The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Author: Stieg Larsson

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Edition/Pages: Kindle Edition

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

Short & Sweet Synopsis: When an esteemed Swedish journalist is falsely convicted of libel, he quits his job and travels to the northern part of the country to solve a 36 year old murder case for the former CEO of one of the country’s most powerful corporations.

So, first of all, let me say that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a book that I read about 3-4 months ago, so this review might not be terribly detailed in nature. However, I loved the book, and since I finally got my hands on a copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire and will be reviewing that in the near future, I figured I should go ahead and cover the first book in the series.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Movie Poster
Many people probably know of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of the (fairly) recently released film based on the novel. While I had the book on my to-read list for probably 2 years prior to this, the movie was actually what sparked me to finally pick up the book. See, the movie looked really awesome, but I’m one of those people who can’t stand to watch a movie without reading the book first. So I read the book…and I still haven’t seen the movie. But that’s okay. I kind of want to finish the series (a total of 3 books) prior to watching the movies, so that they don’t screw up my impressions of the characters. Now, time to stop rambling and write a book review!

Once upon a time there was a Swedish journalist…

Who lost a libel case, went to prison, got out of prison, quit his job, got an interesting proposition for a new job, and accepted. And no, those aren’t spoilers. That is where this book starts. Mikael Blomkvist, former publisher, is given a job offer from a wealthy and retired CEO (Henrik Vanger) of one of Sweden’s largest companies. He is officially hired to write a family history, unofficially to solve the murder that has been plaguing the family for 36 years. And aside from financial compensation, Vanger offers up a way to take down the man who got him falsely imprisoned for libel…

And on the other side of Sweden…

We find Lisbeth Salander, an adult who was declared legally incompetent as a child, and is thus still under the care of a court-appointed guardian. She is anti-social, and troubled by life-long abuse. She is also an investigator and world-class computer hacker. When Blomkvist hears about Salander, he hires her as a research assistant to help solve the Vanger murder case. And there, begins the true story.

The Murder.

This book is essentially a murder mystery that is far more character driven and in-depth than most. The novel is for the most part spent among the various colorful characters of the Vanger family, trying to find which one of them murdered their own relative 36 years earlier. It also comes back to Blomkvist’s relationships and arrest from time to time, as well as brushing over Salander’s past, although she remains in large part a mystery.

The Conclusion. 

READ THIS BOOK. If you can handle darker subject matter, because it is very dark. It can be violent, and graphic at points, and does have a tendency towards cursing in the dialogue. If these things bother you, be warned. That said, it is a beautifully crafted work of fiction. Unless the above listed issues truly do cause you discomfort I would highly, highly recommend this book. While I feel like every review I have written thus far consists of me saying it is one of the best books I have read recently, I’ve been quite lucky…it really is true. But for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I would not only say it is one of the best books that I’ve read lately, but one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period.

Here’s what some other reviewers think:

From Wandering Mirages: Larsson uses his investigative style of presentation and his two main characters and an extremely dysfunctional family to work in an amazing variety of potent themes into his first book. I cannot wait to see what he’ll do in the second one.

From Bookworm Reviews: This book deserves five stars, it truly is as good as the reviews say it is, and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

From We Heart Reading: …The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is a book truly worth reading and frankly if someone had told me it happened in reality I would stare in utter fascination and, at the same time, horror but nevertheless I would eventually believe him because the plot is believable.

Related Posts: The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson



  1. In the beginning and a hundred or two pages later it was dragging but right after that then things get really interesting. I love how this book kept me guessing! When we found out what had happened and who were responsible I couldn’t believe it only until the whole situation finally sunk in. I’ve already begun the second book but I’d put it down, reality called.
    Excellent review, Alexandra, straight to the point. I’ll come around again 😉

    1. That’s true…I found that in the beginning, it kind of jumped right into the middle of a plot with characters whom the reader doesn’t yet know. As soon as you figure out who’s who though, the pace picks up. And yes, it definitely kept me guessing too! I’m about halfway through the second book myself right now (trying to finish it up before school starts and I won’t have time!). So far it’s keeping up the high standard of writing. I’m enjoying it and will probably be reviewing it soon.
      Thank you! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

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