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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

August 11, 2010

This is the first in the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larson, about a veteran reporter and a young, brash computer hacker with a photographic memory who team up to solve the forty-year-old mystery of a wealthy businessman’s missing niece. If it sounds like your typically implausible, semi-cliché crime story, it’s because it pretty much is. The writing is so-so. The characters are hit-and-miss. The plot is entertaining, I guess, but that’s like leaving a Michael Bay movie and saying it had good explosions. It’s a crime novel—it has to have a good plot.

At the risk of sounding like a book snob or contrarian, I’m not sure why this book has received such hype. It’s not bad—I just don’t think it’s nearly as remarkable as it’s been made out to be. It definitely doesn’t warrant the praise of craft or groundbreaking storytelling it has received. It’s not as good as any of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter books, and not any better than James Patterson’s Alex Cross books. And as Swedish crime fiction goes, I enjoyed Henning Mankell’s Sidetracked much more than this. To each his own, I guess.

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