Best new series: The Millenium Trilogy - The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
Author: Stieg Larsson
It was over one year ago when a paperback copy of late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo was placed in my hand by a former co-worker who said she hand't had time to read it.
Slow at first, I was early 90 pages into what I learned later was the first of a trilogy series before the weight of the story unfolding about an aristocratic heiress mysterious disappearance in the 1960s sunk in. The heiress's aging great uncle, Henrik Vanger, recruits a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, to investigage the unsolved case, with eventually pairs him up with anb enigma of a heroine, a social misfit with a genius for computer hacking, Lisbeth Salander. The story, with its seeminly never ending plot twists and deeply developed characters was unlike anything piece of writing I'd read in years.
A political journalist like his main character, Larsson's ability to pair layered, intriguing character back stories with a killer crime suspense plot, I hardly put it down. As characters, both Blomkvist and Salander I found to be amazing, complex, and a bit unpredictable, another gift of the author whoreally keeps readers guessing as to wher the story is headed as more facts and new faces come into play, ultimately altering the direction the investigation for our two would-be sleuths.
But realizing the author's untimely passing more than 5 years ago before the first manuscript saw itself in print, I grew concerned over what the next two books in the series would hold in store for the characters of Blomkvist and Salander, and their unlikely romance that ebbs and flows despite the heroine's increasingly reclusive behavior at the smallest gesture of Blomkvist's affections. Her character is shrouded in so much ambiguity, yet her knack for hacking classified files makes her highly valuble to his investigation. Both characters, additionally, come into a complicated circumstance from either a place of hardship and strife (Salander), or public infamy (Blomkvist). Together, the two face the daunting and often dangerous task of uncovering the heiress's disappearance. Along the way, the also find out more about each other than either expected, or cared to know in Salander's case. This connection wil ultimately bring them together again in the second, and later third installments of the series (both now available in paper and hardback).
I must note I liked Larsson's series partly because I identified from a professional standpoint having worked many years in journalism myself. I also identified with Lisbeth's oddball character qualities, which made her more a puzzle I wanted badly to piece together to better understand why she was who she was rather than dismiss her neurotic nature as cold.
The names and challenges in the next two books change, but I was glad after having read them that the dynamic pairing of the middle-age reporter and his reluctant hacker girl-child of a partner remained the same, and more intense than ever.
NOIR's TWO CENTS: A series not to miss. Read first before Hollywood unleashes the Daniel Craig version of Larsson's crime novel sensation, and pass on to fellow readers.