Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor in chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson's second thriller, even though itÅfalls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden's sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival. Powerful prose and intriguing lead characters will carry most readers along. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Lisbeth Salander, the antisocial but brilliant computer hacker who helped journalist Mikael Blomkvist uncover a serial killer on a remote Swedish island in Larsson's acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, takes center stage in this second volume of his "Millenium" trilogy. Opening 18 months after the events of the first book, the novel finds our heroine lounging by the pool at a Caribbean hotel, reading a math textbook, and watching a woman who may be a victim of domestic abuse, while in Sweden, Blomkvist, bewildered by Salander's abrupt disappearance from his life, is set to publish a magazine exposé on the sex trade. Impatient readers may chafe at this seemingly irrelevant prolog, but like the mathematical puzzles Salander enjoys solving, there is a logic to the clues that Larsson carefully drops--integral to understanding his protagonist as we gradually learn her back story. The main plot takes off with the murders of Salander's legal guardian and the two writers of the article, and her fingerprints are found on the gun used in the killings. VERDICT Although the pace slows when the police investigation takes precedence and Salander briefly disappears from the action, we are well-rewarded in the exciting final section when she finally confronts her dark past. This is complex and compelling storytelling at its best, propelled by one of the most fascinating characters in recent crime fiction. Eager fans will placing library holds for the final volume, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, scheduled for a 2010 U. S. publication. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/09; see also the Q&A with Knopf editor in chief Sonny Mehta and executive director of publicity Paul Bogaards on p. 60.--Ed.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"[A] gripping, stay-up-all-night read."--Entertainment Weekly
"Boasts an intricate, puzzle-like story line . . . even as it accelerates toward its startling and violent conclusion."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Gripping stuff. . . . A nail-biting tale of murder and cover-ups."--People
"You might as well give up on the idea of sleep till you've finished the book."--Dallas Morning News
"Buzzes with ideas [and] fizzes with fury."--Los Angeles Times
"[A] dynamite thriller."--Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Lisbeth Salander [is] one of the most startling, engaging heroines in recent memory."--USA Today
"Brilliant. . . .Grabbed me and kept me reading with eyes wide open."--Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
"I couldn't put down The Girl Who Played with Fire and eagerly await book three. . . . You must find out what happens next."--Erica Marcus, Newsday
"Lisbeth Salander could be the female Jason Bourne . . . It's an intelligent, fascinating story that draws readers in, and keeps them turning the page." --Associated Press
"A combustible new thriller . . . Extremely well-written--Larsson's minimalist prose is frosted with Scandinavian cool. . . . Burns with blue-flame intensity. . . . Larsson keeps a tight rein on the bullet-train plot."--San Antonio Express-News
"A dynamite thriller." --Variety
"Fantastic . . . Like all the great stories of just avengers that populate literature, this trilogy is secretly comforting, making us think that maybe all is not lost in this imperfect and deceitful world of ours. . . . Welcome to the immortality of fiction, Lisbeth Salander!"--Mario Vargas Llosa, El Pa s
"Enthralling. . . . Confirms the impression left by Dragon Tattoo." --Washington Post
"Will likely confirm Larsson's position as the most successful crime novelist in the world." --Slate
From the Paperback edition.