Okay, okay, I know I came into these books half a step behind the rest of the world. I purchased The Girl With Dragon Tattoo quite by chance. Friends had raved about it… and the film (which I still haven’t seen). I thoroughly enjoyed investigative journalist Mikeal Blomkvist working away, almost it seemed, in isolation up there in Northern Sweden on the Vanger mystery. Then along comes the incredibly complex ‘Lisbeth Salander and we have a new and unique anti-hero, (or is it anti-heroine?) Who can resist her?
So I quickly moved on to The Girl Who Played With Fire. Could NOT put it down. Stieg Larsson moves Salander on from a Stockholm computer hacking punk who hates men who abuse women to a truly globe-trotting computer hacking punk who now seems to hate men who abuse women even more. There’s treachery, corruption, greed, murder, prostitution and sex on every page, but at the same time an understanding of Larsson’s own bitter experience of the exploitation of women in his home country and clearly the driving force behind his wonderful story telling. There’s also a firm understanding that they drink an awful lot of coffee in Sweden. Last time it was Salander saving Blomkvist from an early meeting with the grim reaper; this time the roles are reversed. However, worry not, there’s a third book so you can be pretty sure they’ll both be okay. Can’t you?