It was both a blessing and a curse that I came about the audiobook for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Crime doesn’t tend to be a genre I read a lot in, but I’m pretty genre agnostic when it comes to reading. So when a newspaper was offering the audiobook for free as part of an offer, I snapped it up for a rainy day and stuck it on my iPod.
That rainy day came recently when I found myself in need of a good audiobook to keep me company during a particularly boring piece of the day job. I flicked through the audiobooks section of my iPod, saw it sitting there and thought, “I’ll give that a go.”
What I didn’t realise is that this free audiobook was in fact the abridged version. Hence the curse. It means that some of the issues I had with the book concerning some very clipped dialogue and the occasional odd bit of pacing, are probably attributable to the hack and slash of the abridged version. Had I known, I probably would have got the unabridged version. But that said, if it hadn’t been free there’s a good chance I would never have attempted to try this novel out.
So I’m unable to analyse this book fairly, but I have to be honest, what started as a rather boring story of libel, morphed into a really great mystery such that by the end I was sorry to see the characters go. I didn’t find it a book that reached out and grabbed you, but one that grew on you.
There’s a real undercurrent of S&M to the book, and in many ways this is where the true horror of the novel lives. It also helps give the book a bit of a dark edge to it that punctuates the moody atmosphere.
The characters, disgraced journalist Blomquist and sociapath Salander are beautifully flawed and together make for an interesting chemistry. The mystery itself is a little more mundane and I was surprised when it appeared to be resolved so early (again this might be due to the abridged version). The resolution also felt like the weakest part to me, with the antagonist coming across as a little comic book and tropey.
Yet still, I found that I was drawn more and more into this book as I progressed, and it’s stuck with me well after the end. I just wonder how much better it would have been in the unabridged version.
I think I will check out others in the series, but if I elect to go for audiobooks you can be assured that they won’t be abridged.