The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It might seem odd to review a bestseller after the hype has died down, but such was the influence of this book over me that I decided that I had to hold off reading it until my own thriller was published. Of course, I couldn’t stay away completely and succumbed to the Swedish film version but I waited until I had a good first draft of my own novel. Why? Because we both had spiky female protagonists and I didn’t want to be unduly influenced by Lisbeth Salander’s characterisation.
Rather than simply recount the plot and add spoilers, I’d rather concentrate instead on the characterisation. Did Girl live up to the hype? As far as the characterisation of Salander is concerned – yes. And it is to see what Lisbeth does in the sequels is the reason why I shall be reading Hornets Nest and The Girl who Played with Fire. Blomkvist’s characterisation doesn’t quite match that of Salander’s but perhaps that was intentional – that Larsson chose to put the female protagonist centre stage.
The plot is sprawling, there are swathes of minor characters and the family tree is as complicated as the one in War and Peace, but if you like your thrillers with a social conscience, as I do, this deserves to outsell all the pale imitators that will no doubt, follow in its wake.