Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and co-owner of the Millenium magazine, loses a libel case against billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. A little bit later, Henrik Vanger, a retired industrialist, offers Blomkvist incriminating information about Wennerström if he works for one year on a biography of the Vanger family and, more importantly, goes over all the material from the investigation about Vanger's niece Harriet, who disappeared forty years ago without any trace during a family gathering. Vanger believes that she was killed by a family member, but despite all his efforts, he has not found any evidence for his theory. And so his offer to Blomkvist is his last attempt to find out what happened back then. Blomkvist hires Lisbeth Salander, the "girl with the dragon tattoo", a socially awkward researcher and hacker, to help with the research, and finally they discover a dark family secret...
I enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it's well-written with a captivating story. And I especially liked the mysterious and unusual character of Lisbeth Salander. On the other hand, the book's start is rather slow-moving, and it took me a while to get into the story.
Quotes from the book
She looked as though she had just emerged from a week-long orgy with a gang of hard rockers.
She became known as "the girl with two brain cells" – one for breathing and one for standing up.
She had put on make-up in a colour scheme that indicated she might be colourblind.
"You only pop in when you need something." [...] "It's because you never take a bath, Plague. It smells like a monkey house in here."
"I've had many enemies over the years. If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength – even if you no longer need to strike back."
"The advantage of being over eighty is that no-one can criticise what you wear."
"Your girlfriend?" - "Not exactly. She's married. I'm more a friend and occasional lover."
[...] to file a report against Nils Bjurman for sexual assault did not even cross her mind. And besides – what was she supposed to report? Bjurman had touched her breast. Any officer would take one look at her and conclude that with her miniature boobs, that was highly unlikely. And if it had actually happened, she should be proud that someone had even bothered. And the part about sucking his dick – it was, as he had warned her, her word against his, and generally in her experience the words of other people weighed more heavily than hers. The police were not an option.
"How was prison?" - "Like an uneventful holiday."
"I'm proud of you, and I never miss a chance to brag about the fact that you went to prison for what you believe in."
Her apartment in Stockholm might look as if a bomb had gone off in it, but mentally Salander was extremely well organised.
"What do you do with the bodies?" - "I have my boat at the dock right below here. I take them a long way out to sea. Unlike my father, I don't leave traces. But he was smart too. He spread his victims out all over Sweden."
"You are a very ordinary little person, Mikael. You would not be able to understand the godlike feeling of having absolute control over someone's life and death."
"[...] I'm more of a serial rapist than a serial murderer. In fact, most of all I'm a serial kidnapper. The killing is a natural consequence, so to speak, because I have to hide my crime."
"Death doesn't come until the end of my guest's visits here, after I've grown weary of them. It's always so fascinating to see their disappointment." - "Disappointment?" - "Exactly. Disappointment. They imagine that if they please me, they'll live. They adapt to my rules. [...] The disappointment comes when it finally dawns on them that they've been well and truly screwed."
"[...] she ignored everything that was unpleasant or showed her in a bad light. My father could have raped me in the middle of the living room right before her eyes and she wouldn't have noticed."
"I have his entire hard disk on my computer. You can have as much proof as you need that he's a gangster."