Saturday, August 22, 2009

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE - Stieg Larsson


~ English translation by Reg Keeland

By now, you have probably heard of Stieg Larsson, a Swedish businessman/journalist who dropped off three manuscripts with his publisher. He died of a massive coronary before seeing the first novel, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was published. This is the second book of a three (four?) part series, and it is my personal belief that you must start from the beginning with the first book to follow along.

Part of the reason why I loved the first book was its "murderer in one room" or "Clue" aspect. It also introduced fascinating characters. The second book continues with Salander, but she and Blomkvist are no longer together. In fact, she does not want to have anything to do with him. However, she soon needs his assistance when she is declared the only suspect in a triple-murder.

What a relief to finally learn about Salander's background, which was only toyed with in the first novel. Now, we understand her reasoning, though it is often based on her own moral code. However, this book had such a plethora of new characters that it became frustrating for me to keep track. After much flipping back and forth, I would hope to rely on written clues, but I was disappointed several times.

Perhaps most frustrating of all is the obvious plug for the next book. The ending is jumbled, needing the quick, clean proficiency of Salander and Blomkvist - together - to fix everything.

2.75 out of 5.0 Snowballs.

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