The Girl who Played with Fire
By Stieg Larsson
Translated by Reg Keeland
Random House Large Print (2009), 832 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - July 21, 2010
The huge number of readers who enjoyed Larsson's first book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be thrilled with this one, for the drama and suspense are even better. The main characters are the same with the same interesting idiosyncrasies. The book has the same problems - it is difficult to identify and distinguish the Swedish people's names and the places because they all sound the same - but this does not distract from enjoying the novel.
Larsson or his translator has an effective writing style that heightens suspense. He speaks, for example, about a male and then virtually all of his sentences begin with he. He frequently places the pronoun in the middle of a sentence where he is not the first word. He does the same with she for females. He uses this active near staccato style to enhance the action and our interest.
Blomkvist and his publishing firm plan to publish an expose involving, among others, police and politicians. Three people are killed. Neither the police nor Blomkvist, who is as persistent and naïve as he was in the first book, or Lisbeth Salander, who is even more intense than in the first book, and who is the principle character of this novel, can figure out why the people were killed. They do not know if it is related to the planned expose, perhaps an attempt to stop it. However, is it related to Lisbeth Salander's past?
The novel reveals more interesting information about Lisbeth, what caused her to be what she is and act as she does. She becomes the prime suspect in the murders and Blomkvist and other friends of Lisbeth determine that they will do all in their power to prove her innocence. We readers are told many facts that the police do not know, but not the identity of the killer or the motive, and it is interesting to read how the police misconstrue the facts, draw wrong conclusions, and act inappropriately.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.