The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This is the second time I have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… This is however, the first time I finished it.

I don’t remember why I stopped reading it the first time around, but after dwelling into this fabulous novel for a second time I realise that my first abandonment of this novel was a mistake. Luckily though I was drawn back to this novel after seeing the film adaptations (more about them later).

The Blurb

Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects seem bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

A disgraced journalist, a mystery and a girl with a dragon tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo begins with our protaganist, Mikael Blomkvist, an editor of a financial magazine entitled Millenium being found guilty of libel after writing an article about a shady financier. With his career and magazine in tatters, and an impending stay in prison approaching Blomkvist takes a leave of absence from the magazine. Mikael however, doesn’t remain unemployed for long because he is soon hired by an entrepeneur, Eric Vanger to research and hopefully solve a forty-year old mystery… The disappearance, and suspected murder of his niece, Harriet Vanger.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Lisbeth Salander;a mistrustful, anti-social, and oft-violent twenty-five-year-old woman with a dragon tattoo. Despite all of her problems though, Lisbeth is also a top-notch researcher for a security firm. Through her expert skills as a researcher, she eventually is approached by Mikael to help him in his search for the truth about what happened to Harriet Vanger.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is an extremely well plotted story, with memorable, well-drawn characters that will eventually hook you once you make it past the long, and not too exciting back-story that makes up the first thirty pages or so of the novel. For me however, the sub-plot of the life of Lisbeth Salander is the part of this novel that will stick in my memory for some time, and it is her character that will have me reading the other parts of Stieg Larsson‘s Millenium trilogy (The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest).


About the Author

Swedish journalist and author, he was the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Expo from 1999. He had previously worked at a major news agency for many years. He was one of the world’s leading experts on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organisations and was consulted at Scotland yard and in Brussels on the way fascist networks operated.

He died suddenly and without warning in November 2004, soon after delivering the manuscripts for his three crime novels to a Swedish publisher. These novels make up the Millenium Trilogy. Tragically, Larsson did not to live to see the worldwide phenomenon his work has become.


The Films

You cannot really mention The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo without mentioning the films based on the book. There have been two successful adaptations of the novel for the silver screen. The first and probably the truest adaptation was the Swedish version, which I saw a few years ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.

If Swedish isn’t your native language, and you don’t like reading all of those subtitles, than luckily a very good adaptation of the film was also made by my favourite director David Fincher for you… It isn’t as true to the novel as the Swedish version but it is still a good adaptation, though personally I would recommend the Swedish version for true lovers of the book.

Second Opinion

Click here for a second opinion from the Reading Lark blog


  • Published September 16th 2008 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2000)
  • Kindle Edition, 658 pages