The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an intriguing book title. It’s also a captivating description of the female protagonist in this story. This book was a thrill ride that kept me reading late into the night. In the beginning, I was slow to connect with the characters and the story. My first impression was “how am I going to keep all these names straight?” Most of the characters in this whodunit are from the Swedish “Vanger” family. Some of them are even tough for an Indian reader like me to recognize as male or female. There are a few family tree images in the book, but I read this on my Kindle and they were too small to be legible. Luckily it’s easy to search on the Kindle, so I could find the first spot in the story where the character was introduced and remind myself who the character was.
Lisbeth Salander is the tattooed girl referred to in the book’s title. She is an orphan, a ward of the state, a hacker with a photographic memory who works for a private investigation firm, and a young woman who refuses to be a victim. She is an amazing character, a real woman with strengths and flaws but who can be held up to us all as an example to admire and to aspire to in regard to her drive, intelligence, and agency. The male protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist is a disgraced financial journalist who has been found guilty of libel, and whose business magazine he is part owner of is on the verge of shutting down. Just like Lisbeth, Mikael has his own flaws which helps make him feel real. Mikael receives an odd job offer from Henrik Vanger, the aged former CEO of a large corporation. Henrik wants Mikael to look into the decades old disappearance of his niece Harriet, whom Henrik believes was murdered by a family member. At first Mikael dismisses Henrik’s suspicions, but before long he too gets wrapped up in the case. Discovering a number of new leads, eventually he enlists the help of Lisbeth after learning of how she was able to research Mikael’s background for Henrik before he was hired. The story picks up a lot of steam with the new developments and includes some interesting twists..
The two central characters are well fleshed out. Even the bizarre appearance and behaviour of Lisbeth Salander becomes nor only acceptable but also understandable. Mikael Blomkvist, the ostensible, receives a great deal of attention from the author, but his role is expositorier rather than a study in character. Lisbeth Salander is very much a study in character, and even though she is missing from key scenes, even large swaths of the book, yet her brooding presence never disappears entirely.
It is a fantastic story involving a complex mystery and engaging real-world characters. It is written well, despite being translated into English from Swedish, and because the hacking described within is not exaggerated and could actually work, it is worthy of consideration for the cyber security canon.
Although this book is the first of a trilogy, you do not need to read the second and third volumes of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling international trilogy. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a complete story with a satisfying ending.
Overall I found the novel very enjoyable, even after I was able to predict part of the ending. There was more than enough to maintain my interest with the varied characters and plot twists.
On Humour side, The most fascinating thing I found about the book was COFFEE. WOW do the Swedes like coffee. The author mentions coffee on every page in every context he could.
Would you like a cup of coffee
Please put on a pit of coffee
Blomvkist was having a cup of cofee as he read his notes
At the cafe he sat watching outside as he had his coffee
They warmed up the cold coffee at 11pm and discussed the matter
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
My rating 4/5