The Secrets Series

The Tattooed Girl
The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind
the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time
Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer and John-Henri Holmberg


John-Henri Holmberg is a Swedish writer, critic, translator, and editor who first met Stieg Larsson at a Swedish science fiction convention in 1972, when Larsson was only 17. They would remain friends until Larsson's death 32 years later. Larsson showed Holmberg all three of the Millennium novels in manuscript form and discussed publishing strategies with him. Just before his death, Larsson also discussed with Holmberg key details from the planned fourth Millennium book.

As a translator, Holmberg has worked on some 200 books, among them many by Stephen King and Lemony Snicket, as well as works by notables such as Vladimir Nabokov, Dick Francis, Robert A. Heinlein, Dean Koontz, Armistead Maupin, Mickey Spillane, and Donald E. Westlake. As a critic, his reviews of crime fiction have appeared regularly in one of Sweden's largest newspapers, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, for the past 15 years. This body of work won him the prestigious Broberg Excellence in Criticism Award, as well as election to the Swedish Academy of Crime Fiction. Among his books are critical overviews of science fiction literature, fantasy literature, and psychological thrillers; he has contributed to the National Encyclopedia of Sweden, to international encyclopedias of science fiction and fantasy, and to many other standard works. Holmberg has also been active in publishing, working as an editor for a series of Swedish publishers. He was editorial director for fiction at Bra Böcker Publishing Group.

An avid science fiction reader since age 6, Holmberg has been active in Swedish and international sf fandom for many years. He has published 212 fanzines; is a past chairman of the Scandinavian Science Fiction Society; has received the international Big Heart Award; and has been selected Guest of Honor by six science fiction conventions, among them the 2011 European SF Convention.

Karin Alfredsson is an award-winning Swedish print and television journalist and thriller writer with extensive experience in international development issues. She has worked for OmVärlden, the magazine of the Swedish Agency for International Development Co-operation, and has also been a news editor and managing editor for several programs on SVT (Swedish Television), as well as a visiting professor of journalism at Ume å University. Her first book was the literary documentary Beauty, Blessing and Hope, for which she was awarded The Swedish Crime Academy's Debutant Award in 2006. Since then she has published three crime fiction novels featuring the Swedish doctor Ellen Elg, each of them set in a different part of the world.

Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril are a married couple who author their crime novels under the pen name Lars Kepler. Their collaborative crime novels, The Hypnotist (2009) and The Paganini Contract (2010), were both bestsellers in Sweden. In their individual work, Alexander is a novelist and playwright with nine highly regarded novels and some twenty plays to his credit; Alexandra is a critic, writing in Sweden's largest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, and has published three meticulously researched novels based on historical characters: astronomer Tycho Brahe, Saint Bridget of Sweden, and the socialist activist August Palm.

Stephen Armstrong is a freelance journalist who writes for the Sunday Times (London), the Guardian, the New Statesman, GQ, and Esquire, and presents an occasional documentary on Radio 4. His first book was The White Island, a history of Ibiza.

Robert Aschberg is one of Sweden's most well-known and respected journalists and TV hosts. He is also the publisher of the magazine Stieg Larsson founded, Expo, and serves on its Board. Aschberg was among the most forceful voices encouraging Stieg Larsson to find a publisher for his then unpublished Millennium Trilogy. Aschberg began his career as a reporter and columnist with Sweden's largest afternoon newspaper, Expressen. Later, he moved to TV3, where he has hosted a number of popular, often controversial shows, including the investigative hidden camera program "Insider," which ran for 13 seasons and twice won the prestigious Aftonbladet TV Award for the best program on social issues. He is one of the founders of the international independent TV production company Strix.

Matthew Winthrop Barzun is the United States Ambassador to Sweden. He was among the early executives of CNET, the technology news site, and is also known for his grassroots fundraising work for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He is a descendent of John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, as well as a descendent of Lucretia Mott, the 19th-century proponent of women's rights. His grandfather is the French-born American cultural historian and former Columbia University professor Jacques Barzun.

Paul Berger is the co-author/contributing editor of eight books, including four previous "Secrets" titles. His recent book, As I Saw It: The Inside Story of the Golden Years of Television, is an "as told to" memoir written with former CBS vice president Michael H. Dann. Paul's articles have appeared in The New York Times, The (London) Times, The Washington Post and, among others. He lives in New York.

