Stieg Larsson was a crusading Swedish journalist, committed to the fight against political extremism and racism in his home country. In his spare time he completed a trilogy of striking crime novels, which he delivered to his publishers just before his untimely death in 2004. The first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, centred on Mikhail Blomkvist, a crusading journalist with a social conscience; its sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, shifts focus onto the socially awkward computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who becomes entangled in an investigation into sex trafficking, murder, and establishment corruption. This unusual central character is the story's main strength, allowing it to stand apart from the raft of contemporary and classic crime novels which Larsson fondly draws on. An expert hacker and mathematics-obsessive, Salander is a clenched fist of a character; difficult, psychologically traumatised, and capable of extreme violence.
Simon Vance endows her with the accent of an East London street urchin, a fitting voice for this embattled woman. While his narration is crisp, Vance's other characters range from working-class Northern English accents for Blomkvist, assorted police, and journalists, while others are given accents somewhere between Scandinavian and Bela Lugosi. However, as the plot thickens, such incongruities are forgotten, and a compelling social reality is created by Vance's skilled performance, which includes a sensitive rendition of a stroke victim's voice. Vance's cool delivery also suits the reportage feel of much of the writing; characters are introduced through their occupation, address, and educational background, while a mass of tiny observations (such as coffee mugs decorated with the logo of the civil service union) at times convey the tone of a police report. It is a tribute to Vance's delivery that the narrative thrust carries the accumulation of detail effortlessly from one action-packed set-piece to the next.
Larsson's published books have been a European phenomenon, due less, perhaps, to any narrative or thematic innovations as to the author's visceral anger at social injustice and the mistreatment of the vulnerable, particularly women. Violence against women is the work's central motif: the Swedish title of the first book in the series translates as Men Who Hate Women, and Salander is "the woman who hates men who hate women". In fact, there is an element of salacious revenge fantasy to much of her actions as she fights fire with fire; the story treads a fine line between condemning sadism and revelling in sadistic imagery. The real enemy of the tale is institutionalised machismo: policemen are loutish, rape is endemic, and villains enjoy guns, motorbikes, and magazines about motorbikes. Everyone, meanwhile, summers in wood shacks in the Swedish countryside.
While very much part of a larger whole (there are numerous references to events that occurred in the first part of the trilogy), The Girl Who Played with Fire stands alone as a highly enjoyable, if not always smooth - and often disquieting - mixture of classic crime tropes, searing violence, and vivid characterization. Dafydd Phillips
Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.
On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered. But perhaps more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander.
Now, as Blomkvist, alone in his belief in her innocence, plunges into his own investigation of the slayings, Salander 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.
Listen to the rest of The Millennium Trilogy.
©2009 Stieg Larsson; (P)2009 Random House
“Boasts an intricate, puzzle-like story line . . . even as it accelerates toward its startling and violent conclusion.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
“[A] gripping, stay-up-all-night read.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Gripping stuff. . . . A nail-biting tale of murder and cover-ups.” (People)
Simon Vance is an exceptional narrator but I struggled in parts of the first book with dialogue, day-to day detail and prolonged anticipation of what would happen next.
Not this book. It never lets up and is at the heart of the entire Salander saga. Rivaling Red Dragon and other Thomas Harris classics, this is one of the best thrillers I have ever read or listened.
The smaller characters made this book-- Arnosky, Zala, Burger, and others that made ever subplot as intense as the other.
was impressed look forward to the last one and where will lizabeth go from here
book one in the series was great too Girl with the dragon tatoo WOW great reads
great fantasic listens made walking on my treadmill much more enjoyable
bizarre, lame accents
no, but got through it pretty fast, considering
Better title, same great characters
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, this audiobook is an 8. I've listen to this book twice.
No, this is the first time I've listened to Simon Vance.
Audio books and books are always better than a film of the same.
Just as compelling as the first novel. It was hard to get out of the car and go to work. Stieg Larsson could sure write a good mystery, and Simon Vance is an incredible actor.
Looking for a total escape? Get this book.
one of the highest ranks for sure, it has it all
the story started after we have met the characters in a previous book, for me it was interesting how larson gave s the chance for both : knowing them more and starts a new plot with them in their seperated yet connected lifes
Great great great...I think I'll be buying books that he performs
No exreme reactions, but it will keep you atached
I listened to the Fire after the Dragon ,as the dragon was done and closed case I was opened for anything, Stiege Larson give you the time to enjoy knowing your characters and their background more before moving in steady steps towards the Plot(s).
It???s well written and built, and provides all what you expects if you liked the 1st part (Dragon), and the narrator is great as he was in the 1st part.
Even more, once you are done this book will leave you no choice but to continue to the 3rd part ??? a bit mean but sure enjoyable, you won???t regret this book or completing the 3rd one as well.
Love romance with a little bit of humor and suspense. A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favorite books.
Not sure I enjoyed the main character...still trying to figure out why I bought the 3rd book by this author.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
This girl with the Dragon Tattoo is such a compelling character and this second book of the series really takes off on a trajectory that reaches full escape velocity with the third volume.
I've seen the Swedish movies and I'm anticipating the Hollywood versions in production because I can't get enough of Lisbeth. So sorry to hear about Mr. Larsson's demise and the end to the Lisbeth character who now has the wealth and ability to rock the world.
I recommend the Dragon Tattoo series to everyone. The triumph of a brutalized spirit over the worst father figure in fiction and a psychiatrist pedophile who deserves her wrath. What a wonderful triumph over evil.
I'm not sure what I expected - this is an excellent follow-up to an excellent first part. The plot is complex and rich. The character development is outstanding. Mr. Vance outdid himself with the voices... I could recognize each character just by his voice. Can't wait to listen to the third book... tomorrow's commute, here I come!
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