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I share your views on this novel (I like them, but am not *quite* such a fan as you, as I prefer some other Swedish authors eg Asa Larsson, Johan Theorin). I did not like the historical aspects of the Stonecutter (too soapy) so was glad that she dropped those elements in this one. As usual, I like the Erica themes but think Patrick and co are a bit slow off the mark to solve the crimes! (My review is upcoming at Euro Crime - positive but a pity that the solution depends on things like someone being on holiday so not providing crucial info, etc.)
I read and liked this novel, too (though I did receive the first copy I was sent!). My review is at Euro Crime. I hope it takes off as a series, not least for the character of Gunnar the Cop, but also for the general "Icelandicness" of it. Have you tried Michael Ridpath's Where the Shadows Lie? It's very readable, more of a tourist's perspective, with a half US/half Icelandic cop as the protagonist. It has one of those fast-moving thriller plots about sagas, etc - I liked it, a breezy read. (Maxine)
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2011 on Frozen Out - Quentin Bates at Random Jottings
PS I hate serial killer plots, they are so tedious. I have never been remotely tempted to pick up a Chelsea Cain or one of those Dexter books. I read one or two last year (or rather started them and threw them out) that I found utterly as you write in your post, eg American Devil by Oliver Stark. This is by an English author but set in the US - about the NYPD. Dreadfully predictable. (killer targets petite blondes, the profiler bought in to help is a petite blonde....etc etc).Yet it seems to have done fairly well over here - made it to paperback anyway.
I have to beg to disagree with you about the success of TGWTDT being because of its serial killer plot. The fact of the serial killer only became evident to Blomkvist right at the end of the book. Nowhere in the blurbs or publicity was this aspect emphasised or even mentioned. The book was marketed on Lisbeth Salander, and from the plot point of view, on its "island mystery" (the commission that Wanger gave Blomkvist) and on the "cold case" aspect (your item 2). I think a lot of the success of the book was down to Lisbeth's appealing set of characteristics (to the mass audience), on the story of Stieg Larsson himself - mystery, early death, politics, etc- and on the thriller aspects of the book. I am not sure about the fascination with other country - this doesn't seem to me to be a major feature of fascination in the mass US book reading audience (any more than in the UK) though there are discerning readers in both continents, they aren't the mass audience that reads, eg Kellerman, Cornwell, Patterson et al. (Maxine) AGATHO RESPONDS: I don't think we disagree here at all. What I'm suggesting is that the elements of the serial killer plot (which we both agree are usually deadly dull/predictable) in TGWTDT (aka MWHW) are different and interesting enough, given the rest of the story (setting, Lisbeth's character, etc.) that the book transcends the predictable serial killer books we've come to expect. I know my own reaction when I got to the serial killer part was initially disappointment: "How can this terrific book go to that un-terrific place?" But Larsson made it work for me because he went several steps beyond what might be called the "typical serial killer book." Cheers, Agatho
Sorry to read that they are divorced - they weren't when I last read about them but my knowledge is limited to a little bubble of crime fiction blogs that mainly focus on reading/books. I find all this Stieg Larsson stuff so boring - it isn't as if there aren't lots of other authors, Swedish or no, writing great crime novels! I don't really get this continuing obsession, though I am aware (all too aware) of the various arguments and rationalisations about it. (Maxine)
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2011 on Stieg Larsson's legacy at To Be Read...
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Congratulations to Christopher Maclehose, and a very happy new year to you, CFR! Best wishes Maxine (note my blog has moved - my ID should take you there.)
Interesting how opinions vary! In my case I have little patience for magic in novels....apart from Harry Potter of course. I do enjoy reading new-to-me authors, I have to admit most of them come from Euro Crime, either the International Dagger eligibles each year, or from books that get highlighted there. I enjoyed the Herring Seller's Apprentice but I thought the joke had had its day in Ten Little Herrings. I liked the Man from Beijing but Mankell isn't a new-to-me author so it did not make that particular list. Like you, I prefer other Scandinavians to Nesbo, he is too "ghoulish set-piece" for me, on balance. Very much agree on Simon Lelic.
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2010 on 2010 List: My Criminal Record at To Be Read...
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Dec 21, 2010