Books: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Author: Steig Larson
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Mystery, Thiller, Suspense
My rating: 5 stars out of 5

Steig Larsson is a genius.

I mean it.
I really, really mean it.
Who else can create a trilogy of really long, fast-paced, complicated books with characters you root for, despite huge faults?
Okay, a lot of writers have.
But how many have you seen on every subway car, bus, airplane, and in every coffee shop you’ve been in the last few years?
Everywhere you look, you see Steig Larsson’s books. And not just on shelves. People are reading them!
A Swedish company has already made films of all three, and now Hollywood has taken the bait.

Main Characters

Lisbeth Salander is an intriguing character. She is dark, a little scary, but so interesting. And in some weird way, we’re all drawn to her and rooting for her in each of these three novels. And if you’ve read the books, she’s far from a nice girl, good citizen, lead female. At points she’s a victim. Most often…she’s the criminal-esque character we’re rooting for.
Mikael Blomkvist is likeable, despite his hard-nose journalism, and philandering ways. We feel bad for him. And yet, we don’t. He’s so capable. And yet, he’s not.

Intriguing Development

Larsson moves his story along, in each of the three books, so artfully! Slowly releasing bit by bit of information, developing the mystery, the situations, and the characters.
It’s tantalizing!
He releases facts and ideas to his audience in such a way that you can’t not keep reading. It’s suspenseful! Oh my goodness! Why do you think I was able to read all three books in only a week?

I honestly couldn’t put these books down. I was too excited.

There were no paragraphs or chapters where I said, “Okay, this is a good point to take a break.”
Nope.
He pushed you forward. Constantly. The text just kept screaming, “KEEP READING! KEEP READING!”
Someone is being chased? Someone has a gun? Someone has a secret they aren’t quite willing to share?
  • Well then I can’t stop now!
  • I’m supposed to be grocery shopping… okay, I’ll just walk around the store with my book.
  • Oh! The light turned red. Great! I’ll read while I wait for a green.
  • Merry Christmas family! This is a great turkey dinner – excuse me while I turn the page.
I wish I could write so well and keep readers turning page after page, staying up way too late each night.

Cohesive

Have you ever read a crime novel that just gets confusing? The author has infused so many characters, documents, places, and stories into one that you’re not sure who is what or where or how anything connects to anything else?
This is not one of those books.
Every idea Steig presents is important to the plot. Every character he introduces enhances the world of the story. Every tidbit he delivers, is brought back at some point in the trilogy to complete the message. Every loose end is tied.
Amazing.
Really.
I was awed upon reading.
If you haven’t read these books yet, do! Seriously.
They are way out of my usual genre. But I loved them! I may just have to read more crime thrillers now.
They are exciting. educational. moving. make you think.

Have you read them? What did you think?

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