Kathy Davie's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Nov 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: suspense

First in the Millennium suspense series revolving around a computer hacker with some mad skills.

My Take
Oh wow! Oh...wow!! I actually saw the movie before I read this book — Steven Zaillian did a very nice job on the screenplay. Yes, there are some chunks of the story that aren't included in the movie and there were some minor changes, but I finally grasped a bit of how a screenwriter approaches a novel to write a screenplay. It's a matter of focus and this movie is not at all hurt by the sections that were not included even though there were some useful bits in the novel with a better explanation than was provided in the movie.

I've been avoiding reading these books if only because everyone is reading them. That's a mistake. I'm very grateful to my friend Karole for dragging me off and insisting that I at least see the movie!!

There are two parallel plotlines at the start: Blomkvist coping with the judgment against him and digging into the job for which Vanger hires him and our learning about Lisbeth's life and love. Where does this guy get off thinking he has the right to demand details about Lisbeth's sex life??

I just gotta love an author who likes so many of the same authors as I do: Sue Grafton, Elizabeth George, and Sara Paretsky. Interesting reference to the Apocrypha — I've never heard of it…"good Catholic girl" that I'm not.

It was an interesting introduction to Swedish culture — holidays, foods, religious outlooks, living conditions.

I do love how much fun Larsson has in taking the nasty Vangers down a peg in how he has Blomkvist treat them. Ya almost want more encounters just for the fun of their confusion. The details on the improved advertising for Millenium after the Vanger-Millenium announcement was very encouraging. Although Cecilia's vacillation was just sad.

The bad guys in this story are certainly another argument for requiring parents to have a license before they can reproduce… It's a bit odd that out of all the brothers, there are so very few decent descendants: Henrik, Cecilia, Anita, Harriet. Many of the men were affiliated in some way with the Nazi party. Harald is certainly a lousy example of parenthood.

I know that people who were raised in the early part of the 20th century were taught to keep quiet about what happens at home and that they find our current "let it all hang out" attitude appalling. I can only be grateful that we have become more comfortable talking about or reporting abuse of any kind and accepting therapy for mental health issues. If only Harriet had had more faith in Henrik and spoken to him earlier…

Hmmm...yes, Asperger's syndrome makes so much sense..!

Thank you!! We finally learn what Blomkvist did that ended up with his receiving a judgment against him. It makes so much sense and I can't believe he fell for it..! Larsson does a nice job of tidying the loose ends up in this story...well worth the reading as the movie was for seeing.

Oh, snicker! I loved Blomkvist's comments after his book, The Mafia Banker, was published defining the difference between the Swedish economy and the stock exchange!

I so enjoyed reading about Salander's growth as a person. I want to read Girl Who Played with Fire to find out if she continues to grow and become more comfortable with others.

The Story
A case of trying for too much resulted in a judgment against Mik Blomkvist and the magazine for which he worked, Millenium. It wasn't the money or the jail time that is so disheartening about the judgment, but the loss to his prestige and reputation. Still, a job turns up that will allow Blomkvist to lick his wounds in private. Get his head back on straight.

Henrik Vanger [thinks] has just the project to help. Ostensibly, he wants someone to write the Vanger family history. In truth, he wants one last stab at solving his grandniece Harriet Vanger's murder before he dies. Her body was never found, but once she disappeared from Hedeby Island, she was never seen again.

It takes quite a bit of persuasion but when Vanger tosses in the sweetener, Blomkvist can't resist. A chance to take Wennerström down and possibly retrieve his reputation? He is so on it. It's income and a place to lie low and, if Blomkvist appears to be separated from the magazine, perhaps Wennerström will look elsewhere. He and Erika both know that Wennerström is gunning to hurt them.

From here on for both Blomkvist and Salander, it's research. Blomkvist is learning the Vanger family and the details on what happened that day 36 years ago on Hedeby Island as he attempts to find an angle that the detective and the family missed. Salander is pursuing her own ends when her replacement Guardian proves less than stellar and needs to be reined in.

