BROKEN FOR YOU was a debut novel for Stephanie Kallos, but I read it after I’d finished her second, which was SING THEM HOME. From some review of the second book, I’d got the mistaken notion that it was a continuation of Broken For You. It isn’t, not even remotely. Both books are delightful, each one complete in itself. The only common denominator is that both books present idyllic communities in which people find and share their unique talents and perspectives as they grow into themselves. Kallos blends ghosts with the living, and almost fairy-tale improbables with grim reality. Somehow, it all works. I look forward to more of her work.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first in a mystery trilogy by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson. It introduces Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed and body-pierced young woman so adept at illegally hacking into computers, so savagely ruthless in revenge, and so lacking in warmth that it would seem she has no redeeming qualities. And yet it is Lisbeth who works her way into your heart, and in the end almost breaks it. Larsson, who died in 2004 just after finishing the trilogy, wrote with a white-hot contempt for men who debase women, with some disturbing statistics about abuse in Sweden. Millions of his books have sold around the world, and have probably inspired revenge in women who have suffered at the hands of sadists. I have a feeling Larsson would consider that high tribute.