Author: Stieg Larsson
Published: 2009, Knopf
I finally read this because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out to be one of those books that I could appreciate, but not really enjoy.
Mikael Blomkvist is a Swedish journalist who has been convicted of libel for trying to take down a corrupt businessman. While he's down on his luck, he's convinced by Henrik Vanger (another businessman) to investigate the disappearance (and assumed murder) of Vanger's niece Harriet, which took place 40 years earlier. Mikael travels to the small town where Harriet lived -- the murder mystery becomes a closed-room story, as it soon becomes obvious that Harriet's murderer must have been one of the people in the extended family. Mikael is helped by Lisbeth Salander, a troubled young woman who is incredibly intelligent and an excellent hacker.
As I said earlier, I can appreciate this book as a story that intrigues and stays with you long after you finish it. The characters are complex and interesting, and the mystery is well done. But it's simply not my cup of tea. The Swedish title is Men Who Hate Women, and in my opinion is much more appropriate for the book. The main theme of the novel is how women are mistreated (quite horribly and graphically) by men. Each chapter starts with awful statistics that prove how many women are mistreated by men. It quite depressed me.
Also, the first hundred pages are sooo slow. And full of confusing Swedish names, places, political and economic history, and currency. So, if you try this book, keep trucking through the beginning -- it does get better.