I'm tempted to simply repost my review of The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes. Larsson stays this side of the supernatural, but otherwise the two are interchangeable. Who knew that Sweden, boring white-bread Sweden, was home to a freak show usually found in Southern Gothic novels. A quick list must include:
A giant German hitman who has a genetic disorder that prevents him from feeling pain. (Sorry Arnold, you're past it.)
A 5' 4" Russian hitman, spy, defector, mobster with a GRU background who is the father of the heroine, the aforesaid giant, and a slew of other bastard freaks scattered across Europe. He's the bad guy. (If only Dennis Hopper could have hung on for another year.)
A beautiful, kinky, Asian, lesbian, kick-boxer. (Lucy Liu. Absolutely.)
A simple, honest professional boxing champ. (Some young muscle-head.)
And the protagonist: an elfin, 4' 11", less than 90 lb, world class hacker, billionaire (she steals the ill-gotten gains of the billain in book 1), with a photographic memory and an intuitive flair for math (she solves Fermat's Last Theorem while stalking an evil-doer.) She is tattooed and absurdly violent when provoked. She may have Asperger's Syndrome.
As for the plot:
The protagonist watches her father beat the crap out of her mother on a regular basis. She finally lashes out and tries to kill him. The Swedish Secret police sweep in to hush the thing up and she finds herself declared "incompetent" and institutionalized. There she is abused. Then her guardian abuses her. After that, whatever havoc she unleashes, the reader applauds. The abuse justifies her over the top vengeance.
Oh yeah, there's trafficing of sex slaves from Eastern Europe. Cover-ups by the Swedish Secret police. The decay of the Swedish Social Safety Net.
And, I have to repeat, she solves Fermat's Last Theorem, without the help of a computer, while on the way to extract
Throughout the book, the police and reporters, the peripheral, normal characters, keep saying things like, "Can you believe this?" No, they can't. And either can you.
The books have sold millions, so who am I to say they are adult action cartoons that will make billions as a series of summer films. The tiny heroine even gets a boob job between book 1 and 2 to aid casting.
Oddly enough, the freak show rips along at such a pace that you keep going even though you want to stop. You know it is free of nutrition, but you take yet another piece. Perhaps that's the secret to huge success in writing - appeal to the appetites and slather it on.