So I’ve finally given in and read the very much talked about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And I have to say, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. It’s not particularly well written, it isn’t all that fast paced and the plot doesn’t have many surprising twists.
What I like from a crime thriller is an action packed story full of red herrings, clues that keep you guessing and a huge, shocking twist at the end that makes you utter some sort of surprised ‘oh’ out loud. I got absolutely none of this from Larsson’s very popular thriller. It certainly did not live up to my expectations.
I found it very hard to get into the book. I understand Larsson had to set the scene, but it was very long winded. We are first introduced to Henrik Vanger, the rich ex-head of the Vanger Corporation. He is now an old man and has one final wish, that the forty year old mystery of a missing girl is finally solved. For this task, he approaches Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist recently charged with libel and having to take a break from his career. It’s a full 120 pages before Blomkvist has actually started the job. And things do finally start to get more intersting once the journalist starts snooping around in the small town of Hedestad, were the crime took place.
Meanwhile, there is another main character, who has not yet entered Blomkvist’s life. She is the most intriguing character of the book. Looking like a heavy metal chick with tattoos, pearcings and a leather jacket, she is actually a genius computer hacker, with a photographic memory and useful friends in the computer hacking world. Of course, I’m talking about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, who goes by the name of Lisbeth Salander . We get an insight into her unusual life in Stockholm until eventually she is hired to help Blomkvist as an ‘expert researcher’. Together, Blomkvist and Salander gradually unravel the mystery of the missing girl from forty years earlier.
Although the beginning was rather slow and boring, the middle really picks up. I actually stayed up late into the night on more than one occasion because I couldn’t put the book down. I was hoping for a decent twist at the end, but was disappointed. And even after the mystery was finally solved, I was dismayed to see that I still had another 70 pages to go! All of the loose ends from a side story that I had absolutely no interest in had to be tied up.
This is definitely not a book that I would recommend. If you want a good crime thriller, try John Grisham, PD James or even, Dan Brown.