If you were Norstedts, the Swedish publisher, and there was no fourth Stieg Larsson book to publish but wanted to keep the Larsson brand thriving, you might tell your marketing department to get together with your interactive media group at one of Michael Blomkvist’s favorite coffee bars and come out saying, “Yes! Let’s do an app!” And let’s call it “Chasing Salander”!
Create fourteen “Chapters” and set them in different locales from the book together with the relevant sepia photograph (Millennium office, Bjurman’s Flat, Milton Security). Toss in pop-up thumbnails of characters and scenes, an interactive map, and some creepy music. Then wrap it all together into a “Larsen-esque “story about a contract gunman moving through these scenes in an attempt to find Salander to kill her, told in the first person. (No spoilers here, but were you the publisher would you really want to bring Salander to a violent end?)
In principle, not a bad idea. But whomever Norstedts came up with to execute the project should be exiled to the mines of Skelleftea, the village in the frozen north where Larsson grew up. Parts of “Chasing Salander” (a just-released app for iPod and iPad) rise above the mediocre: the brief pop-up profiles of characters and places are well done (although clicking on the thumbnails stops the narration of the story). And you get a chance to click on numbers on a map of Stockholm that lead to a photo related to that place (but no video).*
Unfortunately, at least for us, the negatives far outweighed the attraction. We wrote the script off as pretty lame; a sophomoric caricature of Mickey Spillane. Phrases such as “her stiletto heels tapped, tapped on the floor,” “the place was as empty as my stomach,” and “if God had intended us to cross the sea he wouldn’t have put water in it,” end up giving Nordic noir —or any noir—a bad name. Add a soundtrack that sounds as if someone continually ran a wet finger run along the rim of a glass and you have a teaser that is ultimately very disappointing.
Let’s face it, if Stieg Larsson had decided to promote his books by writing this script and choosing a narrator as unconvincing as this one, you would never have read his books.
But don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself if it’s still at the ‘sale’ price: http://www.norstedts.se/chasingsalander
*Note: for a more comprehensive set of images of Larsson’s Stockholm, and in full color, seehttp://julieoconnor.com/swedenshow.html