The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, 465 pages.
Having so thoroughly enjoyed Child 44, I thought another international thriller would make for a great beach read. Wow. This one was intense. And not just international in setting (Sweden) but translated from the original Swedish. Translated books makes for another discussion altogether, don't you think?
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist has just come out on the losing end of a court case that destroys his professional reputation. So when Henrik Vanger contacts him with a proposition to uncover the truth behind his niece Harriet's disappearance - a 40 year old mystery - he has nothing to lose. Mikael is given free reign, living amongst the Vangers and uncovering their secrets. Meanwhile, street smart and uncoventional hacker Lisbeth Salander, having already investigated Blomkvist, joins him in his quest to find out what happened to Harriet. Lisbeth is unlike almost every heroine I've ever read about - she appears to have no emotions, yet is endearing with a combination of wisdom and a childlike quality . I can't remember where I heard or read that Lisbeth has characteristics of someone with Asperger's Syndrome, but it seems like an apt description.
There were only two things that continue to bother me:
1. An intensely horrific rape scene, that you can see coming and I wish I'd skipped it. (pages 198,199, 201,202) ick. You aren't missing any necessary plot here...
2. And for all Mikael's professional integrity, his promiscuousness was a major character flaw in my eyes. ick again.
The end of the book leads to a questions of sequels...author Steig Larsson passed away shortly after delivering his book to the publisher. The good news for readers, is he also delivered the next two books in the series, the second is scheduled for US publication in 2009. Please don't let me scare you off, it's a worthwhile read. (It is a bit slow in the first 60 pages or so.)
Anyone have experience with Scandanavian literature and would like to comment? Feel free.
Here is an interview with Sonny Mehta of Knopf.
My rating: 4- stars (I'm wavering b/w 3.5 and 4)