Tag Archives: murder

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I may be one of the last people to climb on board the Steig Larsson bandwagon. His “Millenium Trilogy” has been on the bestseller lists for some time, but for some reason they didn’t grab my attention. I’ve had “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” sitting on my “to read” shelf for months. Finally, last month I broke down and read the novel and I’m glad I did.

The story is essentially a crime mystery with a number of side plots, placed in Larsson’s home country of Sweden. A discredited financial journalist is hired by the aging patriarch of an old, rich industrial family to investigate the mystery of what happened to his teenaged granddaughter who went missing, and was presumed murdered, one day in the 1960s. However, the rest of the family are lead to a believe that the journalist, Mikael Blomqvist, has been hired simply to write a family history.

Blomqvist is assisted by the brilliant, but seriously odd Lisbeth Salander, aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is an absolute freak, but an extraordinarily compelling character.

As they delve into the family and the mysterious disappearance, they find all kinds of bizarre stories. That family had some serious issues!

I thought the story started slow. I was nearly 100 pages into the book before things really started to pick up. However, once they got going, I found myself staying up and reading much later than I should on work nights to see what was going to happen.

My advice – Don’t give up on the book too soon. Give it 100 pages. You won’t be disappointed.

I am really looking forward to the next two books in the series.

 

John Sandford’s latest a winner of a summer read

John Sandford is one of my favorite authors. He has several series of cop/crime fiction going and they are all great.

I just finished the latest in his “Prey” series – Buried Prey. It’s slightly different than many of his previous novels, but very good. It is an excellent summer read.

The main character in the “Prey” series is Lucas Davenport. When the series started, nearly 20 years ago, Lucas was a homicide detective in the Minneapolis Police Department. Lucas is smart, urbane, quick-witted and rich. (Not a bad combination. I want to be Lucas when I grow up.) He got all the tough cases. At the present point in the series, Lucas is the head of the Minnesota “Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.” And again, he gets all the tough cases.

In Buried Prey, building excavators unearth the bodies of two young girls, dead for a quarter century. It is a kidnap-murder case that Lucas worked as a young cop. Much of the book is a flash-back, as Lucas recalls the details of the summer the girls disappeared. Lucas is besieged by guilt over the case. The police were quick to close the case and pinned the murders on a homeless man who was killed by the police during his arrest. Lucas knows deep in his heart that the homeless man was innocent, but being a young cop, he went along with his bosses and “caved in.”

Sandford brings out some of Lucas’s personality characteristics that remain hidden in most of his books, including self-doubt, a sense of guilt, and a near-pathological drive for revenge.

As with nearly all of Sandford’s books, Buried Prey gets a thumbs-up. Very good!

Another good class with “my kids”

It’s been a busy week. Let’s see if I can catch up.

We had another really fantastic CCD class on Wednesday.

Advancing from last week’s lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our class this week was on rules, evolving into a discussion of the Ten Commandments.

Not surprisingly, the students were quite familiar with the concept of rules and were able to cite numerous examples of rules they need to follow in school and in their family.

We discussed briefly the story behind the commandments and read a passage from Exodus that outlined them. We discussed them in generalities and pointed out how the first three pertain to giving offense to God, while the last seven address offenses and behavior pertaining to our fellow man.

We also distributed a chart indicating how the various Christian and Jewish religions count the commandments. The same material is arranged slightly differently. For example, most Protestant faiths spread the God-related commandments into four while Catholics summarize them into three. We explained how this can be confusing when they may hear public discussion of a Protestant’s FIFTH commandment “Honor thy father and mother” when that is a Catholic’s FOURTH.

Once we got to #5, “Thou shall not kill,” it opened the door to a wide ranging discussion of all the permutations of that rule. The discussion included war, comparative evils, accidents, acts of the mentally ill or young children, capital punishment and abortion. Although just 10 or 11 years old, this is a pretty quick group. The discussion was lively and engaged. Lots of fun. We ran out of time long before we ran out of material.  I guess that’s a good thing.