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Summary

The author of the Millennium novels laid out the clues. Now a journalist is following them.

When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been working on a true mystery that out-twisted his Millennium novels: the assassination on February 28, 1986, of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister. It was the first time in history that a head of state had been murdered without a clue who’d done it - and on a Stockholm street at point-blank range. 

Internationally known for his fictional far-right villains, Larsson was well acquainted with their real-life counterparts and documented extremist activities throughout the world. For years he’d been amassing evidence that linked their terrorist acts to what he called “one of the most astounding murder cases” he’d ever covered. Larsson’s archive was forgotten until journalist Jan Stocklassa was given exclusive access to the author’s secret project. 

In The Man Who Played with Fire, Stocklassa collects the pieces of Larsson’s true-crime puzzle to follow the trail of intrigue, espionage, and conspiracy begun by one of the world’s most famous thriller writers. Together they set out to solve a mystery that no one else could.

©2019 by Jan Stocklassa (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Fascinating undercover work." (AudioFile magazine)

"Having gained exclusive access to Larsson's trove of research, Stocklassa presents an in-depth look into the investigation. Based on the findings, Swedish police now have a suspect for the first time in years. This well-crafted whodunit will keep readers engaged from start to finish.... This story is sure to gain international traction as the investigation into the Palme assassination heats up again." (Library Journal)

"Larsson buffs won't want to miss this one." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Man Who Played with Fire

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Real life trumps fiction

The book is the narrative of a well researched investigation of the Olaf Palme murder, based on initial research by Stieg Larsson. The book illustrates the power of investigative journalism. It does start with the many details of Larsson's investigation, whose documents were casually found by the author. From then on, the author did his own research, uncovering many details and interviewing some key individuals who even the Swedish police failed to find to be interviewed.
The investigation is competently presented in the book. If we didn't know otherwise, this could have been an excellent fiction work, given the level of careful research and organized facts presentation, coupled with an excellent narration.
The book does not conclusively explain who murdered Palme, but it does paint a decent enough picture, much clearer than whatever the Swedish police investigation did. In fact, the book raises a lot of questions about the competence of the Swedish led investigation, for which the more than 30 years since the murder occurred without the investigation being closed are a strong indictment on their own.
All things considered, this is an excellent listen, which I cannot recommend enough.

8 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly captivating.

I had no idea I could be so hooked on a non-fiction book. This story of an unsolved mystery had me coming up with my own theories all the way through.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant and Intriguing Book

I was hooked by the book from the beginning, not an easy read, as Jan fills the pages with facts and information relating firstly to Stieg Larssons biography and the extensive research that he had done relating to Olaf Palma's death in the 1980's. Then after Stieg's untimely passing, Jan continues to dig into the mystery surrounding the shooting.
Gripped from the beginning, I found it was worth stopping, and re-listening to key chapters, so that I had events clear in my own mind before moving forward again. The fact that the events Jan wrote about were actual and not fictional and that the mystery has only just been officially resolved, in no small part to Stieg, and then Jans consistent investigations, vindicates the massive amount of work and time that they put in.
I can highly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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An interesting read

An interesting look into the investigative journalist side of Stieg Larsson’s life. His own life closely mirrors that of his fictitious alto ego, Mikael Blomkvist and as his experiences unfold it’s plain to see where the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo characters came from. Politics and Swedish history play a big part in this book and it tended to get a bit bogged down with detail. However, this was still an interesting read.

1 person found this helpful

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Dont waste a credit

I thought I'd learn about Stig Larsson and the assassination of Olaf Palme. I don't think the book achieves either objective.

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  • william schrimsher
  • 05-10-19

Might listen again

A dramatization to be sure, absolutely fascinating because it is real.
Good for a listen while driving, does require Quite a bit of focus

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • N. Male
  • 30-11-19

When does it start to get interesting?

There is a prior review that says you need to focus when you listen to this book. I'm going to add that this type of book is not for everyone. It is not a fast paced mystery. It plods to the discovery points. I only made it two hours in and can't go on.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lynne
  • 24-11-19

Couldn’t put it down

I haven’t read Steig Larsen and was interested to read about him in a non- fiction piece. I was fascinated by the fact that Larsen researched Sweden’s Right Wing (who’d a thunk?) and the extent of his research. The presentation was gripping and I would listen to more books by the narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 23-10-19

So interesting. Very detailed.

