The second component of my birthday present from Mooch and Sarah was the second installment of the Millennium Trilogy by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. The Girl Who Played with Fire picks up right where The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo left off returning to the complicated lives of Lisbeth Salander and Michael Blomkvist.

Whirl and I watched the Swedish film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo two nights ago. And without going into a protracted screed about the risks of adapting complex literary stories to film, both of us were somewhat disappointed by the adjustments made from the source material for the sake of transfer to the screen. Several of the double-binds, the psychological catch-22s, and character flaws were stripped away leaving a much more pedestrian story as a result.

So it is with that in the back of my mind, that I’m starting into the second novel, unencumbered by the specific demands of film. The Girl Who Played with Fire focuses upon “All the Evil” Salander referenced obliquely when working with Blomkvist on the Harriet Vanger disappearance. Larsson laid a great deal of groundwork here — mostly through Salander’s refusal to discuss anything about herself or her past.

The main plot of The Girl Who Played with Fire begins when a freelance journalist, approaches Blomkvist with plans to publish a story that exposes people in high office involved in Sweden’s sex trafficking business. Svensson’s story is based on research conducted by his girlfriend, a criminologist and gender studies scholar. When the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment, Salander must talk. But as I learned in the first novel, Salander prefers to talk not with words, but action. Decisive, vengeful action.