Posts Tagged ‘Stieg Larsson’

GirlWDragonTattoo2What a writer! Oh, my. Talk about books you cannot put down.

I just finished The Girl Who Played with Fire, not all that much later after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*. Is it any wonder Larsson won so many awards? He was truly a masterful writer. Not only does he have that whole end-of-the-chapter-page-turning thing going on big time, but he is able to effectively flip back and forth into different places and characters’ situations in rapid succession, never losing, but rather only building, the momentum of the story.

The fact that the names of the characters and frequently referenced locations are all Swedish and unfamiliar to the English-speaking reader still does not slow one down. Larsson periodically goes into paragraphs of description, such as in his providing the background of each member of the murder investigation team under Bublanski in The Girl Who Played with Fire, but that doesn’t seem to slow you down either. The information proves to be relevant later on in the story, but in the hands of a lesser writer, such descriptions might leave one meandering and lost down some other path. Larsson’s twists and turns keep you turning the pages and reading far later in the night than you should.

GirlPlayedWithFire2His characters are engrossing, particularly, of course, the main character, Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant computer hacker with a profoundly painful past. She can be violent, yet is at the same time, highly moral, and always complex and challenging. Mikael Blomqvist, the investigative journalist, is also compelling in his own way, but more so, I believe, in his relationship to Lisbeth. The trilogy is classified as crime thrillers/murder mysteries, and, of course, this is true, but for me, I also found them fascinating character studies.

Sometimes we have to be in the mood for a certain kind of book – I don’t always feel like reading a crime thriller any more than I do any other genre. But if you are in the mood, these are books you will not easily put down. I was lent the first two by my neighbor, but for the third, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I will need to go to the library in town. Starting Monday morning, I am committed to being home for the tree people to come at a currently unspecified time to remove a very large and threatening dead branch high up on an older spruce next to my home. Start a new book? Wait to get to the library? All life’s decisions should be this enticing.

* The movie version of this book with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig is also outstanding, in my opinion.

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