Scandinavian authors are still in vogue with U.S. crime fiction readers, especially Stieg Larsson, whose bestselling first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is also a movie, newly released in the U.S., garnering good reviews everywhere. Translated from the Swedish, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is as dark and grim about society’s failures as fellow Swedish author Henning Mankell’s, but are long, sprawling novels, unlike Mankell’s sparer stories about police detective Kurt Wallander.
The title character, Lisbeth Salander, a pierced, tattooed, world-class computer hacker, trusts no one — for good reasons, which are hinted at in this book, but explained more fully in the second, The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Intrigued by her prickly persona and talent for finding out secrets, Mikael Blomkvist, disgraced journalist, hires her to help him solve an old, unsolved disappearance that he has been drawn into researching. Digging into this prominent family’s past becomes dangerous for them both.
Scenes of sadism, rape, torture, abuse, and revenge make parts of this novel painful to read, but, like many others, I was hooked by the deeply troubled character of the motorcyle-riding, kick-boxing 24-year-old, Lisbeth Salander, scrawny as a fourteen-year-old but tough as nails. She was an at-risk youth who grew up trying to protect herself from male predators in one form or another. Most learn quickly not to mess with Lisbeth Salander.
Check the availability of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire from home through our Old Colony Library Network catalog.
The third book of the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, won’t be released in the U.S. until May 25. Sadly, Stieg Larsson died in 2004 at the age of 50, before the books were published in Sweden.