Monday, June 29, 2009
36. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - Stieg Larsson
Originally titled, "Men Who Hate Women," this is the first of a series of three (or four - there are rumors abound) books by author Stieg Larsson, a talented plotter who died from a heart attack before the books were published.
"The Girl," in this case, is Lisbeth Salander, a punkish, asocial 20-something with a knack for finding anyone's secrets. She is called in to help Mikhael Blomkvist, a journalist who is hired to find answers to a 50-year-old mystery: what happened to Harriet Vanger, niece to the powerhouse Henrik Vanger.
The mystery is reminiscent of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" (I forgot the politically correct version of the title), where everyone is on an island and no one escaped. Therefore, did Harriet die? Was she murdered?
This book is not just a mystery. The author has statistics about sexual abuse, rape, and assault of Swedish women at the beginning of each major section. Half of the book involves Lisbeth's backstory before meeting up with Mikhael. The end is not the triumphant answer to the mystery.
I know I am a bit late to this party, but the unique style and anti-formulaic approach fascinated me, as it has for many readers and critics. It is just a shame that the author did not live longer to share his gift through other stories.
4.0 out of 5.0 Dragon Breaths.