Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I know I'm late to the party on this series.  For those of you who haven't actually read the three books Mr. Larsen wrote before his untimely death, I recommend them.  For those of you who have read the three books Mr. Larsen wrote before his untimely death; what's up with all the sandwich references?  I have now, in a little over a week, finished the first two books in this three book series.  And that speaks well for them, because they're not short-over 1200 pages together-and they're not short on detail.  I had originally purchased The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a couple of years ago but due to life getting in the way I never read it.  When Sean and I went to see the movie Moneyball (Which is excellent even though I'm not a fan of the Oakland A's. I'd probably still like the movie even if it didn't have Brad Pitt in it.....but it does, so that's definitely in its favor.), one of the previews was for the movie adaptation of this book (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, not Moneyball which was also a book, but why have a preview for the movie you're about to see? That would just be weird.), and I was intrigued.  Normally I get annoyed when Hollywood infringes upon my imagination by adapting a book.  Usually the movies aren't as good as what I picture in my head, but Daniel Craig happens to be the male lead and the not-so-hard-on-the-eyes guy who played the Croatian doctor on ER is also in the movie.  (Yes, I thoroughly researched this review.  Ok.  Maybe not, but I've been busy reading!)  I can deal with having them in my head.

The books are set in Sweden, Mr. Larsen's homeland, and begin with a fairly well-known journalist being convicted of libel and in a professional pinch.  At this point in time he is offered an unusual and profitable job  by an aging head of a dwindling Swedish business empire.  Henrik Vanger would like Mikael Blomkvist to write his biography, but more to the point to find who killed his niece in the 60s.  It is an unusual offer and is surrounded by unusual circumstances, but as it is Mikael needs time to regroup before going back to work at the magazine he helped establish.  There is a lot of material to go through for the biography and the assumed murder (a body was never found) and as he is doing the research, Mikael comes to realize that the Vanger family has many and diverse personalities; few of which mesh well. 

As he gets closer to unlocking clues about Harriet Vanger's death, he comes to realize that he needs more help and that there are plenty of Vangers around who do not want him to keep looking.  Mikael gets help from Lisbeth Salander.  She happens to be the woman who did the (unknown) background check on him for Henrik Vanger.  She is whip smart, introverted to the point anti-social, and commands a computer like it's an extension of her body. She also has a mean set of survival skills and a few problems of her own.  She's not big on friendship but she and Mikael work well together.  They know they're getting closer to the truth as more and more unpleasantness occurs around and to them.

I'm going to leave the plot points at that because it's a mystery, and me telling you what happens is like skipping to the end of the book. And that's against the rules.  I will say that there are a lot of Swedish references which are foreign (duh) to those of us from the States.  For the most part I pretended as if my pronunciations were correct and I made a few assumptions about life in Sweden, mostly this; judging from the number of times they're mentioned I gleaned that sandwiches are the Swedish national bird and sex crimes are the national currency.  Those assumptions have also not been researched because they don't involve Brad Pitt or Daniel Craig.  There are several parts of the book that are uncomfortable; I'm not kidding when I say that sex crimes are a very prevalent theme and there are plenty of male characters in the book with hateful views on women.  But there are a couple of good mysteries and more than a couple interesting characters in the book as well.  I liked it.  I actually liked it a lot.

And now that I've finished my review I'm going to get the third book and make myself a sandwich.  Who's with me?!

Look!  A movie trailer!  Sure, Amy and Carrie do other fancy things, but I'm giving you Daniel Craig.  You're welcome. Pin It


  1. I admit it. The trailer made me want to read the book, too.
    That's pretty much the opposite of how things normally work for me.

  2. I got it pre-published as part of my Vine deal, then inexplicably held on to it for probably two years. Love it. However, I'm kind of stuck on the third one, though Dave assures me it picks up soon. ;)

  3. Joey's with you. He likes sandwiches too.