The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest – Stieg Larsson

This is the third and final book of the Millennium Trilogy. If you have read the first two, you’ll want to read this one. The author has made sure of that because he left the second part of the book with an ending that can be described as a cliffhanger.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away the details of the second one. So I’m only going to write an outline of what goes on in this book. Lisbeth Salander is no longer a suspect in the murder investigation but she is still under arrest for various crimes. For most part of the novel Lisbeth lies in a hospital while there are people planning to get rid of her and her secrets by painting a picture that she is mentally ill and needs to be institutionalized. Even though she is locked up in a hospital room, she continues to prepare for her fight with those who institutionalized her  when she was a child and are planning to do so again.

Lisbeth, who does doesn’t trust anyone or work with anyone has something similar to her own army in this book. I won’t be exaggerating when I say there a LOT of characters in this book. There are so many people ready to help her and they are doing all they can to bring justice to her. The easier way to outline the story would be to list the various groups that are carrying out their own investigations to help Lisbeth.

  • Mikael Blomkvist and the staff at Millennium – Mikael can be called the ‘mastermind’ behind all the operations because he is the one who convinced most of the others to help Lisbeth.  His weapon, obviously, is his magazine in which he plans to uncover all the secrets and details about everyone responsible for the injustice towards Lisbeth.
  • Dragan Armansky and  Milton Security
  • Director Torsten Edklinth (Säpo Constitutional Protection) – He forms a group specially for investigating the Salander affair and appoints Monica Figuerola as the head.
  • Jan Bublanski, Sonja Modig and some other police officers who were in charge of Salander’s case.
  • Annika Giannini, Mikael’s sister and Lisbeth’s lawyer.

I think that’s all. Lisbeth herself, armed with her Palm Tungsten T3( smuggled into the hospital along with a phone by Mikael), and her friends from ”Hacker Republic”  also help in collecting information. There is a list of people on the otherside too, but I’m not going to name them.The trial part in the book is really nice. Giannini destroys the opposition point by point and clears Lisbeth’s name.

This book was just as awesome as the other two. If I have to find fault then I’ll say that there a lot of detailed descriptions in this book and the pace is a bit slow at the starting. But this does not affect the book and doesn’t in anyway make it boring. I find that all the books of the Trilogy are written with a similar pattern where the pace picks up halfway through the book. I loved reading this book. It is sad that this is the last book and fans won’t be able to see any more books from Stieg Larsson. There is the movie release to look forward to so I’m not going to say good-bye to Lisbeth just yet. Hope you all get to read this awesome series and enjoy it as much as I did.

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The Silence Of The Lambs – Thomas Harris

The second thriller in the series featuring Hannibal Lecter and in my opinion the best of the four. The movie was an absolute blockbuster so there is no wonder that the book it is based upon is so brilliant. Harris brings us another of his wonderful characters – Clarice Starling. She is a trainee with the FBI and one of the main characters of this novel and the next. The story in this book takes place a couple of years after the first one. Dr.Hannibal Lecter plays a more significant and bigger role in the book.

Jack Crawford, Section Chief of Behavioral Science Section of the FBI, assigns Starling to take a questionnaire prepared to be answered by serial killers to Lecter. Lecter refuses to answer her questions at first but when another inmate Miggs behaves inappropriately with her, he changes his mind and decides to talk with her. He tells her that she should “Look in Raspail’s car for her Valentines”. Lecter will only talk to Starling and says he knows more about the case Crawford is working on.

The case is that of a serial killer named “Buffalo Bill” who abducts women, kills them and then skins his victims before dumping the bodies. Starling follows the clue and finds information which has connection to the present case. When the sixth body turns up Crawford takes Starling along for the investigation. Meanwhile the killer has kidnapped his next victim Christina Martin, daughter of a junior US senator.  Crawford offers a deal to Lecter in exchange for information. Dr. Chilton later reveals that the offer was lie but he makes another deal with Lecter that he would transfer Lecter to another asylum if he is provided with information. Lecter says he would talk only to the Senator. Starling discovers the killers motive and also discovers how he chooses his victims.

I guess I’ll stop here. There is more mind-games from Lecter and a case to be solved, which you’ll have a great time reading. Those who have seen the movie know what is coming but for the sake of those who haven’t, I’m not saying anything more about the plot. Even if you have seen the movie, you’ll enjoy reading this book. 

Red Dragon – Thomas Harris

Thomas Harris, the author that created Dr. Hannibal Lecter; or, to use the more menacing name, ‘Hannibal The Cannibal’. Red Dragon is the first in the series of four books featuring Lecter. This author has a gift of creating strong characters in his books. Most of you must know Lecter, but he isn’t the only character that leaves a mark on the reader. The main character of this novel, Will Graham, is another of Harris’s creations that fit the above description.

