Reader reviews and comments on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, plus links to write your own review.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson X
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 480 pages
    Jun 2009, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 47 reader reviews for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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Carol (01/22/09)

Top Notch First Novel
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was not quite what I expected. An
international thriller by a new voice, a long awaited translation that had been
a sensation in Europe led me to believe I was picking up one of those fast
paced, quickly written stories. I never expected the depth of plot, well,
actually several stories, layered quite neatly, one upon the other which finally
came together with excellence. Yes, it's a thriller, but also a locked room
mystery, a study in greed, corruption, the world of finance, violence against
women and throws in a love story for good measure.

It's long; I think it could have been cut down but in the end that didn't bother
me. The setting is Sweden, but locale is not developed as well as I might have
liked. Some reviewers thought the characters not well drawn and didn't care
about them. For me, the characters are what captivated me and kept me reading to
the very end. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, (Larsson did work for Tidningarnas
Telegrambyra, the largest Swedish news agency) is arrested for libel of a
businessman, Wennerstrom, having written a story about him that can't be proven.
He is sentenced to jail and though the sentence is short, his career as co-owner
of the newspaper Millennium becomes a shambles. Enter, Henrik Vanger, an
elderly, wealthy businessman seeking closure to the long ago disappearance of
his niece, Harriet. Vanger is the patriarch of a well-known and large Swedish
family Vanger proposes to hire Blomkvist to write his biography and to solve the
mystery of Harriet's disappearance. He details that day in 1966 when most of the
Vanger family was gathered for their annual dinner and board meeting on Hedeby
Island. Off island there was a Children's Day Parade planned by the sports club
of Hedestad. Harriet had gone to Hedestad to see the parade with some school
friends, came back to Hedeby just after 2 in the afternoon. At 2:15 a farmer
collided with an oil truck and caused a horrific explosion cutting off any means
of anyone coming or going from the island. Moments before the crash, Harriet had
told Henrik she needed to talk to him but he was busy and told her he'd catch up
with her later.

The accident happened, all heck broke loose, and that was the last time Vanger
saw Harriet. With all the confusion of the bridge accident he didn't even
realize she was missing until the next morning. There were many people on the
island that day and Vanger spent the ensuing years trying to figure out which of
them had killed Harriet, as he was certain she was murdered, probably for
something she knew and had tried to tell him. No body was ever found; she could
not have run away as the bridge was the only way out. The author describes this
as a locked-room mystery in island format. Blomkvist is hesitant to take on this
assignment but is lured by the payment offered, Wennerstrom 's head on a

Larsson includes a family tree and thank heavens he does as it would be
difficult to keep all the Vangers straight without it. There are a multitude of
suspects and other great characters with varying roles to keep the story
interesting and entertaining. One character, Lizbeth Salander, odd girl out is a
fascinating study throughout the story. She plays a central part in her role as
a sort of investigative assistant to Blomkvist. Fittingly her birthday is
Walpurgis Night, an old pagan festival. The Blomkvist character reads novels
throughout the story, one of which is Val McDermid's Mermaids Singing. He
pronounces it grisly.

Be forewarned that Larsson also presents a grisly and violent tale. For a first
time effort I'd call this one first rate. Four star rather than five for some
plot flaws in the wrap-up. Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel!
Marganna (01/09/09)

Didn't Pass the Test
I love a long book rich in characters, challenging plot and layered with ideas, so I had great hope for this book. I was very enthusiastic for 1/2 of it thinking, AT LAST, a good book! However, it began to go downhill for me and continued on that path until the end.

Stieg Larsson's writing style and language skills are good and he started off with strong character and plot development. The story line seemed believable at first but as the various plots played out, I became less and less interested and engaged.

With the various threads to follow I thought it would knit together an exceptional good tale. The potential was there at first. However at the end I felt like the author was stretching to write just a long book with elements of mystery, intrigue, horror, love, sex/violence (anyone could guess the cat component!) Even the list of Vanger family members provided me with substance and I like that technique from an author. However, I did not develop a "relationship" with even the most central ones.

