Just what was it about Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy that made gritty crime fiction readers of us all? Suddenly, people who only ever read cozy mysteries were sidling up to the reference desk asking about that “Bee book.” What was the draw? It wasn’t the writing (the final book made it clear that writing scenes for a bed-ridden heroine took effort. Effort which many thought seemed to go largely unrewarded). Was it Larsson’s tragic backstory? Maybe. Or just the hype of it all? Personally, I’d never read much fiction set in the colder climes, but somehow the frozen settings seemed, well, more frozen. The villains were more perverse, and the heroes…you get the picture.
Thankfully, New York Magazine published a series of articles that do a pretty good job of explaining what we can get for our time and attention (those curious diacritical marks can really slow you down. Tip: try listening to the audiobook version. The actors who perform the book generally do a convincing job with the pronunciation). It’s a great place to start to get an overview of the literary landscape.