Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Report 2/27/14

Completed Reading (fiction): The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

Having viewed all of the films based on this series, there was little suspense with regard to the ultimate resolution of this novel. Of course in almost any novel it is a safe enough bet that the protagonist, while facing many obstacles and struggles, will ultimately win the day. (Unless, of course, that protagonist is named Stark and inhabits a novel written by George R.R. Martin.)  So it shouldn’t be much of a spoiler to reveal that Lisbeth Salander avoids both a prison sentence and confinement to a mental hospital. Still, even if one didn’t see this resolution coming based on the usual rules of fiction, the novel itself leaves little doubt as to the predicted outcome. The Section, a rogue cabal within the Swedish Secret Police, never really gets their act together with regards to their conspiracy against Salander. They want to silence her because of her father, a Soviet defector to Sweden who was handled by The Section in the 1980s and 90s. But for a group of spies they are notoriously ineffective. Salander’s ally, Mikael Blomkvist, and his associates always remain one step ahead of The Section, and that seriously undercuts the suspense. Slander’s lawyer makes short work of the prosecution and their star witness, the psychiatrist Teleborian, which leads to Salander’s acquittal and release. We are then subjected to an unnecessary sojourn to Gibraltar (sometimes telling is better than showing) before Salander finally gets her hands dirty in a confrontation that ties up the novel’s loose end. Nice to see her back in action, even if only for a small portion of the book. If you are well invested in the Millennium trilogy, and must know how the story ends, you probably won’t consider reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest a waste of time.

Currently Reading (nonfiction): Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

Bodies buried in ice in abandoned buildings. Families members ravaged by drug and alcohol abuse. First responders struggling with inadequate equipment, punished for looting if they take abandoned property. Corrupt and incompetent politicians growing more corrupt and incompetent by the day. The deterioration of old Detroit proceeds apace.

Currently Reading (fiction): Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

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