The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder - and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate.
Reviewed on 6th February 2010
This is a weird book. For a start it uses some weird language, but then it is translated from Swedish so many idioms may not translate naturally. The characters are weird too - some less than others - in fact the character who is meant to be the weirdest seems to actually be the least so by the end, as everyone else has become weirder still. The weirdness is magnified in their sexual practices - either Sweden is very liberal or this author is a bit mad.
The plot has a very good idea behind it, though at points it becomes extreme, and is the main positive point about the novel - the drive to continue reading is from wanting to find out how the plot continues. The characters are mostly surprisingly likeable, despite their odd natures, but seem to be a little two dimensional in places - while in others they seem to act contrary to their established nature.
The strangest thing about this book is that it is full of what appears to be product placement. In one section the author spends half a page extolling the virtues of a particular model of laptop, and in others recommends software, authors etc. This seemed really out of place in a novel and was quite distracting form the serious nature of the plot when you are suddenly confronted with a list of technical specifications.
It's not well written - well, not in English anyway - but is compelling, and is certainly better than anything Dan Brown has produced. It is very definitely mainstream fiction, as its sales figures would suggest. It's just a bit of a romp really with some rather extreme practices thrown in. I'll certainly read the sequel, but I'm not sure it's one I'd recommend to my friends, and certainly not to my mum.