December 29th, 2015



For quite a while I had heard good things about Swedish author Stieg Larsson's Millennium series. I have a memory of hearing about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on NPR in my folks' house -- sitting or standing in the living room, looking towards the sun room. And it was sunny. Who knows?

But there was certainly a buzz.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series Book 1)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium Series Book 2)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium Series Book 3)

Mrs. Dr. Phil had some Audible credits, so she downloaded the trilogy to her Kindle Fire and we used one of those low power FM transmitters to listen to the books on a trip to Greensboro. This was leading up to the American movie version of the first book with Daniel Craig. The staff at Holland 7 warned us that it had earned its R rating. We assured them we'd just listened to the books. After the movie we chatted with one of the guys, who said that the Swedish movie/TV miniseries was excellent as well.

So we rented those and read the English subtitles. Sadly, like Season 2 of Firefly, we are still awaiting the Daniel Craig movies of book 2 and 3.

After I finished reading the current PDFs of my Lost Kingdom series, I decided to buy the Kindle version of the books with some of the Amazon gift card money I'd gotten.

My biggest complaint? It's a formatting thing. There's no break marker between changes in venue within chapters, so I kept having to reread a sentence once I figured out I was dealing with a different subplot and characters.

But the stories are tight. Long thorough detail sections. Fast moving action in other parts. I love the characters and the complex relationships and interconnects amongst them. Good cops, bad cops, evil criminals, our intrepid journalists. And then there's Lisbeth Salander, who is unclassifiable, but beautifully realized.

As often happens, the first novel could have been a satisfying standalone. But 2 and 3 extend on 1 and need to be taken together. (Cliffhanger!)

Well worth the time, but not for the faint of heart.

The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series

Alas, Stieg Larrson died after submitting the manuscripts to the publisher. He never knew the hit he had. A few years later the estate selected David Lagercrantz to continue the series. We, of course, were skeptical. Too many series continued past their expiration dates, even with authors still alive supervising the work. Tom Clancy, I'm looking at you for one.

But one of the boxes sets of books had the 3+1 series, so buying the Kindle version of that allowed me a chance to read the fourth book.

It's good.

David certainly extends the story in an entertaining way. But... I'd only give it 4 of 5 stars, unlike the 5-star performance of the first three. The story, action and suspense had always been amped up to 8-9-10. But to some extent David feels obligated to map it up, not to 11, but to 13. And that's just enough to annoy me.

Don't get me wrong. It's a worthy book. And parts are beautifully handled. But the nature of the one operation and one coincidence too far regarding characters, is too much. I'd buy one or the other, but not both. The second, probably, since there are hooks available for a fifth book if David can make a book of it. Though he's given that character an almost magical ability to manipulate -- and disguise. Also, the major people killed are beginning to get redshift status.

Still, it fits. I am very happy to read it. And I'm willing to consider it canon.

But David is going to have to write even more better if a possible Book 5 is going to work.


ADVISORY for those sensitive to difficult violence and brutal treatment of women.

Dr. Phil

Huskies Win!

Tuesday 29 December 2015
First Great Lakes Invitational Semi-Final

1:02 left in OT

Michigan State - 2
Michigan Tech - 3

I was flipping channels when dinner came and stumbled onto the GLI with 13:52 to go in the 3rd, MSU ahead 2-0.

But Tech got a goal. And then around a minute left, tied it. In overtime games, MSU was 0-1-2 and MTU was 2-0-2 this season. I think they've beaten State twice in overtime... thrice now.

Tech gets to play in the GLI Final. Against either Michigan or Northern Michigan. Would love a Yooper final...


In Heaven, there is no beer...
That's why we drink it here...

Dr. Phil