The Girl Who Played With Fire

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The Girl Who Played With FireThis is the second of three mystery novels written by Stieg Larsson who presented them to his publisher  shortly before he died in 2004. It’s success in sales is no doubt at least in part due to the ride on the coattails of the first published novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo although in my opinion it is not as crisp and gripping as the first novel. Since it was originally written in  the author’s native language  many names of characters and places are in Swedish which requires some concentration to keep track and is a distraction. It also seems to be a little more slow moving than the earlier story. The author takes time to describe details of things which ultimately don’t seem to make a difference to the plot or the movement of the story such as the exact layout of a street or a room of a house. However there is also a great deal of page turning suspense.

The story continues where the first novel left off with a main focus on the two main characters Mikael Bloomkvist a journalist and “the girl” Lisapeth Salander. The journalist is involved in a plan to publish an expose, which came his way about a sexual trafficking in young girls, which involved politicians and police among others. There are multiple murders and “ the girl” becomes centrally involved in this situation.. The plot and the developing murder mysteries that develop are quite original and involve Mikael and Lisapeth as well as a new group of police and bad guys. More than a few times the plot is moved along by a coincidence such as one character who happened to be visiting someone  when he heard one side of a phone call which was led to important developments. There was another instance when one character on an unexplained impulse picked up another character’s cell phone that was on the desk when he stepped out of the room and detected a phone call that he had made at a particular time which provided key information. These literary devices would seem to be short cuts that indicate some weaker writing than the first novels. Some of the imagery in the book effectively conjures up some well  known scenes in popular movies of men who are in humanly strong  and one scene where a character arises after almost certain death and burial.

In the end it is Lisapeth Salander who is the main focus of the story. She is a fascinating character who is not quite a lesbian although she comfortably has sex with women, not quite autistic or mentally ill  although she grew up with few friends, rarely cracks a smile and was put away in school for disturbed children as a youngster, not at all solidly built with a very thin child like build although she physically beat up several powerful men. She  is one of the world’s best computer hackers with a photographic memory who will never forget a detail that she reads and will never forget any one who mistreats her or people that she actually cares about.

I look forward to reading about her in the third and final novel. I also will be very interested to see how she is depicted and who will play her  in the series of movies based on these novels which are out now.

Category: FM - Fiction Mystery | Tags: , , Comment »


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