The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson; translated by Reg Keelan

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Vintage Books, c2008, 2009

Genre: Thriller, mystery, suspense

Series: Millennium trilogy; 1

ISBN: 9780307473479

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 644

Setting: Stockholm, Hedestad & Hedeby Island, Sweden

Time period: around 2003-2004

Plot summary: When Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, is recently convicted of libel, he needs a break from his position as publisher of the magazine Millennium.  Therefore, when Henrik Vanger, of the Vanger Corporation, asks him to investigate the mysterious death of his niece nearly forty years ago, Blomkvist accepts, even though he doesn’t think he’ll be able to discover any new evidence.  However, with the help of a heavily pierced and tattooed research assistant, Lisbeth Salander, he discovers a shocking truth which puts his own life into jeopardy.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: The book begins at a moderate pace as the main characters are introduced and their situations established.  As the book progresses, the pacing increases substantially.

Characterization: The story is told in third person through various perspectives.  The main perspectives are Blomkvist’s and Salander’s.  There are many characters to keep track of in this book belonging to the Vanger family; the family tree in the beginning of the book is a very helpful tool.

Frame: The Swedish title for this book – Män Som Hatar Kvinnor – translates into English as Men Who Hate Women.  This is a very dark story with more than one disturbing scene.

Story line: This deeply intense story deals with financial corruption, racism, and extremely dysfunctional families and is filled with many surprises – even for those who know the outcome of the story ahead of time from having read the second book in the trilogy first.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Missing persons — Fiction.

Rich people — Fiction.

Corruption — Fiction.

Stockholm (Sweden) — Fiction.

Suspense fiction.

Similar authors: Charlie Huston, Michael Connelly

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Authors read by Blomkvist in this book: Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky

Personal notes: Great book!  No surprise – I knew it would be from having read The Girl Who Played With Fire. I’m guessing that some marketer decided that the book needed a different title to sell in the US.  Maybe it did, but it seems a bit of a weird choice to me.  I guess it’s a catchy title, even if it’s of very little importance to the story…

I definitely picked up on more of the references to Pippi Longstocking this time around.  I loved Salander’s  take on Blomkvist’s nickname – Kalle Blomkvist – “He hates the nickname, which is understandable.  Somebody’d get a fat lip if they ever called me Pippi Longstocking on a newspaper placard” (p. 55).

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity: socially challenged – extreme introverts, Swedes, hackers, bi-sexuals, misogynists

Won a 2009 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

Won a 2009 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Won a 2009 British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year

A website for  and about Stieg Larsson

By Stieg Larsson; translated by Reg Keeland

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Vintage Books, c2008, 2009

Genre: Thriller, mystery, suspense

Series: Millennium trilogy; 1

ISBN: 9780307473479

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 644

Setting: Stockholm, Hedestad & Hedeby Island, Sweden

Time period: around 2003-2004

Plot summary: When Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, is recently convicted of libel, he needs a break from his position as publisher of the magazine Millennium.  Therefore, when Henrik Vanger, of the Vanger Corporation, asks him to investigate the mysterious death of his niece nearly forty years ago, Blomkvist accepts, even though he doesn’t think he’ll be able to discover any new evidence.  However, with the help of a heavily pierced and tattooed research assistant, Lisbeth Salander, he discovers a shocking truth which puts his own life into jeopardy.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: The book begins at a moderate pace as the main characters are introduced and their situations established.  As the book progresses, the pacing increases substantially.

Characterization: The story is told in third person through various perspectives.  The main perspectives are Blomkvist’s and Salander’s.  There are many characters to keep track of in this book belonging to the Vanger family; the family tree in the beginning of the book is a very helpful tool.

Frame: The Swedish title for this book – Män Som Hatar Kvinnor – translates into English as Men Who Hate Women.  This is a very dark story with more than one disturbing scene.

Story line: This deeply intense story deals with financial corruption, racism, and extremely dysfunctional families and is filled with many surprises – even for those who know the outcome of the story ahead of time from having read the second book in the trilogy first.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Missing persons — Fiction.

Rich people — Fiction.

Corruption — Fiction.

Stockholm (Sweden) — Fiction.

Suspense fiction.

From NoveList:

Cold cases (Criminal investigation)

Journalists

Murder investigation

Father and daughter

Missing persons

Salander, Lisbeth

Blomqvist, Mikael

Swedish fiction — Translations into English

Mystery stories, Swedish

Similar authors: Charlie Huston, Michael Connelly

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

Authors read by Blomkvist in this book: Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky

Personal notes: Great book!  No surprise – I knew it would be from having read The Girl Who Played With Fire. I’m guessing that some marketer decided that the book needed a different title to sell in the US.  Maybe it did, but it seems a bit of a weird choice to me.  I guess it’s a catchy title, even if it’s of very little importance to the story…

I definitely picked up on more of the references to Pippi Longstocking this time around.  I loved Salander’s  take on Blomkvist’s nickname – Kalle Blomkvist – “He hates the nickname, which is understandable.  Somebody’d get a fat lip if they ever called me Pippi Longstocking on a newspaper placard” (p. 55).

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity: socially challenged – extreme introverts, Swedes, hackers, bi-sexuals, misogynists

Won a 2009 Anthony Award for Best First Novel

Won a 2009 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Won a 2009 British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year

Stieg Larsson’s website

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