Way back in 2012 I decided to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s not the sort of thing that I usually go for, but every once in a while I like a bit of crime fiction. The Sherlock Holmes books, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy; now and then I get a bit of a hankering for something like that. So given how popular The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was I thought I’d see what it was all about. I hadn’t seen the movie, American or Swedish, and knew next to nothing about it.
I enjoyed it, but it didn’t knock my socks off. If anything, I was still a bit confused about what kind of book it was exactly. It started off like a thriller, built to a crescendo with the awful rape scene… and then it seemed to turn into an episode of Murder, She Wrote. I kept waiting for payoff from the rape/revenge stuff at the start of the book, but it just wasn’t mentioned again.
So I put it aside, went off reading a bunch of other things (A quick glance at my Goodreads shows I read a Lars Iyer, a David Sedaris, and – predictably – a Haruki Murakami) and never thought to look at the second of the Millennium trilogy. Fast forward to this year and I wound up being told by a number of different people that I really ought to go and read the other two books in the series. So I picked up the second and got completely hooked. Almost as soon as I finished the second I went out and got the third and now I have finished them all.
Now I get it. Now I see why these books were so popular. That rape scene from book one that seemed so bizarrely absent from the conclusion of that book, is the catalyst for what comes next. And what came next was about a thousand pages of plotty goodness. I don’t read a lot of heavily plot driven stuff, but this captured me.
And of course, I have finished the Millennium trilogy just in time for the new Girl With the Dragon Tattoo book, being written by David Lagercrantz. It will be interesting to see how a new writer develops the story and the characters. I remember reading Anthony Horowitz’ Sherlock Homes novel The House of Silk. In it, he wrote in the foreword about trying to be true to Conan-Doyle’s style and tropes, but thought he had added to many dead bodies. There were plenty of the usual Holmes details, and ‘too many dead bodies’ was just the unique bit that he had added. Hopefully Lagercrantz has added something unique of his own without losing what made the original books so compelling. I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t at least one long passage detailing Ikea furniture.