Mikael Blomkvist is a respected journalist in the Swedish circles. But a case involving a businessman turns bitter, when Mikael is unable to defend himself in court and prove the allegations he has penned in his article. With his career sliding down, Mikael has every intention of going into exile and that’s when an intriguing opportunity turns up.
Henrik Vanger, an industrialist with a vast business empire hires Mikhael to look into the murder of his niece. The catch – the murder happened nearly forty years ago, and the body of the girl was never found.
Mikhael has to work through evidence, that has long been poured over upon by investigators and Henrik, but no satisfying conclusion has been derived from any investigations. The day Harriet Vanger vanished, was also a day of a family reunion and the scene of a terrible accident. With people who had been present that fateful day four decades ago, either being dead now or too young then to have committed a crime, Mikhael must work through a diminishing list of suspects with hardly any new leads to solve a mystery that has remained under wraps for long. And Mikhael must do all this within a year, for he has a deal with Henrik, where in return for services rendered, Henrik would give Mikhael ammunition to destroy Wennerstrom, the businessman because of whom Mikahel’s reputation took a hit.
While chasing ghosts everywhere, the question is, who should Mikhael trust? What deeper horrors lurk beneath the disappearance of Harriet? And who will survive once the truth is out of the closet?
As much as the central hero of this book seems to be Mikhael, it is Lisbeth Salander, the tattooed, socially awkward, and brilliant researcher, who is central to the story. She may be small for her age, not exhibit emotions and have her own abuses to deal with, but she can kick ass (literally) when shove comes to push. She can get any information about any person, and chances are that she will get into her subject even deeper and compile a hundred more pages than was asked for. But Lisbeth has her own secrets that she wants to escape from and is known to be exploited at the hands of the very institution which should be safeguarding her. The blooming of the relationship between Mikhael and Lisbeth is almost a redemption in an otherwise hurtful life of Lisbeth’s.
This book has all the suspense and intrigue that you expect a first-class thriller to have. The climax to the Harriet mystery is excellent, and I wish that this book had ended with that episode. Of course, then we wouldn’t have had matter for the remainder of the series, and with this really being about the girl with the dragon tattoo, I imagine readers can expect more horrors from her past to be revealed in the next two books.
I’ve watched the Swedish version of the movie, and enjoyed it almost as much as the book. Don’t know about the Daniel Craig-starred English version, but I expect it to be done nicely as well.
A recommended read for lovers of suspense. Beware of slightly vulgar scenes.
Read: 25 Jul ’15 | 01 Aug ’10
Book #1 in The Millennium Trilogy
Pages: 465 | Published: 2005 | Genre: Mystery