Book Review – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Millennium I) by Stieg Larsson

First published, 2005

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Ten years ago, my ex gave me a copy of this book. It’s not bitterness that makes me say she wasn’t particularly well-read and certainly hadn’t read this one; it’s simple observation. She told me that she’d got me a copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because I had a tattoo, so she figured I’d like it.

Anyway, that all went to hell and I never read the thing. In fact, I gave it away when I exorcised the relationship from my property. But I’m a grown-up now – I’ve decided pushing-forty is definitely grown-up – and I’ve set myself this challenge of reading as much classical literature as possible before I’m fifty and here we are.

A modern classic, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the story of disgraced former journalist turned reluctant ghostwriter/memoirist, Michael Blomkvist, who has been hired by an ageing captain of industry to write the biography of said industrialist’s frankly appalling family of backbiting wretches. If, during the course of his research he happens to discover what happened to a young woman who disappeared from the family forty years ago, so much the better.

Meanwhile, investigator, hacker and ward of the state, Lisbeth Salander, finds herself broken, used and trapped by new guardian, pervert and holder of the purse strings, Advokat Bjurman. But as Blomkvist digs deeper into the mystery of missing Harriet Vanger, how long will it be before he needs to lean on the detective skills of Ms Salander? And how will he feel when he realises she knows more about him than most?

An amazing story with memorable characters, a huge cast and lots of history. The author had an incredible eye for detail – this is a masterpiece.

‘Salander was dressed for the day in a black T-shirt with a picture on it of E.T. with fangs, and the words “I am also an alien”. She had on a black skirt that was frayed at the hem, a worn-out black, mid-length leather jacket, rivet belt, heavy Doc Marten boots, and horizontally striped green-and-red knee socks. She had put on make-up in a colour scheme that indicated she might be colour-blind. In other words, she was exceptionally decked out.’
p 50-51, Chapter Two, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Millennium I) by Stieg Larsson

A tricky one to recommend because, although brilliant, it includes a whole heap of violence. Proceed with caution.