The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  This book is a perfect example of plodding writing—it just dutifully moves the plot along. You can tell that the author's editor said "You need more down-to-earth details here" or "more sex," and the author put them in, as instructed. The story is interesting; I read on with interest, often skimming, impatient to see what would happen, but not enjoying the writing. The girl with the dragon tattoo (a detail that is amazingly irrelevant to the story), who is not actually the main character, is the least believable character and the least developed. Maybe that worked; I projected an interesting character (based largely on characters in other books) on the basic frame the author offered and almost cared about her, but she wasn't as presented by Larrson. Mikael Blomkvist, the real main character, is completely flat. The book is moved along by a typical deus ex machina device; the girl is a computer hacker and therefore knows everything because she can hack into any network or database or anyone else's computer and find out everything they know. (This is an increasingly common device these days—even writers I like do it.) A big surprise you thought of early on occurs. Leaps of faith and acceptance of logical gaps are required, but a couple of garden-variety very bad guys are eventually killed off. This is not literature, nor even much of a mystery, but there is some interesting investigation. I tried to ascribe the amateurish writing style to translation from the original Swedish, but that's not more than 10% of the problem.