Tag Archives: Martin Beck

Stieg’s cause

A great many things can be done in the wake of the horrific Christianist terror attack in Norway. While it’s far from the most important thing, I’d like to see the discussion of Stieg Larsson’s phenomenally popular “Millennium”  novels — The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest — shift away from Larsson’s personal life and toward the journalism he made his life’s work. Anders Behring Breivik is exactly the kind of right-wing psychopath Larsson worked to expose and discredit, and while we’re waiting to see what becomes of the unfinished manuscripts Larsson left behind, I’d like to see some enterprising publisher put together a collection of his best exposes, with editorial notes to help readers outside Scandinavia keep track of the context.

As this Guardian piece points out, murderous right-wing whackos are a staple of Scandinavian crime fiction, and maybe a journey through the works of Henning Mankel, Jo Nesbo, and Jonas Wergeland will offer some insights into our own homegrown, FoxNews-fed breed of creep.

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A song of ice and ire

So I just finished A Storm of Swords, the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I had a fine bloody-minded time with it, right up to that closing shocker that literally leaves everything hanging.  I like the way Stannis has moved to the foreground, I approve of the parting gesture Tyrion made, and I appreciate the way Dany is being groomed for greatness.

I’ve heard so much badness about the next volume, A Feast for Crows, that I’m somewhat reluctant to pick it up, though I want to be in shape for next month’s release of A Dance with Dragons, the title of which suggests we’ll finally be seeing some serious fire-breather action. (Though I did like the way the black one toasted that trash-talking slaver — great scene, that.) So I will put Martin on hiatus with a link to this discussion with the designer of the wonderful opening credits for Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation now drawing to a conclusion.

Just to decompress from such an immersion in high fantasy, I’m re-reading portions of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo’s Martin Beck crime novel series. Right now I’m on The Fire Engine That Disappeared, and while I can salute Stieg Larsson for using the Martin Beck books as the model for his Millennium series, novels like The Laughing Policeman do three times the storytelling work of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in a fraction of the space. Martin has ice and fire nailed down, but Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo trafficked in ice and ire.

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