Pin It

'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest,' Stieg Larsson 

After nearly 1,800 pages, the Millennium Trilogy fails to pull off a satisfying conclusion.

click to enlarge art15278.jpg

I just finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the weighty, 563-page conclusion to the late Steig Larsson’s Swedish thriller trilogy, and I am thinking about the nature of page-turners.

Hornet’s Nest, just like the earlier titles in Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, is a page-turner filled with subplots and cliffhangers.

The book doesn’t entirely crackle with excitement – it has long, eye-glazing passages on the bureaucratic history of Swedish spy agencies, one of the main characters is confined to a hospital bed for hundreds of pages, and the ending is especially execrable. Still, I couldn’t put it down, remaining curled and tense in my living room chair through the wee hours as the Earth spun towards dawn.

On a work night, no less. And the next night, too. Nearly 600 pages consumed in two greedy sessions.

Searching through online essays about the nature of page-turners, a sort of classism emerges: “Literature” = not page-turner. Genre fiction = page-turner, meaning it does not = literature.

Others may argue, but I think we can agree Larsson’s books are not terribly highbrow.

The three Girl books published after his death in 2004, are, however, terrific crime thrillers with unique protagonists — a middle-aged crusading journalist and a secretive, sometimes violent goth computer hacker. The villains are evil; the mysteries, dark.

The characters Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander are compelling and energetically drive the long books (1,793 pages for the trilogy).

Larsson’s oficial fan webpage ( says he planned to write a series of 10 novels; a fourth was found half-completed. Maybe that’s why the ending to Hornet’s Nest seems as if it were simply nailed on, attempting to wrap up all the characters encountered in the first three books.

But it also made me groan aloud.

One villain vanishes in the first pages … only to reappear in an isolated warehouse full of decomposing bodies. He tries to kill Salander, but the slender woman defeats him by borrowing from The Three Stooges.

I stopped turning the pages right there.

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Fear and the Faithful
  • Fear and the Faithful

    Into the heart of the NCAA tournament over three days in Seattle
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Bringing it Home
  • Bringing it Home

    The Gonzaga women make a Cinderella run that brings them to Spokane for the Sweet 16
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Ascending Artist: Brian Houghton
  • Ascending Artist: Brian Houghton

    How one still-evolving artist learned not to be constrained by conventions
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Ric Gendron & Valerie Seaberg

Ric Gendron & Valerie Seaberg @ Art Spirit Gallery

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Kevin Taylor

Most Commented On

  • The Java Experience

    Caffé Affogato brings Italian-style coffees to Saranac Commons
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • Refresh and Refocus

    A forced relocation was an opportunity for Madeleine's to hone its style, food and service
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation