Adam Knight’s Book Club: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Now a major motion picture, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is a mystery/suspense/crime novel by Stieg Larrson.  Stieg Larrson was a Swedish author and journalist who died in 2004.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of 3 novels he wrote before he died, but never published, all 3 books are best sellers in the United States,Sweden and around the world.  I wanted to read this book before I saw the movie, and I’m very glad I did.  This is not a story for the faint of heart.  I would not have been prepared for the on screen portrayals of rapes, tortures and murders that are all pivotal to this story.  The original title was “Men Who Hate Women” and one of the central themes revolves around violence against women.  Larrson witnessed the gang rape of a young girl when he was 15 years old and he felt enormous guilt about not helping or trying to stop it, hence violence against women, the monsters that commit these crimes, and the way victims are changed and cope with rapes and sexual assaults are all central themes of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.   Larrson, a journalist himself, is also extremely critical of “investigative” journalists and what and how they report on political and economic issues.  He also touches on the moral corruption of the corporate business world and the shadow of Nazism still present in Sweden.  So unlike some other “bubblegum” fiction, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is peppered with Editorial Commentary about social and economic issues in Sweden and around the world.


The story focuses on Mikael, an investigative journalist, recently convicted of libel, and little Lisbeth Salander, former victim of abuse and ward of the social services system.  Mikael is hired to publish a family history for a wealthy retired CEO and look into the mysterious disappearance of the CEO’s niece who vanished in the 1960s.  From there he crosses paths with Lisbeth, and uncovers crimes involving a serial rapist/murderer who has been operating all over Sweden since the 1940s.  Throw in some former Nazis, Organized crime, jealous ex-lovers, new lovers, a big twist here, and a lot of background it all makes for a great story, and Lisbeth Salander comes off as a 4 foot 11 inch super hero that would beat Batman at his own game.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is tough to categorize, my best description would be, it’s like a mix of the movies, “Seven” “Thelma and Louise” “Too Big to Fail” “Last House on the Left” “A Few Good Men” and “Kill Bill vol. 1 and 2”

All in all, a good read but probably not for everyone.  So I say, I will recommend this book to my more mature audience.  As stated above, there are some seriously dark and twisted underlying themes in, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Also take into account Stieg Larsson is Swedish, and in many parts of Europe they don’t share America’s Puritanical views on sexual behavior and relationships (some of my more Conservative friends hated the Protagonist because he was involved in an openly public ongoing extra-marital sexual relationship.)  So basically if you can’t say Penis or Vagina in public without cracking a smile or blushing, this isn’t a book for you.  If you hear voices when you listen to heavy metal telling you to do bad things, this isn’t the book for you.  If you felt an uncontrollable urge to break Beatles CDs or deface pictures of John Lennon after reading “The Catcher in the Rye” then once again this book isn’t for you.  However, if you’re a fan of Jonathan Kellerman, John Sandford, David Baldacci, and  Crime/Mystery/Thriller novels, then, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be hard for you to put down.

You can find this book in paperback everywhere, I’ve seen it at the Grocery Stores, Barnes and Noble, Airport Bookstores, Walmart, Target, and I swear I was waiting at a stoplight the other day and the guy next to me was listening to the audio version in his car.

Remember the Adam Knight book club, is a list of books that I have actually recently read and enjoyed.  Unlike O, I don’t have a publishing company so I don’t make any profit off the sales of the books I write about.  I try not to give away too much of the story, and I hope to entertain you for the 2 or so minutes it takes to read these little reviews.  If you’ve read the book, read my review, or just want to say something please give me some feedback in the area below.

Thanks and Gig’em!

Adam Knight