The Girl in the Spider's Web

Knopf. Sept. 2015. 416p. tr. from Swedish by George Goulding. ISBN 9780385354288. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354295. F
OrangeReviewStarIn 2013, journalist/biographer Lagercrantz (I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović) took on the unenviable task of continuing the story of the abrasive yet beloved Lisbeth Salander, created by the late Stieg Larsson. Shrouded in secret and controversy, this title had been anticipated and feared by fans of the original "Millennium" trilogy, but they need not be alarmed. Lagercrantz was meticulous in his attention to the characters and details laid out in Larsson's books (e.g., The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and his dedication shows throughout this thrill ride of a fourth installment. Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist have gone their separate ways only to find themselves drawn back together by Frans Balder, an artificial intelligence developer who finds himself in over his head. Central to the complexly woven plot involving the National Security Agency (NSA), Swedish police, and the return of several familiar figures from the past is Balder's young autistic son, August, who shines an interesting light on Salander as a character, as well as her passion for justice.
VERDICT Full of all the hacking, attitude, and reckless action (including one exceptionally epic car chase) one expects from a Salander thriller, Lagercrantz's novel leaves the door open for further installments. Fans who have missed Larsson's iconic protagonists will delight in getting reacquainted. This whirlwind of nonstop action and intrigue is compulsively readable to the electrifying end. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/15.]
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