When I saw that we would be reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest for The Bestseller Code 100 Books Challenge, I knew I couldn’t read it without first reading the preceding two books in the trilogy by Stieg Larsson. A recent trip away from home, and the resultant several few days without wifi, gave me the perfect opportunity to read all three books, which have long been on my “to read” list.
Stieg Larsson created a couple of memorable characters in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth Salander is a young woman with a deeply troubled past, a photographic memory, and a near savant ability with computer programming (a.k.a. hacking). Salander has learned that she can only rely upon herself and, as such, refuses to talk to any person of authority about anything, is almost compulsive about her personal privacy, and believes she doesn’t need friends. Mikael Blomkvist is a 42-year-old investigative business reporter who has just been convicted of libel against a prominent businessman. In this first book, Salander and Blomkvist become an improbable team as they investigate the disappearance of a young woman more than forty years ago.
One of the reasons I held off reading this trilogy when it first exploded on the scene (bestseller’s lists, movies) was due to the extreme violence mentioned in the reviews, particularly sexual violence against women. I wasn’t in a place emotionally where I would have handled those dark topics well. And I was right to wait, as this first book presents sex trafficking and sex abuse pretty starkly. That said, Stieg did a masterful job of creating a compelling storyline and memorable characters. If you read this first book in the trilogy, I guarantee you will not be able to ignore the remainder of the series.