Reviews for Girl Who Played With Fire

Booklist Reviews 2009 May #2
"*Starred Review* In our review of the late Larsson's first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008), we commented that the charismatic computer hacker Lisbeth Salander stole the show from her costar, journalist Mikail Blomkvist. In the second of Larsson's three novels, Salander and Blomkvist return, but this time the focus is mainly on Salander, and thank God for that! She is one of the most compelling characters to strut the crime-fiction stage in years, and it's a great shame that she will have such a short run. This time the plot begins, as did the previous book, with investigative journalism: Millennium, the magazine Blomkvist publishes, is about to do a story exposing the Swedish sex-trafficking trade when the authors of the story are both murdered, and Salander's fingerprints are found on the gun. Larsson jumps between Blomkvist's attempts to investigate the murder (and, he hopes, prove Salander's innocence) and Salander's own efforts to tie the killings to her past. It is that backstory that drives the novel: a ward of the state after being institutionalized as a teenager, following the day when "All the Evil" occurred, Salander has fought through a lifetime of abuse, familial and institutional, surviving through iron will and piercing intelligence. Whether those qualities will see her through yet again remains in doubt, even beyond the last page of this suspenseful, remarkably moving novel. Salander is one of those characters who come along only rarely in fiction: a complete original, larger than life yet firmly grounded in realistic detail, utterly independent yet at her core a wounded and frightened child. This is the best Scandinavian novel to be published in the U.S. since Smilla's Sense of Snow." Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 June #1
Tangled but worthy follow-up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008), also starring journo extraordinaire Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the Lara Crofts of the land of the midnight sun. That's not quite right: Lisbeth is really a Baltic MacGyver with a highly developed sense of outrage, a sociopathic bent and brand-new breast implants, to say nothing of a well-stuffed bankbook. The late Larsson's sequel does not absolutely require knowledge of its predecessor, but it helps, given the convoluted back story and the allusive, sometimes loopy structure of the present book. In all events, Lisbeth bears her trademark dragon tattoo still, but her wasp is gone, for a curious reason: "The wasp was too conspicuous and it made her too easy remember and identify. Salander did not want to be remembered or identified." She cuts a fine figure all the same on the beach at Grenada, where she falls into a sticky skein of intrigue involving the usual suspects: self-righteous crusaders, bored Club Med types and some very nasty characters on both sides of what used to be called the Iron Curtain. So sticky is the plot, in fact, that Lisbeth finds herself accused of committing murder. It's a predicament that the utterly self-reliant but unworldly hacker (when we catch up with her, she's reading a mathematics treatise picked up during one of her frequent visits to university bookshops) needs Blomkvist's help to get out of. Some of the traditional elements of the espionage thriller turn up in Larsson's pages, while others are turned on their head--sometimes literally, at least where the romantic bits come in. Still, while endlessly complex, the plot has the requisite chases, cliffhangers and bloodshed. Not to mention Fermat's theorem.Fans of postmodern mystery will revel in Larsson's latest. Those who prefer the old Jason Bourne (or Mr. Ripley, for that matter) to the Matt Damon variant may not be quite as wowed.First printing of 300,000 Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2009 April #1
Uncanny hacker Salandar-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-takes center stage in this follow-up to Larsson's huge hit, as two reporters breaking the story of sex trafficking between Eastern Europe and Sweden are found murdered. Alas, Salandar's prints are on the murder weapon. Significantly, there's a reading group guide-not so common with thrillers. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Reviews 2009 June #2

Lisbeth Salander, the antisocial but brilliant computer hacker who helped journalist Mikael Blomkvist uncover a serial killer on a remote Swedish island in Larsson's acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, takes center stage in this second volume of his "Millenium" trilogy. Opening 18 months after the events of the first book, the novel finds our heroine lounging by the pool at a Caribbean hotel, reading a math textbook, and watching a woman who may be a victim of domestic abuse, while in Sweden, Blomkvist, bewildered by Salander's abrupt disappearance from his life, is set to publish a magazine expos on the sex trade. Impatient readers may chafe at this seemingly irrelevant prolog, but like the mathematical puzzles Salander enjoys solving, there is a logic to the clues that Larsson carefully drops--integral to understanding his protagonist as we gradually learn her back story. The main plot takes off with the murders of Salander's legal guardian and the two writers of the article, and her fingerprints are found on the gun used in the killings. VERDICT Although the pace slows when the police investigation takes precedence and Salander briefly disappears from the action, we are well-rewarded in the exciting final section when she finally confronts her dark past. This is complex and compelling storytelling at its best, propelled by one of the most fascinating characters in recent crime fiction. Eager fans will placing library holds for the final volume, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, scheduled for a 2010 U. S. publication. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/09; see also the Q&A with Knopf editor in chief Sonny Mehta and executive director of publicity Paul Bogaards on p. 60.--Ed.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 June #2

Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson's second thriller, even though it falls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden's sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival. Powerful prose and intriguing lead characters will carry most readers along. (Aug.)

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