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BOOK REVIEW:
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
BY STIEG LARSSON

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.

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Stieg Larsson was first and foremost a social activist. He used his journalism career to further his causes of fighting racism and violence against women. In his spare time, he also wrote a trilogy of mysteries. Fortunately for readers, he finished all three books before turning them into the publisher, so although he is now deceased, all three books will be published. First published in Sweden in 2005 (with a different title), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took Sweden, then the rest of Scandinavia by storm. When the book was picked up by a British publisher, the title was changed, but the result was the same-sales soared. Finally North America will have a chance to see what all of the excitement is about.

This book, the first of the trilogy, introduces readers to the most unlikely pair of protagonists, journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer genius Lisbeth Salander. The tale told is extremely complex. While it is in essence a “locked room” mystery on one level, it's also a social commentary on violence against women and Fascism on another level. When readers meet Mikael Blomkvist, he has just lost a libel case and been sentenced to jail. The co-owner of his magazine, Millennium, suggests that he take a year's leave of absence from the magazine to serve his time and distance himself from the publication allowing things to cool down. When an attorney for Henrik Vanger summons him for a meeting at the industrialist's home located on a coastal island, Mikael goes not knowing what to expect. Henrik's great niece disappeared nearly forty years ago and before he dies, Henrik wants to know what happened to her and hires Mikael to investigate. Mikael soon discovers a computer genius has also been hired by Henrik for a slightly different job, but the two join forces and ultimately discover the truth. That computer genius is Lisabeth Salander, a deeply disturbed young woman with many body piercings and tattoos.

As so many of the Scandinavian authors do, Larsson relies heavily on the characters to move the story forward. Not only are the protagonists, Lisabeth and Mikael, complex characters, but there is some depth added to even the most minor person. While this tends to make for a slower pace than most thrillers Americans are used to reading, it helps at the conclusion as the action picks up when Larsson ties the various plot threads together. The rich development of the characters makes for a meatier, more satisfying read-one not soon forgotten.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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