After a book passes the language/writing style/believability qualifications, I ask myself the following "test" questions: 1) do I care what happens to these people? I did not; 2) if I lost the book would I find another one so I could finish the story? No; 3) would I recommend this to a friend? No; and finally 4) would I read another book by this author? No. I will give this book to a friend, but it only rated a 3 at best with me.
Margaret (12/03/08)

A book by any other title would smell as sweet...
This book is a great read, the first in a series of three. It's currently at the top of the bestseller list here in Spain.
Living abroad and browsing through bookshops is sometimes an exercise in translation: you recognize the author's name but you often have to use your imagination or check out the original title to figure out whether you've already read the book in English.
I don't know Swedish but it seems to me that the Spanish as well as Catalan title of this book - "The Men who Hated Women" - is closer to the original. Is the English title more politically correct?
Molly (11/18/08)

Action & Morality in Northern Europe
I was fascinated, horrified and entertained by this book. The level of detail on many fronts, especially about technology, intrigued me, and the plot is packed with twists and surprises. One of many questions raised by the book concerns morality. There are different levels of its presence and absence. I found myself excusing what, in the US at least, is considered immoral behavior (spoiler alert) such as incest, adultery, and theft, in light of some horrendously repugnant, misogynistic conduct. Stieg Larsson, who died right before this book was first published, was dedicated to exposing and combating neofascism and right wing extremism in Europe, and that could explain some of the moral relativity issues in his story. Oh, yes, and the title character…she is a curious and compelling individual, not totally fleshed out, who begins to develop at the end of the story. I regret that there won’t be a sequel.

[Note from BookBrowse: In fact ,there will be a sequel - two of them. Just before he died the author delivered all three books in the Millenium sequence to his publisher. The books are already published in some parts of Northern Europe, and will be available in the USA over the next year or so.]
Heather (09/27/08)

Five Stars, Deserve Each 'n Every one of 'em!
Wow -- this was a terrific read! This novel kept me on my toes, but I didn't want to race through it ... I wanted to savor it, to think about who might be the bad guy (or gal), and to ponder on the two "heroes": a smart, determined and tenacious reporter, and an enigmatic, difficult, and brilliant young woman.

We have some great characters here, particularly the aging patriarch Henrik Vanger, and the fascinatingly peculiar and complicated Lisbeth. I also liked that even peripheral characters had a great deal of depth; this adds a lot of flavor to the novel! The plot is surprising, suspenseful, and harrowing, and it moves right along. Really a satisfying read, and I highly recommend it!

My only complaints, admittedly minor: the insipid title of the novel, and truly one of the least attractive book jackets I have ever laid eyes on. OK, so I'm a little "waspish!"
Natalya (09/27/08)

Exciting mystery by a Swedish author
I had never heard of this novel when I received it, although it has been a bestseller all over Europe. I had a long plane ride from Seattle to Tokyo and needed a long book to get me through it. What a delightful surprise this novel ended up being. I fell in love with the characters, especially Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo. I didn't sleep on the plane because I couldn't put the book down. It is filled with scandals, politics, computer hacking, and murder. I am usually good about guessing endings to novels and I was surprised at the ending. I can't wait until the other two in the trilogy are translated into English.
Becky (09/27/08)

Quirky Characters in a Fast Paced Mystery
If you like your mysteries hard to put down, you'll love "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo". This was a "one weekend book" for me. I couldn't wait to finish it, to find out all its secrets. I didn't hate to say goodbye to any of its characters & they didn't linger with me like some books, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride while it lasted.
Suzanne (09/27/08)

A Serious Page-Turner
To call this book a "crime thriller" or a "techno thriller" or even a "murder mystery" is to do it an injustice. It starts out a bit slowly but builds by midpoint to one of those books you just can't put down. What at first looks like a closed-room mystery turns out to be a very meticulously built set of parallel stories that eventually come together in unexpected and explosive ways. The character of techno-punk, deeply damaged Lisbeth Salander has to be one of the most intriguing heroines to have graced the page in recent years.

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