The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish novel that was translated from its original language into English. It is at one level a gripping, chilling suspense novel about a crime that occurred decades before, and the naive young journalist who is hired to solve the mystery. As a suspense novel it is full of anticipation and plot direction that keeps the reader enthrall end. There is also a second level to the novel which is far more complex as beneath the surface we cone to learn of a Swedish culture that allows hatred of women to manifest itself in violence that is rarely investigated, punished or even thought about that much. We learn of a Sweden surprisingly anti-Semitic and where the state turns a blind eye to extremist fascist hate groups. The book is divided into four parts, each telling its own story of nysogenist and abuse. The novel offers us characters that bear testimony to these grim statistics with almost all of the main male characters being the perpetrators of this abuse and the principle female character being a repeat victim of it.
This novel is also a "whodunit" in that the main characters are trying to solve a decades old disappearance by uncovering the truth of what really happened the day Harriet Vanger disappeared, dealing with inevitable loss of evidence due to time passing and memory fading, but also due to the covering up of evidence by various members of Harriet's family who each have their own agenda for perpetuating the "mystery".
This is the first novel of three in The Millenium Trilogy, thought to be partially autobiographical because of the main character's similarities to the author, both in the circumstances of his life and his character. Sadly, the author, Stieg Larsson, passed away shortly after submitting the manuscripts for all three novels, never living to see their international success both as novels and as a movie.