Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Audio CD, Unabridged, 13 compact discs (16.5 hours)
Published September 16th 2008 by Random House Audio (first published 2005)
ISBN: 0739370642 (ISBN13: 9780739370643)
primary language: English
original title: Män som hatar kvinnor
series: Millennium #1
setting: Sweden  Stockholm, 2000 (Sweden)
It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism and an unexpected connection between themselves.

Contagiously exciting, it's about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

My Thoughts:
I waited a year from the time I bought this book to listen to it, because it was one earmarked for my husband and me to listen to together.  Finally a road trip that was long enough for the book, and it was definitely worth the wait.  Although I have heard that it is slow going during the first 100 pages, we were pretty much hooked from the first disk.  It is true that a lot of set up happens at the beginning, and due to the complexity of the story and a fairly large cast of characters, it does take some time to establish who is who and how they connect.  In the end, though, it is worth the time it takes to get acquainted with the characters, because when the story takes off you take off with it. 

This is an action adventure and a mystery rolled into one, with a journalist as the unlikely protagonist, and yet that element alone makes for a level of intrigue (and a few interesting twists) that ramped up my enjoyment of the novel a few notches more.  I can do nothing but urge anyone and everyone who is looking for a ball-busting mystery to read this book.  Even better...listen to it!  It is 450+ pages of an almost perfectly executed story, even down to the abrupt ending, which is exceedingly effective in pointing you toward the second installment by leaving loose ends and unresolved issues that warrant further exploration.

Read it.  I urge you.  You will not be disappointed.

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