26 01 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson

A young girl lies in a hospital room, her tattooed body very close to death — there is a bullet lodged in her brain. Several rooms away is the man who tried to kill her, his own body grievously wounded from axe blows inflicted by the girl he has tried to kill. She is Lisbeth Salander, computer hacker and investigator, and the man is her father, a murderous Russian gangster. If Salander recovers from her injuries, she is more than likely to be put on trial for three murders — the authorities regard her as a dangerous individual. But she won’t see the inside of a courtroom if her father manages to kill her first.

The final one in the excellent Millennium trilogy and it doesn’t disappoint. Whilst the concept of the secret unit within the Secret Service is not totally credible and the heroism of the journalists involved does stretch things a bit, nevertheless it remains an exciting ride from start to finish. The only weak element is the court room representation which is surprisingly flat, despite a number of improbable events.

Nevertheless, really good and the trilogy overall is great entertainment.


Playing with Fire

30 11 2009

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered, and Salander’s prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society – but no-one can find her. Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, does not believe the police. Using all his magazine staff and resources to prove Salander’s innocence, Blomkvist also uncovers her terrible past, spent in criminally corrupt institutions. Yet Salander is more avenging angel than helpless victim. She may be an expert at staying out of sight – but she has ways of tracking down her most elusive enemies.

A slightly slow start to this, the second in the Larsson Millennium trilogy, but when it gets going it really takes off. Fast-paced and gripping it delivers on every count. Super stuff.

Thrilling stuff

6 10 2009

The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family.

dragon tattoo

He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.

This really is an excellent yarn, an exciting and compelling thriller. Seems also to have sold squillions of copies worldwide and is one of those books always recommended on Amazon, no matter which other books you are interested in. Was genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed it. The back story about the author is also intriguing:

Stieg Larsson was the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Expo. He was a leading expert on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist organisations. He died in 2004, soon after delivering the text of the novels that make up the Millennium Trilogy.

Looking forward to reading the next one. And no doubt the movie is already in production…

four stars

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