In America, readers have been "much more generous" to the family, said Forshaw. "But in Sweden, they are demonized. Eva Gabrielsson has presented herself as a victim like Lisbeth Salander. Both sides haven't handled it well."
Gabrielsson no longer talks to journalists and is reportedly writing her own memoir of life with Larsson. "She's not giving away any secrets," he said.
No one knows if more biographies are likely on the way. "When Elvis died everyone, including the hairdresser had a book," said Forshaw. "But he was quite private."
One of the controversial claims is whether Larsson was a good enough writer to pen the books and whether he was perhaps ghosted, in part, by Gabrielsson.
"He was unpolished as a journalist and Eva's writing was more elegant," said Forshaw. "But he was a born mystery writer."
Some feminists have been critical of Larsson's lurid depictions of sexual violence against women. But the women in Larsson's books are not the manipulated victims he championed in real life. Like Salander, they are fighters and resist exploitation.
"Being witness to the [gang rape] was significant and it even made him unhappy about his own sex," he said. "He said it makes you rather ashamed of being a man who becomes a scumbag."
"He lets you have your cake and eat it, too," said Forshaw. "He lets you enjoy or be titilated by sexual violence, but there is a price to be paid."
Still Larsson gives readers several good men in his books: Blomkvist for one, corporate tycoon Henrik Vanger who bucked his evil family to solve his great niece's murder, and even Salander's lustful, but gentlemanly boss at Milton Security, Dragon Armansky.
"Armansky tries to screw Lisbeth, but she says, 'I am not interested,' and then he is fine," said Forshaw. "Men just need to behave well. He's a lot like Charles Dickens -- not just bad behavior and evil, but people behaving well."
Forshaw said Larsson's global celebrity might not have come had he died an investigative reporter, even though he consulted with Scotland Yard and spent a lifetime devoted to human rights.
But his early death and colorful lifestyle have peaked interest in the novelist.
"He was this kind of work-a-holic figure who didn't look after himself and was heavy smoker and lived on junk food like a Fleet Street journalist," he said. "It was a different era."
Larsson's friend Baksi wants his own new book to reveal what drove the real man's passion and creativity.
"Every reader in the U.S. should know that Stieg Larsson was a guy fighting for women and for immigrants and for justice," said Baksi.
Larsson died Nov. 9, 2004 -- the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi murder of 91 Jews and the ensuing arrest of tens of thousands who were sent to concentration camps.
The writer was smartly dressed waiting to go to one of Baksi's annual seminars on the topic, but his "little brother" got the call that Larsson was dead.
Despite rumors that Larsson had been murdered, Baksi said emphatically, "Absolutely not. He died because of his smoking and eating. No one killed him, I am very sure."
Baksi was first to view Larsson's body in the hospital.
"When I saw him, he had a big smile and was in his best clothes and tie," said his friend. "I had never seen him as beautiful as when he was dead. He looked so young."