Their paths merge when Henrik Vanger and Millenium announce their news the day Blomkvist enters prison. A collaboration that throws Wennerström and Sweden for a loop.

It's a full six-months into his research before Blomkvist discovers the photo sequencing that turns up a new lead. Then Pernilla provides another break in the logjam with her observations. There is a great deal of research still to be done. A photographer to be found. Connections to be made. The discovery of an unexpected resemblance. Shots in the dark that confirm their thoughts.

The Characters
Karl Mikael Blomkvist started journalistic life wanting to be a crimes reporter. The story that really started his career saw him christened "Kalle Blomkvist" after a character in an Astrid Lindgren story (the author of Pippi Longstocking). It's his daughter Pernilla who holds the clue to the truth.

Blomkvist and Erika Berger started Millenium magazine to fulfill their beliefs that a good reporter questioned everything. No reporter should accept the press releases or reports as they were handed out, but should investigate everything. They were doing okay, growing their subscription base until the judgment against Blomkvist. Blomkvist and Erika have been off-and-on lovers for 20-some years; Erika's husband, Greger Beckman, is an artist who appears to accept their relationship. Christer Malm is the art director and designer for Millenium as well as a third partner. Janne Dahlman is the managing editor.

Lisbeth Salander is a computer hacker who creates highly informative reports for Milton Security. Her background is horrific and an excellent example of authority needing to get their heads out of their collective asses. She's antisocial with a psychopathic mindset and extremely anti-authority. Well, with her past, I'd be shocked if she wasn't! Holger Palmgren was assigned as her Guardian until his heart attack. A really decent guy. The new Guardian assigned to her is Advokat N.E. Bjurman and he deserves everything he gets. Plague is one of her hacking friends in Stockholm.

Dirch Frode is Henrik Vanger's lawyer and hatchet man. Henrik Vanger was the CEO of Vanger Corporation, a once-thriving Swedish corporation that is slowly falling apart. Martin Vanger is the current CEO and the best of the family available. The bright Harriet Vanger was 16-years-old when she disappeared the day of the annual family dinner. Her brother is Martin; her parents were Gottfried and Isabella Koenig. Harald Vanger is Cecilia and Anita's father; they don't speak. A particularly hurtful scene was after the incident when Cecilia went out hunting with her father and their brother Birger. Another one who should have had a license to reproduce. Anita was a close friend of Harriet's; now she lives and works out of London, England.

Ingrid Vanger's son is Gunnar Karlman the editor-in-chief of the Hedestad Courier which lets fly with a nasty article about Blomkvist.

[I'm not going to mention all the Vangers.]

Otto Falk was the pastor at the time. Gunnar Nilsson is the caretaker on Hedeby Island; he and his wife Helena live across the road from the cottage where Blomkvist will be staying. Anna Nygren is Henrik's housekeeper. Detective Inspector Gustaf Morrell took over the investigation into Harriet's disappearance.

Dragan Armansky is the head of Milton Security who employs Salander. He is the connection between Vanger, Blomkvist and Salander.

Hans-Erik Wennerström is the head of the Wennerström Group and the man Blomkvist accuses of fraud — most financial reporters see him as "A Swedish success story". William Borg is also a financial journalist. A lousy one who truly hates Mik Blomkvist. Robert "Robban" Lindberg is the old schoolmate and banker who started Blomkvist's investigation.

The Cover
It's vivid with its lime-green and yellow dragons background and the author's name in a bright orange. That orange provides a three-dimensional quality to the black used for the title.

The title provides the clue to an important character in the series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
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Reading Progress

November 24, 2010 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 26, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 27, 2012 – Shelved as: suspense

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by William (last edited Mar 03, 2018 05:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

William Thank you for the great review!

I also saw the Swedish movies before reading the books. Both books and movies were very good. I even mostly liked the US version of the first book, although the US-version ending was quite stupid.

Kathy Davie It's been so long since I've seen the movie OR read the book, that I don't remember the ending.

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