Sunday, August 01, 2010

Book: Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

The Girl with the Dragon TattooA week or so ago I finished Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and I have to say that I liked it.  It was not my usual science fiction fare.  Actually, it was not science fiction at all.  It was a mystery/thriller, a genre that I have neglected for quite a while.  I think my last thriller was probably a Clancy novel sometime last century.

The book follows a journalist and a researcher/investigator/hacker who, in the course of intertwining plot lines, join forces to solve a decades old crime.  Most of the plot lines in this 590 page book are introduction.  You are introduced to Mikael Blomkvist, a business reporter convicted of libel, and Lisbeth Salander, an anti-social, possible aspergers, brilliant hacker/investigator/researcher.  You watch as their lives meet and a friendship, what little Salander allows, emerges.

The mystery itself, the disappearance of a sixteen year old girl over forty years ago, is interesting to a point.  As I read more about it, it seemed a little mundane.  I'm used to grand mysteries that end in earth shattering consequences, a staple of science fiction.  I have to accept that outside of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Action genres, simpler intrigues are sometimes the norm.

Taking this into account, I liked this book.  The characters were interesting.  I especially like the Salander character.  The Blomkvist character was rather generic but he did have some potential.  I wonder if he is a necessary character.  Did Larsson need a 'normal' person for the reader to relate to or did he need a 'normal' person that he could relate to?  I supposed a whole book from Salander's point of view would be more challenging for the reader to the point of making it a difficult read.  It would also make it a challenge for the writer.  The book, with it's multiple stories surrounding the central mystery, peaked my curiosity enough that I will probably read the two sequels ("The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest").

On a small side note, Stieg Larsson, assisted by the sales of these books, has become Amazon.com's first author to have sold one million kindle e-books.