Stieg Larsson Day

Less than two years ago, Stieg Larsson’s first title in his Millennium series appeared in the US to some skepticism about how well this international best seller would do here. Sonny Metha, the head of Knopf, Larsson’s US publisher admits to NYT Magazine he “had nightmares that we would be the only country where the books didn’t work”.

Today marks the release of Larsson’s third title in the US and Mehta must be resting easier. As the NYT Magazine puts it, “Except for Harry Potter, Americans haven’t been so eager for a book since the early 1840s, when they thronged the docks in New York, hailing incoming ships for news of Little Nell in Charles Dickens’s Old Curiosity Shop.” On NPR’s Web site today, Maureen Corrigan says,

The final verdict is in: Steig Larsson has posthumously proven himself to be one of the Greats of Mystery Fiction, taking his place in the pantheon along with other demi-Gods like Christie, Sayers, Hammett, Chandler, Robert Parker and his (still-breathing) fellow Swede, Henning Mankell.

Looking back, the prepub reviews of Dragon Tattoo were all fairly strong, but LJ‘s Wilda Williams showed the greatest enthusiasm, coming the closest to predicting its subsequent success. Libraries, however, ordered lightly.

The consumer press coverage began with a not-so-great review in the NYT BR. Alex Berenson liked the middle section, the investigation into the book’s central mystery, the 40-year-old murder of a young woman. He had many reservations about the rest of the book, however, any one of which could have signalled poor word of mouth;

  • Readers will have trouble sorting through the cast of characters.
  • The novel “offers a thoroughly ugly view of human nature.”
  • The main player, Blomkvist “seems more a stock character than a real person.”
  • The ending is a letdown; “boring and implausible, relying heavily on lazy e-mail exchanges between characters.”

When we wrote about Dragon Tattoo a few weeks before publication, holds were still light. By pub date, they had grown and we issued a heavy holds alert. Today, many libraries are still working through their lists (hint; it’s now available in both mass market and trade pbk) and the release of the final title is likely to bring even more new readers to the series.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Stieg Larsson
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Knopf – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 030726999X / 9780307269997
  • UNABR CD from Random House Audio available May 25: $40; ISBN 9780739384190
  • Large Print from Random House: $28; ISBN 9780739377710
  • WMA Audiobook available from OverDrive

One Response to “Stieg Larsson Day”

  1. Ben Rubinstein Says:

    Man, I loved all three of these books, and I don’t even like thrillers. I was disappointed to find that not one included an actual dragon.