Red Dragon is a crime-thriller novel following the investigation of a serial killer nicknamed “The Tooth Fairy” who has murdered two families, each during a full moon. Special Agent Jack Crawford decides to bring in retired agent (and his protégé’) Will Graham to help solve the case. Graham is the one who captured Lecter but almost got killed in the process and retired soon after. Graham is shown to have a skill in figuring out obscure details and connections in crime scenes. He later realizes that he will require Lecter’s help to build a profile of the killer. Lecter enjoys taunting more than helping and even provieds the killer with Will’s home address with a suggestion to “kill them all”.While the FBI carries out further investigation, the killer (who prefers to be called the “Red Dragon”) is preparing for the murder of another family and has also killed a reporter who helped the police by publishing an unpleasant report about him. The killer is a man named Dolarhyde who sees the Red Dragon as another part of him and it is shown that the Dragon is gaining more control over him. The details about the killer and his life are given in the early part of the book so it’s not a spoiler. I’m not going into any more details except for this one: there is really unexpected twist at the end. It’s a great book and you’ll enjoy reading it.

Unlike the rest of the books in the series Lecter only makes a very small appearance in this one. This is a sort of introduction to Lecter before we get to know more about the “brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer”. I’ve decided to watch the 2002 remake of the original movie “Manhunter”, based on the book. Anthony Hopkins plays the role of the Lecter in the 2002 version and I don’t think that it is possible to picture anyone else in that role.That’s it about this book and will post the review of next part in a few days.

The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

If you liked the first book you’ll love this one. It has a fast pace, great characters and a plot that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This too is a crime novel, like the first book, following a murder investigation where Lisbeth Salander is the prime suspect.I have to use the same words I used for the first part to describe this book, ‘it’s superb!’.

This is the second part of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. The events take place two years after that of the first book. The main characters Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are joined by some of the characters from the first book and some new characters. The novel starts with Millennium agreeing to publish a book as well as an article by Dag Svensson, a journalist who is writing an exposé on the Swedish sex trade. In his book Svensson plans to name journalists, policemen, judges among others in high office who abuse underage girls. He also comes across a name “Zala” while doing research for his book. Zala remains as an invisible character for most part of the book; every criminal seems to know his name and are terrified of him yet no one can find.

Svensson and his girlfriend are murdered along with Nils Bjurman(attorney and Salander’s current guardian). Lisbeth is accused to be the murderer. Blomkvist believes that she is innocent and tries to prove it, although he can’t find her anywhere. The story follows the three separate investigations being carried out – by the police, by Blomkvist and by Lisbeth. There are surprises waiting which you won’t expect and there are enough twists to keep you guessing about what might happen.

The first few chapters are a little slow compared to the rest but just keep on reading because the rest of the novel more than makes up for it. The book has more about Lisbeth compared to the first one and there are secrets that will blow your mind! Lisbeth is the best fictional character ever. I found a quote in the book about her that gives a good picture of her character – “Her attitude to the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun”. I’m also thinking of giving the Swedish movies a try; I don’t have the patience to wait till December for the English version. Now that I know the plot maybe the subtitles won’t be that irritating.

I loved this book. Can’t wait to read the next one! 🙂

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

I came to know about this book through movie trailers. After a failed attempt to watch the movie completely on T.V I decided its better to try the book. The reason I couldn’t sit through the movie is not because its boring but that it was in Swedish so I found it irritating to have to read the subtitles to know what they were saying. I have been thinking about buying the book from some time and after receiving a suggestion from a fellow blogger decided its time to read. Thanks to her for the suggestion otherwise I might not have read this book for a long time.

The book is superb! There is really no other word to describe it. This book is first of The Millennium trilogy written by the author. The book is a crime novel and ‘locked room mystery’. The story starts with Mikael Blomkvist, journalist and publisher of Millennium magazine, loosing a libel case against Hans-Erik Wennerström, a Swedish industrialist and billionaire. He is sentenced to three months in jail. Before he start’s his period of punishment he is asked by Henrik Vanger(retired industrialist and former CEO of Vanger Corporation) to take freelance assignment in Hedeby Island. The assignment is to look into the disappearance of his niece Harriet Vanger, which occurred in 1966 but Blomkvist was to keep this a secret and use a story that he was there to publish Vanger’s biography to explain his presence in the island and to carry on his investigation. Henrik believes that his niece was murdered by someone in the family.

The other main character is Lisbeth Salander who is hacker and researcher, specializing in investigating people. She is asked by Vanger’s lawyer to look into  Blomkvist before he is given the assignment.Blomkvist later brings in Salander to be his research assistant for his investigation. Together they find out what really happened in 1966, unearthing a shocking secret about a family member. I’m not giving away the full story for the sake of those who have yet to read the book.

The book has a fast pace and interesting characters. The novel is written in such a way that you won’t be able to put it down, at least I didn’t feel like doing so and I bet you will feel the same way. I find Lisbeth Salander to be intriguing and she has become one of my favorite fictional characters. I loved reading it and can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy.