This is the first in the Millennium series and was a thriller read. Mikael Blomkvist is a reporter who thinks he has the story of a lifetime that will lead to the downfall of a dirty financier, but his source fails him. Looking instead at a prison term, the loss of his good reputation, and possibly his job, instead of honor and glory, he is approached by Henrik Vanger and his lawyer to help solve an unsolved disappearance of Vanger's great niece Harriet. Vanger's family is influential and can give Mikael not only job, a new writing project, and money, but also the goods on the dirty financier. As Mikael digs into the secrets of the Vanger family, he uncovers something beyond his worst nightmares. Thankfully for Mikael he is not alone in his search, he has Lisbeth Salander, an abused, brilliant, and anti-social woman who finds the information that shows the disgust that some of the Vangers have toward women. Lisbeth is 24, has a mother who is mentally unstable and sickly and is a ward of first a nice guy who lets her control her life and then an evil, malicious man who she puts in her place after he disgustingly rapes her twice. Once they learn the truth, Lisbeth and Mikael are in danger of a killer who will stop at nothing to stop them.
Well, I would not have read this book if it were not for book club. It is brutal and show the depth of men who hate women, whether it is through killing them( the killer) , making them submissive (Lisbeth's guardian and less extent her boss), having relationships with them to get what you need and then bailing (Mikael), or through a feeling of superiority( Henrik). The first third of the book is really detailed and talks about Swedish ways of doing business and how the government works there, so it is really slow, but about halfway through the book, the action and suspense really picks up. This is a really violent and graphic book, so if that bothers you I would not recommend it at all. It has a true to life ending and the characters are really flawed and the mystery is intriguing, but brutal, so for me it was way outside my comfort zone. I do give it 3 cups of cocoa for making me think and for having surprises throughout the book. I may read the rest of them someday, because I have heard the third one is really good, but I am not in a rush at the moment.