The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson, 630 pages, 2010
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.
As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.
I enjoyed this second book in the millenium trilogy even more than the first - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which was also exceptional. The books are very long but are so well written and interesting that it keeps you enthralled and you can't wait to turn the next page.
I love both the characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander but especially Lisbeth as she is the brilliant, tough and resourceful woman who is the driving force in the trilogy. We learn a lot more about Lisbeth, where she comes from, the difficulties she faced growing up and what contributed to making her the loner she is today.
The story focuses on two investigative journalists who are writing a book exposing the ugliness, corruption and criminal world of Sweden's sex trade. They are murdered before they are able to see the publication of their book and the killings seem obviously tied to the investigation, or so Blomkvist believes. The problem is that the police are focusing on accusing Lisbeth of the murders and not looking into the possibility that the pair could have been murdered because of their research into the underworld. Another death occurs which seems linked to the other two and Blomkvist is determined to prove Salander's innocence. It is a mad cap adventure and when you finish reading it, you cannot wait to start the third book as you just have to know what becomes of Lisbeth and Mikael as well as many of the other characters who are also so well written that you have a connection to each and every one of them.
The only bad part of this trilogy is that there will not be anymore as the author, Stieg Larsson, died suddenly at the age of 50. His work is sure to stand the test of time and is a glowing testament to this fine author and his work. Luckily, we are able to appreciate this trilogy and enjoy his work, although small in quantity is huge in quality.
Rating 5 out of 5