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Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the Millennium series. The book is staged against Sweden and it gained prominence for depicting the rather dark and gloomy side of the country that persists within its citizens may be incoherently. According to the author, all within the novel it has been put forward: an ugly state of the human nature of the countrymen with the matters like ill treatment of women by men, sadism, sex trade, and domestic violence, suicide, deplorable and depressing state of people.

Despite the title, the lead character, in many ways, is Mikael Blomkvist. He runs an investigative cum political magazine called Millennium where he often publishes the scandals and enjoys tarnishing the public image of heavy figures. But this time, the tables have turned on him, he has been charged with a written defamation case against a billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. Blomkvist not only pays the hefty amount as a fine but also serves in the prison for three months.

Next, another ageing billionaire industrialist Henrik Vanger hires Blomkvist to get the details of a long lost case that happened around forty years ago. Before the meet-up, Henrik pulls up all details of Blomkvist, this surprises him. The case dates back to around forty years when Henrik’s great-niece, Harriet, goes missing from their private island. Henrik wants to know what all happened to her, if she was murdered then who was that? Henrik has a hunch that someone from his family has done away with her. Henrik promises him a reward of 2.4 million kronor if he succeeded in solving the case.

To get on the case like a tiger, Blomkvist teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a 24-year-old lady with very unusual and complex nature. She has a photographic memory and computer hacking is just another game for her. Inside or outside the plot, this strict yet docile lady always lingers with readers and they are likely to take her with them forever. As the title suggests that the book is about a girl but that girl is not Harriet but Lisbeth herself. As the investigation advances inch by inch, the pace and plot of the book becomes tight and gripping. Well, readers will have bit tough time in sorting out the Vanger family tree to understand the plot and mini climaxes, as there seem many cousins and nephews.

As they both delve deeper to bring out the Harriet’s disappearance, they already formed into intimacy, realize that they aren’t on any cold case. The book is a translated version but still it became a bestseller, also it was published posthumously, and the character Blomkvist has resemblance of what the author himself used to do in his journalistic career. A racy novel and at times the scenes of debauchery, intimacy and gore make it a compelling read.

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