I should've liked this mystery, but it wasn't nearly as successful as #1 in the series. What I liked the most in the first one -- Rebecca Martinson --...moreI should've liked this mystery, but it wasn't nearly as successful as #1 in the series. What I liked the most in the first one -- Rebecca Martinson -- was actually a liability in this novel. She had changed so much that she was almost unrecognizable. Her character didn't really have a purpose in this novel, so her involvement in the plot was auxiliary and unneeded.
I actually loved the victim of the murder and wished there were more flashbacks to her interactions with her congregation.
Interesting, but ultimately, difficult to get through. (less)
I had to return this to the library once because I had checked it out for so long. I got laid off and suddenly found myself with more time... and thou...moreI had to return this to the library once because I had checked it out for so long. I got laid off and suddenly found myself with more time... and thought a Fourth of July holiday at the beach was the most appropriate time to start a murder mystery set in the north of Sweden in the darkest, coldest parts of winter.
Really liked the two main characters of this mystery. Rebecca Martinson is a likable lawyer who works too hard and tries too diligently to distance herself from her small town past in the North. She's drawn back to her hometown by a childhood friend in trouble, Sanna... and we immediately understand why Rebecca has issues with this frail, manipulative beauty. Anna-Marie Mella aids, the lead detective, offers a smart, practical foil for Rebecca. Mella's pragmatic approach to the investigation makes the reader cheer for her, especially as she deals with blood and gore and pregnancy hormones.
Interesting subject -- I'm a big fan of books about church scandals. I was fascinated by the evangelical movement in Sweden, especially given my own background in the Southern Baptist church. The conclusion wasn't a complete shock, but the rapid-fire action at the end made me gasp a few times. (less)
**spoiler alert** Stieg Larrson writes a political thriller that brings the Millenium conclusion to a riveting end. Like his other two books, I couldn...more**spoiler alert** Stieg Larrson writes a political thriller that brings the Millenium conclusion to a riveting end. Like his other two books, I couldn't put it down. I kept carrying this rather large volume around with me -- I must've lost a couple of pounds due to addition of that extra weight in my purse. And I even went out to Costco to buy this baby. For a librarian who rarely spends money on books, that's evidence of my impatience with the wait list of LAPL.
Larrson does a good job of mixing politics with action. At times, his words were a bit clunky when describing the inner workings of the Section. There were a lot of names to keep track of; as a reader, I occasionally had to step back and recap the relationships of the characters to each other. But I especially enjoyed going through the Swedish legal process. I'm not that familiar with the government of Sweden, and Larsson manages to convey the basics without being condescending.
The skewering of Teleborian was hands-down my favorite scene in the novel. Man. What a creep.
This book suffers from the only problem that I had with the first one -- the focus wasn't entirely on Lisbeth Salander. Oh, sure, I mean, the investigation and trial revolve around Salander's connection to the past, but for the first half of the book, Salander is drifting in and out thanks to her health issues. (Being shot in the head can do that to a person, I guess.) I found her doctor's thoughts of a possible Asperger's diagnosis to be logical. In fact, I've been wondering why no one, especially Palmgren, thought of this as a solution to Salander's puzzling behavior.
Despite my small quibbles, I'd whole-heartedly recommend this series to a friend. (less)
Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite literary characters, oh, ever. She's smart, tough, cold, kick-ass, calculating, logical... and an utter bad-ass. The book flew when I was reading her sections. Mikael Blomkvist and the police investigation were not as compelling. Steig was smart to focus this (and the last) book on Salander's story.
We find out more about Lisbeth, especially in regards to "All the Evil." (The Swedish film version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo spoiled audiences with this revelation, but, oh, well.) And man, Lisbeth had an awful life, of which only glimpses were revealed in the first book. The final scene of this book left me breathless. Luckily, the final installation in the Millenium Trilogy is coming out tomorrow. I'm breaking my rules about buying books in order to know what happens. Lisbeth Salander is totally worth it. (less)
Not terrifying so much as haunting. This is the ultimate victim's revenge story. John Ajvide Lindqvist introduced us to many, many characters, all fle...moreNot terrifying so much as haunting. This is the ultimate victim's revenge story. John Ajvide Lindqvist introduced us to many, many characters, all fleshed out... except for the most central one of the story, Eli. We get glimpses of her past through Oskar's interactions with her, but the reader is still left with a lot of empty spaces in her personal history at the end of the novel.
I didn't know how the story was going to connect together at its conclusion, but I felt satisfied with the well-crafted epilogue. This book is not for the faint of heart - pedophilia, gore, violence, and addiction factor heavily into every subplot.
