Friday, 17 December 2010

"The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson

Year of Publication: 2006
Number of Pages: 569 pages
Genre: Crime, thriller,

Summary: When a young journalist comes to Millennium magazine with an expose about prostitution in which a number of very high-profile men will be named and shamed, celebrated crusading journalist and Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist jumps at the chance to help him. However the journalist and his student girlfriend (who is writing a thesis on prostitution) are found murdered in their home. The evidence points to enigmatic computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Given Salander's propensity for violence and apparent anti-social tendencies, she immediately becomes the target of a nationwide police search and media frenzy. Blomkvist, however, believes that she is innocent and is determined to track her down first. Salander is also being sought by some highly dangerous indiviuals who will stop at nothing to silence her for good.

Opinions: This book is the second part of the celebrated Millennium Trilogy from Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson (the trilogy began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005) and concluded with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2007)), all of which were poublished after Larsson's death. The novel picks up about a year after the events of the first book and it carries on and explores many of the themes and plotlines of the previous book. However, while the first novel was pretty much a detective story this one widens it's scope into police procedural and conspiracy thriller. Many of Larsson's themes from the first book resurface, in particular male violence against women and institutional corruption. As with the first book there are times when Larsson's determination to deliver his message seems to get in the way of the story, but mostly it is a pacy thriller, despite it's length. Larsson was good at documenting the intricacies of an investigation whether by police or journalists without it seeming dull, and he could also deliver some great action scenes, although one of the book's villains, a giant who is immune to pain, could have stepped whole and breathing from a James Bond book.
The book was turned into a film in Sweden in 2009.

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