in the narrative he suggests she is a high functioning autistic (aka Aspergers). Her story intertwines with the main narrative, and recaptured my attention whenever the story became a bit dull (which was rare) or oversaturated with the intricacies of high finance (it helps if you have an understanding of business when reading this story, but it’s not necessary). The writing is clear and easy reading for the most part. I found there was great action, a compelling plot and characters. Big business is mostly the enemy, in irresponsible hands. I was rooting for the journalist and the hacker the whole time, particularly the girl. Fascinating character. I liked this book enough to have it while I sat in the dentist chair getting my teeth drilled. I was given a few minutes between sessions while waiting for the novocaine to kick in, to read the final 80 pages. One last thing: the author apparently witnessed a gang-rape of a young girl by some other kids when he was a boy, and, according to his girlfriend (who has been fighting his estranged family for years for the rights to his literary empire) this colored his worldview because he always regretted not intervening. She says he was a feminist. This would explain the statistics he wrote below the chapter titles which relate to sexual crimes against women in his homeland. And be prepared to experience graphic representations of such violence within the text. Great book! I may very well go on to the next, but I would also be content to stop here, because the book stands well on its own. Great ending!