Literary smackdown: Lisbeth Salander vs. Eve Dallas

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Dragon tattoo image courtesy of lorettaflame on Morguefile

When Oscars time rolled around, I heard quite a bit about a movie called “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and I got curious. What was it about this movie that had everyone talking about it? So I started watching videos of the movie on YouTube and later found out that the book was based on a Stieg Larsson crime novel. And then of course, I had to go read the book since I like mysteries.

Thankfully, I was warned by the videos; the book is graphic. But the main character, hacker Lisbeth Salander, is compelling. She has her own sense of morality, isn’t adverse to breaking laws when she feels it’s justified (often in self-defense or to protect another person) and is tough beyond belief. Lisbeth has strong reasons for being the way she is, but she’s considered dysfunctional by society.

Lisbeth is an amazing literary creation by Stieg Larsson and I got even more curious to find out what happens to her after the first novel. So now I’ve worked my way through all three books: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. All three were excellent.

As I finished Hornets’ Nest, it struck me: Lisbeth reminds me of Eve Dallas, the futuristic New York homicide cop of the J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts) In Death books. Like Lisbeth, Eve Dallas has had a tough life, suspects any human affection and has few close friends. It’s difficult for either of them to trust anyone.

But Eve is luckier than Lisbeth. She meets Roarke, a brilliant and good-looking Irish billionaire and reformed crook who understands her better than anyone. Eve also has others who care about her: Feeney, Dr. Mira, Peabody, Charles, Louise and Morris, for example. Lisbeth, however, seems to make her own luck but does have a loyal friend in investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, once she unbends enough to permit him into her life and allows him to help her.

I’d love to see Nora Roberts introduce a Lisbeth-type character in one of the In Death books. Imagine the literary possibilities. Lisbeth could be one of the good guys working part-time for Roarke in one of his gazillion businesses and she and Eve would probably be battling it out through most of the novel due to Lisbeth’s distrust of cops and her dislike of society’s rules. (Can you blame Lisbeth?) Eve would recognize Lisbeth as a fellow victim and feel some compassion for her. After a few fights and witty one-liners, they’d probably achieve a mutual tolerance for each other in the end. Maybe. It’s interesting to speculate, anyway.


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