Well over a year ago now, I was browsing through a Glasgow bookshop, killing some time before a meeting at the Diocesan Office and picked up a couple of books I had been wanting. Having discovered that they were part of a buy 2 get 1 free deal I then started looking to see if there was anything else that caught my attention, there was. ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larrson, at the time I didn’t know that it was part of a trilogy, was an international best seller, and the characters were storming the world. To be truthful if I had known I would have probably steered away from it, I bought it because my daughter has a dragon tattoo.
The girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, is an interesting and complex character, who gets more complex as the three books progress, before her story is just about unravelled, as you near the end of the hefty tomb which is the final book ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest’.
I found the first book hard going at first, but on the recommendation of my girl with the dragon tattoo who had quickly borrowed and read it I persevered, Hubby on the other hand gave up.
The story is a compelling one that has more twists and turns than a pot noodle! Lisbeth is first introduced to us as a secondary character, as the first book centers around the troubles of Millennium magazine and Mikael Blomkvist an award-winning investigative journalist, who having lost a libel case over a story he printed about the Swedish industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström, leaves the magazine to flounder as he takes on a request from Henrik Vanger to find out what happened to his niece Harriet, who had disappeared 40 years perviously, but as Henrik suspects that one of his family have something to do with Harriet’s disappearance the rest of the family are unaware of the real reason for Mikael’s appearance in their small hamlet. He hits block wall after block wall and it starts to look as if he will only be able to produce his cover piece of work a history of the Vanger family, then Lisbeth appears. An outsider who doesn’t want to fit in with society, hates authority, can be violent, and is a computer wizard. To the authorities she is not capable of looking after herself and consequently the state has appointed a guardian to look after her affairs. occasionally she works for Milton Security using her craft as a hacker to get information on people who no one else posses. She has been asked to find out information about Mikael but ends up being asked to help him in his quest to find out what happened to Harriet. They uncover a disturbing family secret which leaves Mikael in danger and Lizbeth’s view of society confirmed.
The first book could easily be read as a separate novel, if you picked it up without knowing it was the first of three you wouldn’t be left wondering what happened next, although like me you might be intrigued by Lizbeth and want to know what secrets she goes at great lengths to hide.
The second book ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire‘, doesn’t answer all those questions although it does start to unravel her troublesome past. I think this was the book I found most gripping and hardest to put down.
It beings with Millennium magazine being presented with a story about sex trafficking by the young and upcoming journalist Dag Svensson some of his information has been obtained by his girlfriend Mia and Mikael not wanting to be confronted with another libel case takes on filling in gaps in the story and concrete facts. Lizbeth and Mikael have lost contact, but she has hacked his computer and when she discovers what he is investigating and becomes a suspect in murder, she starts her own investigation knowing that her father is behind it all somewhere. We learn more of her horrific past, however Larrson’s fine and clever writing means that while I was never sympathetic with her for long, I began to understand her motives more. Who will trace and find Lizbeth’s father first and what will happen?
The final book ‘The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest’ is the longest and continues the story of the second book. What now will become of Lizbeth and her father? Will the mysteries of Sapo be unravelled and ever be able to be proved? What will the fate of Lizbeth and her father be?
In this book Mikael puts aside his determination to not share information with the police to try to bring this sorry state of affairs to a satisfactory conclusion. Time is against them, they need to uncover all the facts before a trial begins.
I found the ending of the Trilogy a little disappointing, there was a perfect opportunity to finish it with a shock, but instead, it kind of fizzled out once most loose ends had been tied up, there was only one question I was left wondering about the story and it was one of little importance to the overall tale. That being said I would still say, if it is your type of book read it, and if you think it might not be, borrow one and see how you get on, you might be surprised.