Peter Ash goes to Memphis to help Wanda Wyatt, who has been
receiving strange threats since purchasing an old house and moving in. When he
arrives, he finds someone has driven a dump truck into the front of Wanda’s
house. While trying to track down who might have done it, A young thief, a
homeless street musician, steals Peter’s pickup truck. Peter decides to help
the young musician, too.
I like Peter, even though he often makes stupid and risky
decisions. (He always gets out of the dangerous situations where these
decisions lead him.) All of the characters in the story are interesting, even
the bad guys. Plenty of bad guys populate the book—the young boys, who rob a
jewelry store; a farmer and his psycho brother, who are trying to drive Wanda
out of her house; the gang boss of the Memphis drug world and his close
associates, who are chasing the boy that stole Peter’s truck; and more. Even
Peter and his friend Lewis are not always on the right side of the law.
Suspend your disbelief, and you will enjoy the story.
I intended to read this book years ago and finally got to
it. I won’t go into great detail. There are plenty of reviews available with so
much detail you almost don’t need to read the book.
There are two plots. The story begins with Mikael Blomkvist’s
conviction for libel for an article he wrote about billionaire businessman
Wennerström. This plot line stays in the background until late in the book.
Mikael is then hired by Vander, another rich man, to write a family history as
a cover to find out what happened to his granddaughter, Harriet, who
disappeared almost forty years earlier. This is the plot that consumes most of
The book covers many subjects including business greed and
crime, abuse of women, twisted family relationships, journalism ethics, Swedish
Nazism, computer hacking, and more.
There are also two main characters: Mikael Blomkvist and
Lisbeth Salander, (the girl with the dragon tattoo). Lisbeth doesn’t get
involved with the investigation until about halfway through the story, but we
follow what she is doing before that. Larsson gives us great detail about both
of these very different characters.
I enjoyed the book from the beginning, even though the first
half was rather slow with too much detail about clothes, meals, and day-to-day
minutia. Mikael spends a lot of time on the family history and very little on
the missing girl until way into the book.
The climax of the story occurs about three-quarters of the
way through. The rest of the book ties up all the loose ends, including the first
Larsson’s writing kept me interested from beginning to end.
Burke writes vivid settings. He brings you into the bayous
of Louisiana and activates all your senses—sight, sound, smell, taste,
touch—and more. He laments what greed and politics is doing to his beloved
His characters (good guys and bad guys) have depth. But protagonist,
Dave Robicheaux, has to be in his eighties and is still playing cop and lusting
after women in their twenties. Dream on, Burke. A bit less of Robicheaux’s
anger and feeling sorry for himself would make him more likable and move the
The plot keeps you guessing about the villain, who is
ritualistically killing members of the community using a tarot theme. But I did
suspect the killer early on.
A very dark tale set in the underbelly of Boston. Lehane
paints very vivid portraits of his characters, some of whom you wouldn’t want
to meet in a dark alley. There is a nice story of a man and his dog woven
through the novel plus the building of a romance between two lonely people.
The author is an excellent writer holding my interest in the
story and all the unsavory characters.