This was fascinating. A great combination or story, history, and research. If you like details and to feel like someone is really giving you the full background, this is for you.

If you just want an exciting story without minutia and detail, this is NOT for you.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Louie
  • 09-04-21

The Wikipedia entry tells you enough

I’m a fan of Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I thought I would learn some thing about his investigative journalism from this book. It is 10 times as long as it needs to be. It is so boring that after purchasing it in 2019 and not being able to finish it after starting and stopping a dozen times, I finally just looked up the Wikipedia entry. It turns out nobody in Sweden really knows who killed the Prime Minister and probably never will. Save yourself the time; you won’t learn anything about Stieg Larsson.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 05-07-20

Prime Minister Murdered - 34 Years Still Unsolved

This book is intriguing and makes you wonder just how interconnected all the global issues are. Olaf Palmer and his wife are walking home from the theater, without any security detail, which is often the case. This night someone walks up behind him and shoots him at close range, killing him instantly. Then the killer runs up the stairs to the street above and disappears. The police investigate but find no evidence to connect to anyone. Stieg Larsson investigates the far right who hated Palmer but finds no conclusive evidence. Could it be a lone gunman? Or, is it more likely to be another country’s ‘hit squad’ out to silence Palmer because he was about to speak out against the selling of guns. So far there is no ending although the investigations continue. The publication of this book after 8 years of research has sparked additional investigation by Swedish police. The narrator, Ulf Bjorkland, is terrific as narrator. He makes the story move and pronounces the Swedish names and places correctly making the book flow. The author does a skillful job of weaving the notes left by Stieg Larsson into the investigation and again reminds us of just what the journalistic world lost with the early death of Larsson. If you like crime drama, this is a true life mystery.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-06-20

Not Satisfying

I generally prefer fiction and this was truly a work of non- fiction. it had exciting moments but ended without satisfaction or resolution. I purchased this to accompany the ebook.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rhonda
  • 18-04-21

Such a let down from Siegi Larrson's writing.

Nothing but a boring list of political opinions. No story monotone political opinionated drivel. No redeeming quality. Could even listen while sleeping. Kept waking me up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mani S.
  • 18-05-20

Methodical and thrilling mystery political saga!

A solid truecrime thriller, which takes a deep dive into the political and espionage arenas at the end of the cold war. I liked the range of things and to think that the author spent a better part of a decade putting this together is impressive- especially considering that he was building on material from a well-known and much loved author. Perhaps that is the only reason that I am giving this a point lower - Stocklassa is not Larsson. And that is an unfair comparison, except the book invites that comparison by naming the more famous fiction writer in the title of the book. This puts a lot of pressure for a methodical investigation to have as many thrilling twists and turns as the novels. The author even entertains this possibility at the start, as the first couple of chapters read straight out of Larsson (one of them is indeed Larsson's writing). However, the book slows down for about 150 pages or so. Even though last quarter of the book does deliver a compelling case, and a satisfying conclusion, it feels like by then the readers have gone through a lot names and sometimes over the same theories. The scenes are expectedly tame and the references to Larsson feels like a forced and misguided attempt to sell books. So overall, I stick with a 4 star rating. The book is great by its own merits. It is hurt by raising the expectations of fans. It does help the fans get a different facet or Larsson, however small. And I would not have picked up this book if not for the Larsson connection. So, the book succeeds, just hoped it would be more energetic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Buretto
  • 26-10-19

Lots of details, but oddly compelling

The first idea that came to mind when thinking about writing a review was the standard phrase for books like this which claim "it reads like a novel". Well, this doesn't read like a novel at all. It's very segmented and presented in a linear fashion, relating information as if from a diary, which is what it is essentially. But it does grab the attention, and the short chapters prevent the story from becoming to stale at any point. Lots of names and details are presented, and it may be easy to get lost, but the format makes it easy enough to back up and regain your footing. And the scope of the story, as presented, virtually begs for a grander treatment covering numerous global intelligence agencies.

2 people found this helpful