Although I had mixed feelings about the first book in Larsson's posthumous trilogy, I was still excited to read the second book THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. In some ways, the second book was superior to the first.
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE reintroduces readers to Lisbeth Salander, the plucky, tortured sociopath from Larsson's first book. Salander is the type of character that readers can't help being drawn to in spite of her many flaws. This book follows Salander as her past catches up with her when two journalists investigating illegal sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered. I hesitate to offer more details as I do not want to give away any important plot points.
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist was the central character in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and I couldn't help but find him fairly uninteresting. He continues his blandness in this novel but Salander gets to take center stage which provides a much more appealing and faster-paced story. One problem that Larsson had is getting bogged down in unnecessary details and plot points. He didn't seem to be able to edit himself well. The third section of the book is painfully slow. I was tempted to skip the entire thing but didn't for fear that I would miss some salient details. The conclusion was much better in this book than the first in the series and leaves the reader wanting more.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. While the plot dragged in certain parts, this book works fairly successfully as an action-thriller. An entertaining and quick read that promises good things for the final book in the trilogy.