Before there was Katniss of Hunger Games and Tris of Divergent, there was Lisbeth Salander, a pierced and tattooed hacker who teams up with Swedish private investigator Mikael Blomkvist to solve a 40-year-old mystery: the disappearance of heiress Harriet Vanger.
My caveat to this book is the first 50 pages of slog you have to wade through before the story clicks and hums along. At first I thought it was the translator but then I read that after delivering the manuscript for this and two other subsequent novels, author and journalist Stieg Larrson promptly dropped dead. Among other things, he was studying extremism and violence against women in Sweden, and in the books Lisbeth—who’d been abused in her youth—is particularly nasty and vicious in exacting revenge. (Interestingly, ho-hum Blomkvist gets a ton of action in these books, mostly because he unreservedly loves women.)
Larrson never married but his longtime partner insisted the novels he wrote were joint projects and fought bitterly so that his estranged family couldn’t profit from their success.
Whoever wrote them needed a good editor and the last book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, is just plain boring. (Also, the Swedish adaptation of the book is so good there was no need to make an American movie, in my opinion.)