I'm not a big fan of thrillers. Maybe it's because I don't like the thrill of the chase or the adrenaline rush of constant vigilance and the fear of being caught. Whatever it is, thriller novels just aren't my thing. Then why the heck am I reviewing a thriller novel? Well, as a reviewer and as a reader, I try to read things in various genres and frequently supplement authors that I know and like with new series, authors and genres to help mix things up. Sometimes I find that I enjoy things that I originally thought I wouldn't, and even though I still have my favorites, it's good to branch out sometimes.
This philosophy is what first compelled me to pick up Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage). I didn't know much about the book prior to reading it, just that it was on the New York Times' Bestsellers List, was an international best-selling, etc. I was so fascinated by the title that I picked it up without even checking out the summary — I do that sometimes so that I can be completely surprised by what I read. While The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is pretty thick (thicker than most books I read), I devoured it in three days flat (not including weekends, by the way). It kept me up late into the night flipping pages and wanting more.
When The Girl Who Played with Fire hit shelves, I was all geared up for more fabulous intrigue from Mr. Larsson. This time around, though, I did a little more research into what I should expect. I found that Larsson turned into the manuscripts for his phenomenal Millennium trilogy shortly before he died. So, while there will sadly no longer be any more novels from Larsson after this summer's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the Millennium novels will be his lasting legacy.
In The Girl Who Played with Fire, publisher Mikael Blomkvist and the police are conducting parallel investigations into three horrifying murders and the strange evidence that points at young computer genius and social misfit Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist hasn't seen Salander in nearly two years, after their adventures unraveling the twisted world of the Swedish underground in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and he believes it's time to break that silence. He's convinced that Salander didn't killed the victims. Well, at least mostly…
Lisbeth Salander is one of the most complex and fascinating characters that I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Not only is she perfectly drawn, but her back story, dialog and actions feel natural and smooth. She is a realistic character that jumps off the page and pulls readers in. While I doubt many can personally relate to her unique past and mega-awesome computer hacking abilities, she's still compelling and written about in a real enough way for readers to enjoy her character.
The Girl Who Played with Fire is just as engrossing as its predecessor, and with this new, more portable (okay, how portable can a 700 page book be?) and more budget-friendly mass market paperback edition, it's even easier for readers to get involved in Larsson's engrossing world of underground Sweden. Readers won't feel out of breath after finishing the book — just hungry for more of Salander's adventures. I know I'll be counting down the days until The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest hits shelves.