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The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium, #2)The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Following on from The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, this book increases the pace. By about half way through the book, you might as well give up, cancel everything, find a nook and a jug of strong coffee and finish it. You won't be able to sleep or concentrate on anything else, and you will be of no use at work or to your family.

It helps if you have read the first book in the trilogy, for background and getting to know the characters, but this story stands alone. A few new characters are introduced - some explode onto the page, some are shadows and rumours - but they are all colourful.

It might help to take a piece of paper to keep everyone straight. By the end of the novel there are police officers, doctors, psychiatrists, journalists, lawyers and other villains coming out of the woodwork.

There are twists galore, and the reader is kept guessing for most of the book before it all comes together from several different directions. That's half the fun - reading on until you find out the answer.

The other half is the action, and there's plenty of it. Stieg Larsson is a master at describing what's going on, giving plenty of forensic detail, right down to the pizza boxes in the corner, maintaining the pace, and cunningly concealing his surprises. There's a scene in a warehouse that is beautifully set up and if you are not gasping for breath by the end of it, you need a checkup. Or more coffee.

A map of Sweden would help. Maybe someone has set up a Google Maps template for the action. I'm tempted to go visit Stockholm on my next trip to check out some of the locations. It sounds like a well-ordered, pleasant, comfortable place to live. Apart from the homicidal maniacs wandering around attacking people.

Echoes of Miss Smilla in the odd title character. A pintsize powerhouse, she has extraordinary abilities, and she needs every one of them and more to survive.

There's a scene with a fox towards the end of the book that will stick in your memory for a long time.

I put this book down, drew breath, and reached for the next in the series. It doesn't let up at all.

View all my reviews >>
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September 2010

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