The fact that I love thrillers, am Scandinavian, and have never actually read this book before now is kind of embarrassing.
At the same time, I feel like I’ve read it many times before. I’ve read “of” it, heard about it and I’ve seen at least two of the movies (one Swedish and one American, I think? I feel like everyone was making this movie a few years back).
But boy, do I regret not reading this sooner, because this had me hook, line and sinker from the get go.
Short plot summary: Harriet Vanger, a small part of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared under strange circumstances years ago and her uncle (and head of the family) hires journalist Mikael Blomkvist to figure out what happened. To help dig through the family mystery Mikael acquires the help of Lisbeth, the girl with the dragon tattoo, social outcast and hacker extraordinaire.
This is part cold-case, part legal thriller and part amazing conspiratorial, plot-twisty genius. I loved (almost) every second of it.
It’s the cold-case part I loved the most, combined with the fact that Bolmkvist isn’t actually a detective, though he’s used to digging up dirt on people. But it’s exactly that he’s having trouble with in this case, because it happened so long ago, and it seems Harriet’s uncle has turned every stone already to uncover the truth. Right from the start it seems like this case will be nothing but dead ends, but Blomkvist keeps chipping away at it and every little piece of the puzzle leads to something new. At the same time he’s dealing with a ton of his own personal stuff – why do you think he took on this case, after all?
Larsson’s writing is gripping and captivating almost always, if almost a bit too dark and on point sometimes, but the mystery is fantastic. I’ve already bought the next two books and I can’t wait.
The only two things I didn’t like about it was that I felt the ending was drawn out and – since I listened to the English translation of this on audiobook – the translation isn’t great and the audio quality wasn’t the best.
Still, for any lover of thrillers or Nordic Noir, highly recommended!
Have you read this or any other of Larsson’s books? Let me know what you thought in the comments below, and if you’re interested in reading something else by a Scandinavian author, check out my books.