Friday, March 18, 2011

Read Alike: Steig Larsson

Stieg Larsson

Even though he only wrote three novels, Swedish crime novelist Stieg Larsson looms over other writers in a field crowded with big names. The posthumously published Millennium trilogy has it all: intricate plotting, in-depth investigative work, factually accurate details, and thought-provoking social themes, all set in a hauntingly beautiful Sweden. But what truly distinguishes Larsson is his character development: his two heroes are unforgettable, and his secondary characters have engrossing stories and histories. Only avoid these page-turners if frequent (though not explicit) sex or graphic violence is a turnoff.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest combined for a total of 202 weeks on the Publisher’s weekly Top 10 Bestseller’s list in 2010. The third and final book in the trilogy continues to hold a place in the top 10. All three novels have been made into movies in Larsson’s native Sweden and are in the Carnegie-Stout catalog. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is currently in pre-production in the United States with Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) and Rooney Mara (The Social Network) set to play the trilogy’s two stars.

If you are a fan of Stieg Larsson and his Millennium trilogy and are looking for something to read that is similar may we suggest one of the following books:

Smilla's sense of snow by Peter Høeg

Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen is the daughter of a Danish doctor and an Inuit woman from Greenland. Raised in Greenland, she lives in Copenhagen and, as befits her ancestry, is an expert on snow. When one of her few friends, an Inuit boy, dies under mysterious circumstances, she refuses to believe it was an accident.

Origin : a novel by Diana Abu-Jaber

Lena is a fingerprint expert at a crime lab in the small city of Syracuse, New York, where winters are cold and deep. Suddenly, a series of crib deaths -- indistinguishable from SIDS except for the fevered testimony of one distraught mother with connections in high places -- draws the attention of the police and the national media and raises the possibility of the inconceivable: could there be a serial infant murderer on the loose?

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell

In the aftermath of the 2006 massacre of nineteen people in a Swedish village, Judge Birgitta Roslin, a granddaughter of two of the victims, discovers the nineteenth-century diary of a gang leader that reveals the case's eerie connections to the abuse of Chinese slave workers.

Sun and shadow : an Erik Winter novel by Ake Edwardson

Erik Winter is the youngest chief inspector in Sweden; he wears sharp suits, cooks gourmet meals, has a penchant for jazz, and is about to become a father. But he has his share of troubles too; a bloody double murder on his doorstep is only the beginning.

Jar city : a Reykjav by Arnaldur Indridason & Bernard Scudder

When a lonely old man is found murdered in his Reykjavík flat, the only clues are a cryptic note left by the killer and a photograph of a young girl’s grave. Inspector Erlendur, who heads the investigation team, discovers that many years ago the victim was accused, though not convicted, of an unsolved crime. Did the old man’s past come back to haunt him?

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg & Steven T. Murray

After she returns to her hometown to learn that her friend, Alex, was found in an ice-cold bath with her wrists slashed, biographer Erica Falck researches her friend's past in hopes of writing a book and joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has his own suspicions about the case.

Box 21 by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom

Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel. What will happen when they get an unexpected chance at freedom?

Bangkok haunts by John Burdett

Sonchai has seen virtually everything on his beat in Bangkok’s District 8, but nothing like the video he’s just been sent anonymously: “Few crimes make us fear for the evolution of our species. I am watching one right now.”

In the Woods by Tana French

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Unseen by Mari Jungstedt & Tiina Nunnally

The island of Gotland is in the middle of a busy tourist season and getting ready for Midsummer, the 4th of July of Swedish holidays, when a young woman and her dog are found brutally murdered.

Nemesis by Jo Nesbo & Don Bartlett

Grainy CCTV footage shows a man walking into a bank and putting a gun to a cashier's head. He tells her to count to twenty-five. When he doesn't get his money in time, she is executed. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case. While Harry's girlfriend is away in Russia, an old flame gets in touch. He goes to dinner at her house and wakes up at home with no memory of the past twelve hours. The same morning the girl is found shot dead in her bed. Harry begins to receive threatening e-mails.

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!


  1. Thanks for the reminder on facebook to check out these read alikes... they ALL look so interesting!


  2. You're very welcome, Susan! We're glad that you're enjoying our read alike lists.