It took me a while to pick up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - I was really intrigued by all the wonderful reviews I was reading but the genre of crime/mystery is not usually one that I enter into - too close to my work and just not something that tends to relax me. Part of the buzz of reading for me is being taken to another world - and this type of world just isn't really the kind of world I want to visit!
However, I bit the bullet with this one when I was in Borders with my partner a couple of weeks ago and he had two books in the "Buy 3 Get one Free" deal but just couldn't find a third - Dragon Girl called out to me so I brought her home with me.
Am I glad that I did? Well, yes and no...
Yes because this was a really great book in so many ways. Not being a big crime/mystery reader I'm probably not really able to compare this book with others in its field but I thought this was one of the best character novels in this genre that I have read. The main characters seemed solid and well developed and not without their flaws - definitely multidimensional. The character of Lisbeth Salander was a particular favourite - so vulnerable but such a tough ass at the same time - I loved her!
I thought the mystery element of the novel was well built - the premise of disgraced finance journalist, Mikael Blomkvist being called upon by ageing Industrialist Henrik Vanger to solve a decades old family mystery was combined well with Blomkvist's own personal and professional dramas with a high rolling Swedish businessman. The interactions between the different story lines and characters was written quite well - I sometimes felt the narrative was a little stilted or strange but I am wondering if this was a result of the translation process??
This book captured my reading time from the moment I picked it up but unfortunately it also captured my non-reading time - particularly my sleep! I soon discovered that for me this was not a book I could read before going to sleep - the violence depicted in the novel - particularly personal violence against women - was brutal and graphic. I have worked with women who have had violence perpetrated against them and this book reminded me of many of their stories. To be honest, if I had known this was the context of the book I probably would not have read it - so in many ways I am glad I was in the dark about this content as this is a book I am glad to have read. I will also be looking forward to reading the other two books in the series - after I have a little bit of a break from the violence and mystery.