Mar 142012
 

Author: Steig Larsson

Pages: 644 Paperback

Publisher: Vintage Crime- Black Lizard

Release Date: 2008 English 2005 Swedish

Genre: Thriller, Crime, Mystery, Revenge

Characters:

Mikael Bloomkvist-Disgraced journalist for the magazine Millennium.  He lost a libel case and must serve some time in prison.

Lisabeth Salander- Freelance surveillance agent and genius hacker, but also has mental issues that do not allow her to associate with people on a normal level.  She has a very strong sense of getting revenge vs going to the police for help.

Henrik Vanger- Rich elderly corporate industrialist.  He hires Mikael to solve the disappearence of his niece Harriet in 1966.

Martin Vanger- Taken over running Vanger Corporation from his uncle Henrik.  He is Harriet’s brother.

Dirch Frode- Henrik’s lawyer and friend.

Synopsis: In SwedenMikael Bloomkvist is a writer for the  political magazine, Millennium. He gets clued into a juicy story of corruption, but after publication his sources dry up and will not back him up.  He is sued for libel, loses, and is forced to temporarily resign from Millennium.   A wealthy elderly man,Henrik Vanger, offers him a job to solve the disappearance of his niece Harriet  the tiny island of  Hedeby in 1966.  Mikael must live on the island while he investigates and at the same time,pretends to be writing a biography of Henrik Vanger.   In exchange for working on the case,  Mikael will receive payment, but more importantly will get information that will help him get revenge against the man that sued him for libel.

Mikael makes strong headway on the case, but eventually finds that there is too much evidence for one person to go though.  To speed up the process, he enlists the help of Lisabeth Salander, a brilliant yet socially stunted surveillance expert and hacker.  Lisabeth had previously been paid to do research on Mikael to see if he was up to the task of finding Harriet and to see what rewards would entice him.

With Lisabeth’s help, Mikael is able to get close to cracking the case.  Only one thing can stop them, at least one person wants the past to stay hidden and are willing to do anything to hide previous crimes!

Analysis: Despite being translated from the original Swedish, this novel seems to flow very well and is easy to understand.  This is a great change of pace because a reader can often quickly tell that a novel has been translate due to unusual sentence structure.

I am also impressed with the creation of the character Lisabeth.  She is a strangely tough and  yet vulnerable character.  Her vulnerability gets her into some bad situations with unscrupulous men which leads to some very dark situations.  She is unwilling to contact the police and this leads to her taking matters into her own hands.  She has a different moral code than others and this leads to some interesting solutions.

Pro:

  • Lisabeth is one of the most unique characters I have seen in a novel.
  • I was genuinely in suspense for almost the whole book.

 Con:

  • The book did drag just a little bit after the climax.
  • Mikael’s easy relationship with a certain female character, not Lisabeth, was a little confusing.

Conclusion: As with most mystery novels, I always try to guess what the ending will be.  I can safely say that I was way off on this one and I love it when that happens!  I have avoided the film versions so far, and now I think I want to continue to avoid the English version because I hear that it differs from the novel in some important aspects.

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Plot 3
Imagery 3
Read Again? 4
Average 3.5

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