I don't get it. Oftentimes when a book is a huge success there's an easily discernible reason. I'll admit The DaVinci Code was a real page turner, and Oprah nailed most of her book club selections back in the day. But The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just isn't all that. It's compelling, sure, but standard thriller fare. Possibly a little more interesting for its Swedishness, but really it's just another guy written guy book where a smart middle aged guy ends up a hero with the money and the girl half his age. He throws in some statistics about violence against women and some strong female characters, yet one of the rape scenes was just a little too rapey for my feminist taste.
The author clearly has (had, cuz he's no longer with us) politics, which of course I often find appealing in a novel, but I felt here like he was trying a little too hard to impress us with his political and financial insights and his championing of women. His female characters are all quite capable of taking care of themselves (yay!) and yet, most of them want to sleep with him, and even after the gals have their moments of triumph, the novel has a long denouement until he can have his. Granted the dragon tattooed girl is the smartest character in the book, and the most interesting, and she does pull off a brilliant maneuver that the protagonist had nothing to do with, the reader doesn't get to know what that is until the protagonist understands it himself.
Anyway, this is a good but not great read. It doesn't live up to the hype at all. I'm on the fence about whether to tag it recommended or not.