Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and author who died of a heart attack in November 2004 (1954-2004), soon after he finished three detective novels in his trilogy the Millenium-series; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005, US release in September 2008), "The Girl Who Played With Fire", (2006, UK release in January 2009) and "Castles in the Sky" (working title) (2007, English title not confirmed, UK release in January 2010). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was Amazon’s “Best of September 2008” choice.
Through an Amazon marketing offer arranged by Mystical Publishing, my supernatural thriller, A Genie in the House of Saud: Zubis Rises, is paired with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Amazon for the month of November, providing the duo at a discount. While I’m honored to be in such esteemed, albeit posthumous, company, I wonder what Larsson would think of the pairing.
According to Wikipedia, Larsson went to work in 1981 for the largest Swedish news agency, TT. His political convictions as well as his journalistic experiences led him to initiate the Swedish Expo foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation and set up to expose racist and totalitarian organizations and tendencies; he also became the editor of the foundation's magazine Expo. Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; was an influential debater, lecturer and leading expert, and lived for years under more or less serious death threats from political enemies.
As far as I know, I have no political enemies. I, too, worked as a journalist, primarily covering regional events and happenings (e.g. Yankee Magazine and City Paper) and health and medical breakthroughs. My time as the managing editor for Saudi Arabia Quarterly and Newsletter was a scrubbed chronicle of Kingdom-controlled public relations. But it did serve to heighten my, dare we say, intolerance of the gender inequality so prevalent in Saudi Arabia. But I didn’t become instrumental in documenting and exposing it. I left my job for the Saudis and thanked my stars that I’d been born an American woman. However, the seed had been planted for Bethany O’Brien, the female protagonist in A Genie in the House of Saud who is independent, ambitious, willing to defy conventional Saudi expectations of women, and an unexpected paradigm for religious tolerance. Let’s be clear, though, this is a supernatural thriller; it’s about a genie.
According to BookReporter.com, Larsson was named the “50 Crime Writers One Must Read Before You Die” by the UK paper The Telegraph. It touts The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as an “atmospheric thriller so tautly plotted and full of well-rounded, albeit flawed, characters who jump right off the page. It might feel a tad slow in the beginning (though that can be chalked up to European writers being more amenable to taking their time), but once the story hits its stride, the reader is riveted. The Swedish setting is moody and evocative of thrillers like SMILLA’S SENSE OF SNOW.”
A Genie in the House of Saud, also the first entry of a trilogy, likewise has been lauded for its riveting use of internal character conflict, tense action scenes, and exotic settings. Would Larsson approve? We are both purveyors of the craft of fiction. Perhaps. He was obviously a broadminded, talented, and productive activist and writer. I like to think he might even get a kick out of it. Stieg Larsson, R.I.P.
Causes Kellyann Zuzulo Supports
PLAN International Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation