I just realized that, having reviewed the other two books in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, I never reviewed The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. This final novel will be difficult to discuss without giving away what happened in the previous books.
As Lisbeth Salander recovers in the hospital from her injuries, journalist Mikael Blomkvist investigates Alexander Zalachenko, the Soviet defector she shot in self-defense at the end of the last novel. He begins to think there has been a massive cover-up on the part of Säpo, Sweden’s security police, to hide Zalachenko’s crimes while he was viewed of value to them. Among those crimes were the horrendous beatings he gave Lisbeth’s mother, for he is her father.
Some former members of Säpo are currently colluding with Dr. Peter Teleborian, the psychiatrist who supervised Salander’s institutionalization when she was a girl, to either have Salander re-institutionalized or to murder her, so that their activities do not become known. Salander is able to assist in her own way with preparations for her trial when a sympathetic doctor smuggles her laptop computer and a phone into the hospital for her.
The freakish Niedermann is still loose, having murdered a police officer and carjacked a woman during his escape.
All these subplots are wrapped up through an exciting trial and a subsequent pursuit of Niedermann.
I believe this series is so successful because of a strong message about violence toward women, interesting and believable characters, complex but careful plotting, thrilling action, and a strong, compelling, and unusual heroine. If you have not read the series already, I strongly recommend it. Start with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.