I bought this book to gift to someone as part of the Christmas book swap going on currently. I had seen it reviewed on a few blogs, and it seemed like the perfect gift.
After I got home from the book store, I lightly read through the first couple of pages, and before I even knew what was happening, I was totally and completely hooked on to it. I sat up nights reading the book, kept obsessively wondering about the details, the whole works. It’s been a long time since a crime thriller had me on such tenterhooks.
I just hope the person I have gifted this to ends up enjoying it as much as I did.
What the Book is About
Well, it is part of a trilogy called the Millenium series (the other two books are The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest). The two main protagonists are Mikael Blomqist and Lisbeth Salander (she is the girl with the dragon tattoo). He is a financial journalist investigating a corrupt businessman’s dealings. She is a brilliant, troubled young girl almost half his age, suffering from Asperger’s? who works in an investigation agency.
When Blomqist is asked to investigate a murder that took place almost forty years ago, the two end up working together to solve the case. They also end up nailing the corrupt businessman successfully.
So, well that’s the story in a nutshell. But there is lots more to it, and it is one of those rare books that is not merely a crime thriller. In some ways, it is a commentary on present-day Swedish life. Yes, the story is based in Sweden.
My Thoughts on this Book
I love a good edge of the seat kind of crime thriller, and so this read was right in my comfort zone. What I liked were all the small details that elevate this book from the norm.
For one, this was my first experience with any crime novel in Europe (apart from UK and Russia, that is). So, it was great to read quite a bit about a very different way of life set in a place quite unfamiliar to me.
The writing and the translation is first-class. So, is the mystery. It was awesome how Mikael and Lisbeth were able to uncover the murderer with such minimal information on their hands.
The feminist in me also loved that Lisbeth is an equal partner in the solving of this crime. She’s not just the sidekick. In fact, in many ways, she is the stronger personality who makes the decisions most of the time, and in fact saves Mikael when he takes a very rash action that gets him into deep trouble.
What intrigued me was the amount of casual sex throughout the novel; and how it does not seem to be anything out of the norm.
What I did not like was the slow ending. The mystery is solved almost three-quarters of the way into the novel, and the financial fraud case starts to take importance. The story then becomes extremely boring when they start gathering evidence to prove fraud and blah, blah, blah…I just skimmed through these sections.
That doesn’t mean I am not queuing up for books 2 and 3 in this series 🙂
On a parting note, here’s a nice statement that Mikael gives when he is quizzed by a journalist who claims that he caused the downfall of the Swedish economy by publishing information that disclosed the businessman’s corrupt practices. Seems very apt for today’s world, no?
You have to distinguish between two things – the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skövde. That’s the Swedish economy, and it’s just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago. The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon