After thoroughly enjoying the first in the Millennium series The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I knew I will be reading the next book pretty soon and so I did! We meet the same characters Lisbeth Salander, the one with the tattoo and who apparently plays with the fire in this book and our hero Mikhael Blomkvist and a bunch of other supporting characters.
This time around, we have Salander in the hotspot – she is accused of triple murders and it is upto her friend Blomkvist to help her out in this difficult decision. The author takes immense pleasure in hanging the sword above Salander’s head and letting the readers wonder ‘Did she? Didn’t she?’ A journalist who is writing a book about sex trafficking, his girl friend who is writing a thesis on the same subject, a mysterious incident in Salander’s life which she calls “All The Evil” – add all these and you have a page tuner in your hands – literally! Just like the first book, Larsson creates an air of mystery around Salander’s so called evil incident and the reader is dying to know what the heck that is. Salander gets a few more layers to her – Larsson beautifully develops her character. Half the world thinks she is a psychopath and is dangerous to the society whereas the other half thinks she is the best thing ever that happened to mankind.
Larsson seems to be obsessed with the physical form of love. While the first book revolved completely around that and violence, Larsson could have easily avoided mentioning these in his second book, still he does. A more-than-necessary importance to lesbians and this really put me off. The author has an interesting plot on hands which will make the book sell like hot cakes, he need not resort to such cheap tactics just to increase the book’s sales!
Larsson’s writing is nothing great. As it happens with most murder mysteries, the importance is given to the plot, its twists and turns rather than the language and style and this book is no different. And I am totally fine with it. If I want to read good English and beautiful style, I will read some other book. When I read a mystery, I want to be given an interesting plot and so many twists and turns that I feel dizzy and Larsson’s books fulfill these criteria. But there is a limit to how much shabby writing one can put up with. Larsson gets so descriptive in every scene (why do I care how many Billy Pan Pizza did Salander buy) that it gets really irritating (are you sure she folded her right leg over her left one and not the other way around? Who cares?). Still, I enjoyed this book just like how I enjoy a Govinda movie any day! You might not recall anything in this book after you close it, but you will enjoy it as long as you read it.