I really identified with Oskar. He doesn't understand everything that transpires around him, but he makes the best of it. His heart seems to be in the right place despite the misery of his situation.
Haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't comment on the differences. (less)
Another book where I was sad to reach the end. I stretched it out as long as I could, but in the end, my need to see how it concludes toppled my hope...moreAnother book where I was sad to reach the end. I stretched it out as long as I could, but in the end, my need to see how it concludes toppled my hope that I could just read this one book for eternity.
The two main characters, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Bromkvist, make a great team. The reader could see that they should be paired up... but strangely enough, Larsson doesn't oblige us until halfway through the book. By that time, I was bursting to see how they would interact because I had grown to love each of them individually.
Multiple mysteries abound in this novel, and while I could see the denouement of some, I didn't figure out the resolutions for others. Larsson spends a lot of time explaining how things were accomplished, which I appreciate after the cryptic Åke Edwardson book I read earlier. (By the way, I loved that Mikael read an Edwardson mystery novel towards the end of the book. Very cool.) But at the same time, Larsson never insults his readers with obvious answers. He kept tricking me into thinking that it was the end. I was confused at one moment because I thought, "Why does it look like there are still 100 pages left, but this is obviously the climax!" He kept bringing new elements into the book... but never with a heavy hand.
I really need to put myself on the list for the second installment in the Millennium series. I was halfway through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before I read the author's blurb; I had no clue that this book was published after his untimely death. At least he left three manuscripts. I look forward to reading the rest. (less)
I would read a Karin Fossum book again in a heartbeat. Engaging, quick, and not extremely predictable.
This Scandinavian murder mystery i...more3.5 out of 5.
I would read a Karin Fossum book again in a heartbeat. Engaging, quick, and not extremely predictable.
This Scandinavian murder mystery is set in an idyllic small town in Norway. Everyone knows everything about each other... and no one expected Annie Holland to be a victim. This young teenager was strong-willed, independent, and well-liked by everyone. Of course, nothing is like it appears.
Fossum misdirects the reader at the beginning of the model by setting seemingly irrelevant motions in action. Detective Sejer's unraveling of the case meets a lot of hiccups. Characters are not forthright. And the investigation focuses on the "why" of Annie's murder - which eventually leads to the "who." Fossum masterfully engages her readers through the excellent prose and pacing of this book... and this was a translation! (less)
Things that were good: 1. The setting - Gothenburg, Sweden. I loved the cold, both in the landscape and in the relationship...moreI wanted to like this book.
Things that were good: 1. The setting - Gothenburg, Sweden. I loved the cold, both in the landscape and in the relationships between the characters. 2. The murders - Black metal, dismembered bodies, and obvious female issues? Yes! Gruesome, just the way I like it in my thrillers.
And... that was about it.
The book was LONG. It took me, an seasoned fast reader... 25 DAYS TO FINISH. True, I've been busy. But I also haven't wanted to pick it up at night or at work during my lunch breaks because Sun and Shadow just wasn't very interesting. Instead of focusing on the gore or the mystery solving or the action of the plot, Edwardson meanders through a few months of multiple troubled characters, none of whom are particularly compelling or interesting.
The mystery wraps up unconvincingly. The inspector comes off as not particularly bright. And I was just glad to have stopped the thing. (less)
This Icelandic murder mystery was recommended to me by my boss's boss. She's spent... um, quite a few years as a librarian, so her reader's advisory s...moreThis Icelandic murder mystery was recommended to me by my boss's boss. She's spent... um, quite a few years as a librarian, so her reader's advisory skills are top-notch. She saw that I was enjoying The Elegance of the Hedgehog, so she recommended this.
On the surface, the two books have very little in common... besides being written by Europeans. And the French and Icelandic aren't exactly culturally or geographically adjacent. But there's something more intangible that seems to connect these books - it's an elegance, a sparse, haunting quality to the writing.
Arnaldur doesn't spend nearly as much time on criticism as The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which suits the Icelandic feel of the book. Both Erlendur, the lead detective in the case, and the writing style are straight, to-the-point. His focus is on the case. But Arnaldur makes a few forays into personal details, just enough to invoke questions into heredity and what constitutes family relationships.
Unlike many mystery novels, the solutions don't fall into the reader's lap. Small, secondary mysteries litter the story, and curious readers can question the androgynous character of Marion Briem or the real profession of Eva Lind. But the main plot of the story unfolds slowly, wrapping the reader into a foreign, Scandinavian world of organ collectors, geneticists, criminals, and photographers.