The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
|Image from Amazon|
I have never really picked up a full pledge mystery book. I was never even into Nancy Drew as a kid. I was more of a Sweet Valley kind of girl. I like my whodunits on TV or the movies. It's not because it isn't my type but it's more on the fact that I am so enamoured of the fantasy genre that I hardly buy anything else, save for gifts or borrowed books. Every year my Wishlist seems to always be crowded with fantasy but this year, I believe my wishlists will have a huge chunk of Whodunits thanks to Stieg Larssons's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Summary from Goodreads
Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch - and there's always a catch - is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.
I think a mystery novel is as every bit as good as its prologue. Stieg Larsson did not disappoint with the fail-safe " gift from a mysterious stranger " opening that had been the bait that hooked me. The rest of the plot is as every bit as engrossing. While the book tackles serious issues of corporate fraud, ethics in journalism, fascism, and sexual violence; Larson was able to weave these subjects into a story that has all the page-turning, hang on to the edge of your seat, hearth-attack inducing elements that make up a great mystery novel. There's a duplicitous major financial corporation, a missing girl, a serial killer, a huge dysfunctional family with as many skeletons in their closets as you could imagine, espionage, conspiracy, and explosives. (I mean that in the literal sense). So, it's basically everything but the kitchen sink. Be prepared though for some harrowing and grisly scenes.
The characters are crafted very well. Lisbeth Salander comes off to me as a seriously bad-ass chick that I will always be in awe of. Most "toughie" characters I've come across are tough in terms of physical attributes or in terms of attitude. Lisbeth on the other hand not only can whack you unconscious but she can crack open every information on you like an elephant would a peanut and she doesn't even need to open your file to remember everything about you. She could write your biography by memory. But she was made more real by her flaws of being anti-social and her struggle with understanding and expressing her emotions .
Michael Blomkvist is as every bit as endearing. A sharp journalist with a heart. An honourable man who exposes dishonourable deeds in the world of finance. One of the few good apples in a whole rotten media barrel. I think he deserves the limelight as equally as Lisbeth.
On the downside, I did have a bit of difficulty keeping track of the Vanger Family with the confusing Swedish Names but there is a family tree illustration for reference that I would constantly go back to check who's who. And that's a plus.
I will conclude every Whodunit book I read by telling you whether I was successful in identifying the culprit or perhaps came close to it. Well, just like the way my dart game usually goes, I hit the wall to which the dart board is attached. Which therefore, makes this book an awesome whodunit read and yes, I will pick up the rest of the Millenium trilogy.