I knew a girl many years ago who had a dragon tattoo. This was before tattooed girls were run of the mill so it was kind of a big deal. Or maybe it was a big deal because it was quite a large, purple, fire-breathing dragon that started on her left breast and drifted into her shirt. All I could think at the time was “I wonder how great that will look when she’s 40 … or 60?”
With that memory lodged in my brain, I wasn’t too enticed to pick up the book, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” when it first came out. Then my book club selected it for our January discussion. Luckily, one of our members mentioned to hang in there because it doesn’t get exciting until 40 or so pages into it. You had to get past all of the Swedish economic intrigue in the early part of the book. (Yes, I said, Swedish economic intrigue – trust me stay with it.)
It got exciting alright. Closer to halfway in the book another tattoo is mentioned. That’s when Lisbeth Salander, the “Girl” in these books, becomes more than a bit player and is now my female equivalent of Jack Bauer, Mitch Rapp and Lucas Davenport. This pint-sized, wicked-smart, kick-ass girl would probably open a can of whoop-ass on them too. Who cares about Swedish economic intrigue? Hello, Lisbeth!
While Dragon Tattoo introduces us to Lisbeth, The Girl Who Played With Fire is all Lisbeth all the time. This book answers the questions that Dragon raises and, fortunately, minimizes all of the Swedish economic intrigue so prevalent in the first book. This book you can’t put down and when you read the last page it’ll leave you desperately seeking more Lisbeth. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is out May 25th.
Unfortunately for us Lisbeth fans, her creator, Stieg Larsson passed away soon after delivering the manuscripts that became three best-selling novels. Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens published an interesting article in December: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/12/hitchens-200912.
I was surprised to learn that Sweden had already created a film based on the first book (of which I have not seen). I suspect that Lisbeth may be a role best cast by our imaginations as no mere mortal that I can think of could fill her tiny motorcycle boots appropriately (although there is a golf club scene in the first book that a bewigged Elin Woods could probably re-enact quite nicely).
Hitchens touches on Larsson’s estate mess that his sudden death sans will leaves and also mentions other Swedish tidbits – who knew those Swedes were so controversial! It will be interesting to see if another picks up The Girl series and publishes the remaining 7 books that Larsson planned. If it’s good enough for Jason Bourne, why not for Lisbeth Salander?