Andrew Brown is a journalist and writer who is editor of the Belief section of The Guardian. He has won prizes for religious journalism and written well-received science books (The Darwin Wars and In the Beginning was the Worm). He lived in Sweden from 1977 to 1984 and his book on that time, Fishing in Utopia, won the 2009 Orwell Prize for political writing.

Annika Brynj is a Swedish writer and freelance journalist interested in politics, film, photography, and theater, among other things. Her mother was a Swedish executive/journalist/writer, her father a Norwegian active in the resistance against German occupation during WW II who later became an American citizen. She has published three widely different crime novels in the same series: The Sixth Night, about neo-Nazism in Sweden, Crime Scene Rosenbad, with political undertones, and Murders in Buttle, a story about crimes against women now and 140 years ago. In 2011, she will publish a stand-alone thriller (working title Room 129), set in San Francisco. Bryn met Stieg Larsson in 2002, when she asked him to check the facts in The Sixth Night. Their discussions helped inspire him to start writing the mystery he already had in his head, the book that would eventually become The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Craig Faustus Buck is a print journalist, nonfiction book author, writer-producer of dramatic television shows, movies and miniseries, and a feature film writer. He has written extensively on the issues that inform his first novel, Go Down Hard. His first assignment, for The Staten Island Advance, became a three-part investigative series about child abuse that resulted in a restructuring of New York City's child services. His short film Overnight Sensation, nominated for an Oscar in 1984, was about emotional abuse in marriage. His first book, Betrayal of Innocence: Incest and its Devastation (co-authored with Dr. Susan Forward), was among the first lay books to explore the subject of incest. His second book, Toxic Parents, a #1 New York Times bestseller, explored how adults can overcome self-destructive behavior driven by childhood trauma.

Paul De Angelis served more than three decades in the book publishing business as Editor, Editorial Director, or Editor-in-Chief of such publishing companies as St. Martin's Press and E.P. Dutton and Kodansha America. After becoming an independent editor in 1996 he founded Paul De Angelis Book Development, which assists authors, agents, publishers and organizations in turning ideas & manuscripts into books. Since 1997 Paul has edited, contributed to, and co-published the quarterly guide to the Rhinebeck-Red Hook-Hudson area of the mid-Hudson Valley, AboutTown. In the past few years his main writing and research interest has been American culture and politics in its intersection with the wider world.

Mikael Ekman is the co-author of two books about the Sweden Democrats, a Swedish extreme right-wing party, including one with Stieg Larsson in 2001: Sverigedemokraterna: den nationella rörelsen (Sweden Democrats: The National Movement). For the last 15 years he has worked for the Expo Foundation on a voluntary basis, researching right-wing extremism. He has also produced talk shows, the Swedish version of "Most Wanted," and was executive producer for Survivor in Denmark, Norway, and Holland.

Jordan Foster is a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. He is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly, the industry trade publication.

MeraLee Goldman is the former Mayor of Beverly Hills, California and that city's Cultural Ambassador.

Christopher Hitchens is an internationally recognized critic, journalist, author, and speaker. An outspoken atheist and controversial pundit, Hitchens has written for The Nation, Slate, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Hitchens' television appearances run the gamut from Hardball with Chris Matthews to Real Time with Bill Maher to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His books include Hitch-22: A Memoir and God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, both New York Times bestsellers.

Laura Gordon Kutnick received her BA magna cum laude in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College before pursuing film studies in France and earning a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After working on several award-winning documentaries, she transitioned to raising a family and directing the Kutnick Foundation, which supports social justice and seeks a cure for Lyme disease.

Mian Lodalen is a feminist; gay rights activist; and prolific columnist, essayist, and author. Her first novel, Smulklubbens skamlösa systrar (The Shameless Sisters of the Crumbs Club, 2003), told the story of a journalist trying to find true love in Stockholm. Her latest, Tiger, portrays the sexual awakening of a teenage girl in a strongly religious community.

Anna-Lena Lodenius collaborated with Stieg Larsson on a path-breaking book about the extreme right, bringing her own research and experience to complement his. The result was the co-authored Extremhögern, published in 1991.

Carl Loof is a native of Sweden, but grew up in London and South Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and writes on a broad range of topics, splitting his time between Washington and Paris in hopes of encouraging transatlantic conversations on contemporary social and political issues.

Ian MacDougall has written for n+1 and The Guardian, among other publications. Until recently, he lived in Norway, where he was a reporter in the Oslo bureau of The Associated Press.

