Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading . All readers are welcome to play. The rules are simple: 1. open your current read to a random page (well sort of); 2. share two "teaser" sentences from this page, making sure they're not spoilers for the next reader; 3. link your post in the comments on Miz B's website; and 4. try to check out other players' posts and leave a comment--we all love them!
This week I'm a bit late writing my post because I decided to do a teaser for three books--Swedish writer Stieg Larsson's international bestselling thrillers, the Millennium trilogy. Also, I want to tell you about the first movie based on this trilogy. I saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before reading the books and was immediately fascinated by the storyline, characters, and heart stopping pace of the film. In about three weeks I read the three books almost in one setting each, staying up all night to see what happens. Now that's a great read!
I was also glad to have seen the "Dragon Tattoo" movie first to help me visualize the Swedish setting for the novels--cold, snowy, watery countryside. More importantly, I had a picture in my mind of Larsson's two central characters--Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth Salander is a brilliant computer hacker with a photographic memory who works as an investigator for a security company. Salander is a non-communicative social misfit who strikes out violently at anyone who threatens her. Some reviewers say she may be borderline autistic or suffer from Asperger's syndrome. Her looks--slight boyish figure, fierce physicality, goth appearance with multiple piercings and tattoos--further emphasize her differences from other young Swedish women. Salander has been victimized and brutalized most of her life by people in authority who were charged with protecting her. These violations are the backdrop for all three novels.
Michael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist for the liberal leaning Millennium Magazine and freelancer who takes on corrupt financial and governmental institutions and exposes them to the public. Even if it means being sued for libel, being set up, and sentenced to a jail term for his supposed crime. Blomkvist operates by a strict journalistic code. He gets the story right before he publishes it and he doesn't betray his sources. Most important for his relationship with Salander, he is a fiercely loyal friend who uses his considerable journalistic talents and personal connections to help her. Someone who has her back--a first for Salander.
Here are my teasers for each book. If you decide to read, they should be read in order because the story builds over the three works:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (pub. Stockholm 2005)
"But he does have some secrets?" Frode said. "Everyone has secrets," Salander replied neutrally. "It's just a matter of finding out what they are." p. 50
Synopsis: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander investigate the unsolved disappearance over twenty years ago of a teenage girl of the powerful Vanger family. In the process, they uncover dark family secrets and connections to Blomkvist's journalistic career. Journalist and hacker begin an uneasy partnership.
The Girl Who Played With Fire (pub. Stockholm 2006)
"She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed. The harness was tight across her rib cage. Her hands were manacled to the sides of the bed. It was the 43rd day of her imprisonment. It was her 13th birthday." p. 3 & 6
Synopsis: Blomkvist's Millennium Magazine launches an expose of the Swedish sex trade that proves collusion by a rogue arm of the secret security police. Two staffers involved in the investigation are brutally murdered and the police pursue Salander as a prime suspect because of the secrets she knows.
The Girl who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (pub. Stockholm 2007)
"Rescue Service helicopter coming in. Two patients. An injured man and a young woman. The woman has gunshot wounds." p. 5
Salandar is critically wounded and a prisoner in a city hospital. She is to go on trial for three murders. Somehow she must prove her innocence plus identify and denounce the authorities who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. Blomkvist is her main ally.
Here is the U.S. trailer for The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo film. Warning: it is very intense and, at times, incredibly violent. At the same time it's almost like an art film. Noomi Rapace transforms herself physically into this 24 year old waif. Michael Nyquist is perfectly cast as the older, steady Blomkvist. I think you'll see why it was good to see this film before reading the trilogy. Films based on the other two novels are scheduled for release later this year and early 2011.
After this total immersion in Stieg Larsson, I became interested in Swedish crime writing and drama. Next week I'll be talking about Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander mysteries.