Picks and Pans Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

updated 09/29/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/29/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Stieg Larsson

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The biggest Swedish phenom since ABBA, Larsson's debut was a huge bestseller in Europe. The girl of the title is a teen gone missing near Stockholm, but the novel is less a conventional mystery than a portrait of the man hired to find her: Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist forced to take a sabbatical after being unfairly sued for libel. Against enormous odds, he must piece together his shattered life while sifting through a cast of distrustful locals, eccentric relatives and beautiful but emotionally unavailable computer hackers to solve the crime. Too predictable to make you lose sleep, Tattoo is nonetheless diverting enough to make it worth your while.

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