Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Stieg Larsson
Genre: Crime Fiction
Original Title: Flickan som lekte med elden
Publication Date: June 2006 (Sweden), 2009 (United Kingdom)
Preceded By: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Followed By: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second novel in the bestselling Millenium series by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson. After reading the first book in the series, I was a bit skeptical. Too much sexual violence in the first book caused me a few sleepless nights. But the book was quite engaging and so with a little apprehension, I picked up this one. And what a thrilling ride it was!
Mikael Blomkvist, the star investigative journalist of the Millenium along with his team unearths a sex trafficking racket. Underage girls are being brought into the country and being exploited against their will and forced into prostitution. Influential men who exploit these young girls for their own sexual perversions now face the risk of being exposed. Before the whole racket is exposed, the reporter working on the story and his girlfriend are murdered just when Blomkvist was about to visit them. Circumstantial evidence points a finger at Salander. A lawyer is found killed in another part of the city. The fact that the deceased is Bjurman, Salander’s guardian adds to Salander’s troubles. Salander is all over the news but for all wrong reasons. She is the prime suspect for three murders. Blomkvist is convinced of her innocence. During the investigation, the name of Alexander Zalachenko comes up and a whole new hidden secrets and vested interests are uncovered on the way. Can Blomkvist prove Salander’s innocence? What has Salander to do with Zalachenko and the sex trafficking trade? The fast paced thriller will keep you engaged till the end.
It is complete investigative book but unlike the first in the series, this one has nothing to do with the third parties. Lisbeth Salander is the central character and the whole book revolves around her. It is more of a personal book and sheds a light on the socially misfit and enigmatic Lisbeth. A glimpse at her troublesome, dark past makes the readers empathize with her. She is one of the most complex and super-intriguing characters I have ever read about. Surprisingly, there’s less of Blomkvist here as compared to the first book. He’s still a prime character but the book revolves around Salander and Blomkvist assumes a secondary role. Throughout the book, Blomkvist and Salander do not meet which is slightly disappointing.
The book is an absolute thriller with action sequences, the constant tension, the unexpected twists and a tremendous ending. Sex trafficking, murders, hitmen…..what else does a thriller need? The book is a bit slow in the beginning. It’s just the building up of the plot but there’s so much about Salander that’s interesting and gripping to read. And then the murders happen. Everything afterwards is an awesome roller coaster ride where you keep guessing and try to fit in the missing links.There’s sex and violence in this book too but a lot less disturbing than the first book. The novel is full of nerve-wrecking suspense and thrill and definitely a more than worthy sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
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