The second book of ‘The Millennium Trilogy’ from the late Stieg Larsson following on from the previous ‘The Girl with the Dragon’.
It picks up the story and the characters from the previous novel, this time about a year on from the end of the first. The plot itself gets underway much quicker than the previous novel, even ignoring the 100-or-so page prologue and it also picks up the pace of the story. It also thankfully dispenses with the heaping of irrelevant characters which was perhaps somewhat necessary with the story of the first.
No big departures in style otherwise though – it’s a crime thriller again with the main characters of committed investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the sassy but dark computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. This time round one of the characters is a suspect in a major crime and the other strives to help them out. The relationship between them results in the main characters being apart for most of the novel but the intertwined stories developing concurrently. They are still interesting characters, especially Lisbeth, and it’s good to get to know them further.
Some of the other characters introduced are almost Bond-esque henchmen and one or two of the situations do require a little leap of faith or perhaps massaging in your head to keep them believable, but the pace and the excitement of the story allow you to do this automatically.
The product placement and adverts have been toned down a little as well, so it’s a thumbs up from me for a fast-paced and exciting crime thriller with two interesting leads.
A sequel better than the first novel and as far as I could tell one that would work as a standalone novel too.
4 on 5
Author: Stieg Larsson (Swedish)
Translator: Reg Keeland, pseudonym of Steven T. Murray
UK Published: 2009