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The Girl Who Played with Fire Book
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Joanne Leddington30 July 2009
The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second book in Stieg Larsson's excellent Millennium trilogy, the first book being The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the final, as yet unpublished in English, book being The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Mikael Blomkvist is the editor of Millennium magazine and has made exposing the secrets and shady dealings of Swedish public figures the central theme of his career. Given this pedigree, it comes as no surprise that Blomkvist jumps at the chance to help a young journalist who is investigating sex trafficking in Sweden and those in public office who abuse underage girls. Although he doesn't know it, Blomkvist's work is being followed by Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous 'Girl' of the trilogy, who has hacked into his computer. While Blomkvist and his team of journalists investigate the Swedish sex industry, Salander, incensed by the case studies of teenage prostitutes that she finds on Blomkvist's computer, takes matters into her own hands. Salander plots fitting punishments for the traffickers but, before she can act, she is accused of three murders, all connected to the sensational articles about to be published in Millennium, and must go on the run to avoid capture by the police. Although he can't track her down, Blomkvist is pretty much certain that Salander is innocent and so sets out to clear her name and eventually discovers that she is far more embroiled in the investigation than he ever imagined. The Girl Who Played with Fire is a very gritty crime novel, at times undeniably disturbing, but is still really compulsive reading, so much so that for a pretty long book the 569 action-packed pages just fly by. I can't wait to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and I really hope that both Blomkvist and Salander find some closure at the end of the trilogy.
Stieg Larsson gleaned a remarkable degree of success before his too-early death in 2004. He had delivered to his publisher three remarkable crime novels; the initial book in his â€˜Millenniumâ€™ sequence, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, had enjoyed an unprecedented success in his native Sweden before the translation took the UK by storm. Larsson had made a considerable mark as a crusading journalist, with a speciality in tackling political extremist groups. But he offered assistance to many people and groups who he felt were vulnerable â€“ something of a modern hero, in fact.
One of Larsson's key achievements as a writer was to create an innovative kind of heroine for the crime novel. His unconventional sleuth, the highly intelligent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, is a confrontational young woman, whose Goth accoutrements sometimes alienate those around her (except the individuals she opts to have sexual relations with â€“ strictly, that is, according to the rules she lays down). In the second book in the Millennium sequence, The Girl Who Played with Fire (as in its its predecessor), Lisbeth's closest ally is the older journalist Mikael Blomqvist, even though she has abruptly ended her emotional relationship with him. Lisbeth has left all she knows behinds her and has begun a relationship with a gauche young lover. But after a grim revenge run-in with a man who has abused her, she becomes a suspect in three murders, and is the subject of a nationwide search. Blomqvist, however, is convinced of her innocence (he has just been responsible for a blistering report on the sex trafficking industry in Sweden), and is determined to help her â€“ whether she wants his help or not.
As with Larssonâ€™s earlier book, this is highly compelling fare, with tautly orchestrated suspense; it's often grisly and uncompromising (not a problem for many readers), and the massive text may be longer than is good for it, but Larsson admirers won't begrudge the late author a word,and will be impatient for the third (and, regrettably, concluding) book in the sequence. --Barry Forshaw
The second instalment in the Millennium Trilogy sees Lisbeth Salander wanted for murder while Blomkvist tries desperately to clear her name.
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.
- Stieg Larsson
- 9 July 2009
- Quercus Publishing Plc
- Paperback (Book)
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