You have never met anyone like Lisbeth Salander, the “girl” in the title—guaranteed. Lisbeth is a tattooed, waif-like young woman with a brain of gargantuan proportions, an eidetic memory, an unsurpassed mastery of the Internet, and a mysterious past. In this unlikely but engrossing story of murder and corruption in the dark corners of contemporary Sweden, Lisbeth’s past is revealed in an encounter reminiscent of the games played out in the bowling alley of the gods. Though other characters crowd the cast of this novel, Lisbeth Salander stars, hands down.
The Girl Who Played with Fire is the second novel in a trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larsson centered on Lisbeth Salander that launched with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and will conclude with The Girl Who Kicked in the Hornet’s Nest. Sadly, the author of this unique little crime series died shortly after delivering the manuscripts for all three novels in 2004. Larsson was the editor of a politically engaged magazine, much like Mikael Blomqvist, who figures in both this novel and its predecessor as Lisbeth’s friend, foil, and sometime lover.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium #2) by Stieg Larsson ★★★★☆
The power of Larsson’s spare prose and the extraordinary character of Lisbeth Salander vaulted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo onto best-seller lists internationally. Readers everywhere were captivated. There is much of the same experience in store for you in this sequel, but perhaps familiarity with the protagonists took the edge off my experience. I found this book slightly less satisfying than its predecessor, but I’m no less eagerly looking forward to its successor.
For additional reading
I’ve reviewed the whole series of five books written to date in the Millennium cycle at The magical Lisbeth Salander novels. Lisbeth Salander stars in all of them.
And for a guide to the best Scandinavian mysteries and thrillers, check out The best Nordic noir series from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
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- Top 10 mystery and thriller series
- 20 excellent standalone mysteries and thrillers
- 20 outstanding detective series from around the world
For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels.
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