It's a thriller. Couldn't put it down! I heard about Larsson sometime in the 90s. We were studying and reading about extremism and hate in a group at our church. Mostly we read Morris Dees but articles by the Swedish Larsson cropped up during my research. He investigated and wrote about right-wing extremism in Europe and specifically worked to expose neo-Nazis in Sweden. He died unexpectedly in 2004 and three novels were published posthumously, this being the first in a trilogy.
I read a recent article in Time about the author and the books and then saw the plans in the making for the first book to be made into a movie soon. Of course that meant I had to read the book. So glad I did. It is obvious that his work influenced his novel.
What you have here is a hot but older (40s) journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is in a state of disgrace and is facing some jail time for libel. He agrees to take a job for an elderly tycoon to investigate the 30+ year old disappearance of his grand-niece and heiress Harriet Vanger. Blomkvist hooks up with a top-notch private investigator and computer hacker in the person of Lisbeth Salander who is a tiny, tattooed creature with multiple issues dealing with being an orphan and a ward of the state.
If you like deep intrigue, shocking events, blood, torture, Nazi hunting, and adventure this is the book for you. It is a thriller and you get a hint of the infiltration of the Nazi party into Swedish aristocracy. Of course what the duo reveals is more than just what happened to Harriet. There are evil and festering secrets in the Vanger family. You also follow Lisbeth through some very dark episodes from which you start to see why she is so different. The only thing I didn't like was some pretty raw and pointless sexual content. Call me a prude if you want.
I'm still not sure how some of the names should be pronounced – guess I'll find out at the movies.