17 April 2009

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)

So- my Easter crime read.

I normally try to avoid those fad books which everyone in the world is reading, if only so that my experience of the book isn't coloured by all the hype. In this case, I was after a book which would have a gripping, amazing, unputdownable plot, so I delved into one of the books of the moment, Swedish crime *sensation* The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist hired to write a family history of the Vanger family, one of the families of industry in Sweden. Whilst he is at it, Henrik Vanger would like Blomkvist to figure out who killed his niece (? I think it was his niece - it is a ridiculously large, extended family, I didn't really keep track of how everyone was related) Harriet forty years previously. We also meet a serial killer with a strange strange bible fetish and a computer hacker with anger management problems.

So far so good...

I don't really know how this measures up in terms of being a good thriller (except..I wasn't really 'thrilled' at any point). Interesting plot? Yes! That extra x-factor that makes you stay up until 4 in the morning reading? No. I trotted off to work this morning with ten pages to go, happy to leave it behind as there wasn't enough book left to sustain two train trips and a lunch break. But what does it say about an 'unputdownable' thriller that ten pages before the end I was able to walk out on it? I know I pretty much stand alone with this point of view, I was assured by colleagues, customers and friends that it would grab me and not let go. Unfortunately it did not do what it said on the label.

Interesting tidbit (maybe... it's quite a well-known tidbit so maybe not...) Stieg Larsson wrote three novels which make up the Millennium trilogy, of which Dragon Tattoo is the first. He delivered all three to his publisher and promptly died of a heart attack without living to see the insane popularity of his books. Most people say 'how sad' on learning this, I am inclined to be suspicious...just like Blomkvist, Larsson was an investigative reporter... maybe he was poking his nose in where it wasn't welcome... and someone felt the need to silence him for good...

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