It begins with Mikael Blomkvist, a middle-aged journalist who publishes a magazine called Millennium, being charged with libel after printing an expose on a prominent Swedish industrialist. Looking for somewhere to escape to lick his wounds, Blomkvist readily accepts a job to chronicle the life of the head of Vanger Corporation, Henrik Vanger and to search for answers to a mystery that has been troubling the wealthy yet dysfunctional Vanger family for decades – who killed 16-year-old Harriet Vanger 40 years ago and why?
Blomkvist takes on this impossible job not thinking he will get anywhere with the case, but finds that a fresh eye can sometimes see things that have been missed. Soon he finds himself struggling with a mystery that goes so much deeper than anyone had imagined and his life may be in danger as someone in the Vanger family wants their secrets to stay buried.
Enter Lisbeth Salander, socially defunct yet blessed with a brilliant memory and keen detective skills. Salander works for a security company and has worked for Henrik Vanger previously. Can Salander help Blomkvist solve this old mystery before time runs out?
I think that Michiko Kakutani from The New York Times sums it up well when he says:
“Combine the chilly Swedish backdrop and moody psychodrama of a Bergman movie with the grisly pyrotechnics of a serial-killer thriller, then add an angry punk heroine and a down-on-his-luck investigative journalist, and you have the ingredients of Stieg Larsson’s first novel.”
This novel is an epic tale focusing on many different characters and five generations of the Vanger family. All of these characters lives intertwine in a complex web of mystery and intrigue.
I loved this book. At first, I struggled with the descriptions of financial journalism and the industrial sector, finding it quite dull. Those sorts of things don’t interest me. It was only when Blomkvist was hired by Vanger and begun his research into Harriet’s disappearance and most probable murder, that the story really got interesting.
Without wanting to give too much away, this story is full of twists and turns that I did not see coming and Larsson does a great job of taking the reader on the journey along with Blomkvist and Salander as they make their discoveries in this mystery. This book is a real page turner so be prepared to get some serious reading done, as you won’t want to put it down.
If you like crime fiction and a good mystery then I recommend you read this novel! I am definitely going to be reading the next two novels in this trilogy.