Jenny McPhee is the American author of the novels A Man of No Moon, No Ordinary Matter, and The Center of Things, a New York Times Notable Book, as well as the coauthor with her sisters Martha and Laura of Girls: Ordinary Girls and Their Extraordinary Pursuits. Her short stories and articles have appeared in Bookslut. Bookforum, Brooklyn Review, Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere.

Laura Miller is a senior writer at, which she co-founded in 1995. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the Last Word column for two years. Her work has also appeared in The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She is the author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia (2008) and the editor of The Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors (2000).

Julie O'Connor is the photo editor of this book and contributed significantly to the research and interviewing process. She also compiled the Stieg Larsson time line that appears in Part IV. She is an award-winning fine art photographer and photojournalist known for her "Doors of Tibet" series and is author of the book Doors of Weston: 300 Years of Passageways in a Connecticut Town. Her work can be seen at

Daniel Poohl is the editor-in-chief and CEO of Expo, the anti-right wing magazine co-founded by Stieg Larsson. Poohl is also head of the Expo Foundation, formed to study anti-democratic, extreme right-wing trends in society and share that knowledge through lectures, seminars, and publications. In addition to subscriptions, lectures, and advertisements, Expo has received funding from the Swedish government, private donors, and, most recently, a grant from Erland and Joachim Larsson, Stieg's father and brother.

Brooks Riley is a former Senior Editor of Film Comment magazine and a critic for WNYC-TV. She has written for The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Boston Phoenix, Opera News and The Washington Post. She also worked for Jean-Luc Goddard and as producer at Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios. She was an executive producer on a number of films, including "Mee-shee the Water Giant," "Puckoon," and "Fuhrer Ex." Recently, she has directed and edited nine opera productions for television and DVD, including Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung" for the Deutsches Nationaltheater in Weimar.

Paolo Roberto, a real life former champion boxer who figures prominently in The Girl Who Played with Fire and elsewhere in the Larsson oeuvre, was a dangerous gang leader in his youth. He was saved from a life of crime by developing an interest first in martial arts and then in boxing. Roberto was Swedish national kickboxing champion, Nordic Tae Kwan Do champion, and held several world welterweight boxing titles. These days, he promotes boxing and martial arts events and hosts a Swedish version of "Survivor." He also imports olive oil from Italy and has written five books about food and cooking.

Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom are the authors of five international bestselling crime thrillers, including the current US bestseller Three Seconds. Several of their books are being made into movies. Roslund worked for years as a television news reporter and news director specializing in criminal and social issues. His investigative reporting into right-wing organizations in the 1990s led to multiple death threats. Hellstrom is a singer, guitar player, and the founder of a noted rehabilitation and crime prevention organization called KRIS (Criminals Return Into Society). A reformed criminal himself, he devotes much of his non-writing time to counseling young lawbreakers and drug addicts.

Lizzie Skurnick is a teen lit columnist for and the author of ten teen books in the Sweet Valley High, Love Stories, and Alias series. Her literary blog, Old Hag (, is a Forbes Best of the Web pick. Skurnick is on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and has written on books and culture extensively for the New York Times Book Review, Times Sunday Styles, the Los Angeles Times,, The Washington Post and many other publications.

Melissa Silverstein is a writer, blogger, and marketing consultant focused on women in social media. She is founder and editor of "Women & Hollywood," the respected Web site for issues related to women and film as well as other areas of pop culture ( She is the producer and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College in New York, a celebration of women and leadership.

Veronica von Schenck was a computer gamer who became editor of computer magazines and editor-in-chief of the event magazine Allt om Stockholm. She published her first crime novel, Änglalik (a pun that means both Like an Angel and Corpse of an Angel) in 2008. Her second novel, Kretsen (The Circle), followed in 2009, and she is currently finishing her third. Her novels feature Althea Molin, a woman of mixed Swedish-Korean parentage raised in the US but living in Stockholm, with profiler experience from the New York Police Department.

Katarina Wennstam, an award-winning crime journalist and non-fiction writer on violence against women, is also a bestselling author of crime fiction. Her Swedish language books The Girl and Guilt: A Book on How Society Views Rape and A Real Rapist won numerous awards. In 2007, Wennstam published her first of three thematically related novels on men's violence against women: Smuts (Dirt). Her most recent book is Alfahannen (The Alpha Male, 2010).