I have been meaning to read this crime novel since I first learned about it in the Sunday New York Times over a year ago. However, no amount of crime novels exposing man's inhumanity to man that I've read in the past could have prepared me for the horrific details connected to the masochistic serial killer at the heart of this story.
Thankfully Larsson tempered such graphic descriptions with a subplot involving a difficult romance, the tenuous health of a frail business icon and a through line about the mysterious disappearance/possible murder of a beloved woman who is part of a rich and famous family with questionable relationships.
Translated from the Swedish, I did find proper names with unfamiliar accents distracting, but not so much as to persuade me to stop reading this fiery-footed tale that gallops apace. And, the only situation that I found not credible was the remarkably open sexual rapport that journalist Mikael Blomkvist has with his married best friend Erika Berger.
Don't take only my word for this compelling book. Listen to Michael Ondaatje who blurbed "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an utterly fresh political and journalistic thriller that is also intimate and moral."