The Big Hill
October 15, 2011
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October 30, 2011
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Good Reads

I took a break from Book 2 this weekend. My book is currently in the hands of my editor for an early read, so there’s not much I can do at this point except worry that he won’t like it. I was going to begin research for Book 3, but I opted for lazy and a good mystery instead. Actually, this inclination started last week when I picked up my first Steig Larrson book, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I’ll have it knocked out before lunch today.

I hadn’t started the series because I’d heard the books were extremely violent, and I had read a New Yorker review that wasn’t all that favorable. I’ve since discovered many other reviewers loved the books – as do the millions of people who’ve read the series. The reviewer in the New Yorker seemed unable to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the fictional world Larsson created. Heroine, Lisbeth Salander, is a tough character who triumphs where most of us would not only fail – but would flee in terror. But, I had no problem getting lost in Sweden’s dark-side for a week – in fact I loved it!

I mistakenly picked up book two in the series first, but I don’t imagine that will make any difference in my enjoyment of all three books. Each of them follows a left wing publisher from Sweden, and a brilliant computer hacker/social misfit (Salander) through harrowing murder investigations. This was a book I couldn’t wait to pick up each evening.

And, just in case you’ve been in the same dark room I’ve been in for the past two years, I’ll give you the rundown on Larsson. I knew he had passed away, and that if I did get hooked on his books, that I couldn’t expect anything new – although that might not be quite accurate. Here’s the skinny:

Larsson had supposedly planned a series of ten books, and had finished the first three which he sold to a publisher. (The first publisher he approached turned him down.) Larsson had been working with the editor at the publishing house for over seven months, a process made slow by his intense work schedule. Then, as Joan Acocella, reviewer for the New Yorker, puts it, “… he went to work at Expo, found that the elevator was broken, climbed seven flights of stairs, had a heart attack, and died. He was fifty.”

At the time of his death, none of his books had reached the market, and as you can imagine, the conspiracy theories started to fly. Did he really write the books? Did his girlfriend write the books? Is there a book four ready to publish? Who should get his considerable fortune: his longtime girlfriend, the estranged family, or the Communist Workers’ Party? Regardless the scandals and theories, Larsson was a writer with immense talent… I’ll just be pulling for the fourth-book theory.