Review 1400: The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

Here’s another review for Readers Imbibing Peril!

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Like many others, I devoured Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. I didn’t seriously consider reading David Lagercrantz’s continuation to the series until I picked up this novel on impulse. I have skipped one book in the series, but this one didn’t seem difficult to understand even though I hadn’t read the last.

Lisbeth Salander is in prison on charges related to events in the last book. There she has observed an inmate, Faria Kazia, subjected to routine abuse by another inmate, Benito, a gang member, with no intervention by authorities. In fact, although Warden Olsen came in with good intentions, he’s been held in check by Benito’s threats against his daughter.

Faria is in prison for shoving her brother out the window. She has said nothing in her defense, but Lisbeth is inclined to believe the death is related to an honor killing.

Lisbeth is also engaged in research into her own past. She asks the journalist Mikael Blomkvist and her elderly guardian Holger Palmgren to find some information for her. Soon, Palmgren is found dead under suspicious circumstances.

I know that Stieg Larsson wrote outlines of several more Salander novels before his death. What I don’t know is whether Lagercrantz is working from Larsson’s outlines or not. Lagercrantz is no Stieg Larsson, however. I don’t think Larsson was a great writer—he was too inclined to go into extensive detail on political issues—but he was a master of the gripping tale. The bones of one of his complex stories is here, but Lagercrantz fails to construct the fully realized world of Larsson’s novels. Further, he writes choppy subject/verb/object sentences that don’t flow well, and he gives away most of his plot points fairly early on.

So, no more Lisbeth Salander for me, which is a shame.

Related Posts

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Day 303: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Cover for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestI 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.

Day 95: The Girl Who Played with Fire

Cover for The Girl Who Played with FireThe Girl Who Played with Fire is the second in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. As the transitional book between the first and third, it is not quite up to the level of the first book; however, it is still exciting. The first time I read it, I was riveted, but on my reread, I noticed a few occasions where the writing was more journalistic than desirable. Nevertheless, it is still a real thriller and absolutely essential to read if you are going to finish the trilogy.

Lisbeth Salander’s visit to her evil guardian upon her return from her travels abroad creates a conspiracy against her. Her guardian is tired of toeing the line and decides to have her killed.

Mikael Blomqvist is soon investigating a crime, too. He has been working with a freelance journalist, Dag Svensson, to publish a piece on sex trafficking. When he stops by one evening, he finds Svensson and his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, recently shot dead.

As the investigation proceeds, Salander’s guardian is also murdered, and the police discover links to the murders of Svensson and Johansson. Lisbeth Salander finds she is being framed for all the murders, despite her never having met Svensson or Johansson.

Blomqvist is convinced that Salander is innocent. With Salander hiding out and following the leads from her side, Blomqvist tries to figure out who Svensson may have been investigating that resulted in his murder.

Day 32: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Cover for The Girl with the Dragon TattooBest Book of Week 7!

Maybe everyone has read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. But if you are one of the few who have not, you are missing an exciting thriller.

Editor and writer Mikael Blomkvist has just lost a libel case brought by a billionaire industrialist named Wennerström concerning Blomkvist’s allegations of corruption. Blomkvist has been sentenced to three months in prison. He had carefully checked his facts but then one of his witnesses recanted. In order to separate his magazine, Millenium, from this problem, he resigns.

After he gets out of jail, he is approached for a job by Henrik Vanger, the retired head of Vanger Corporation. Vanger wants Blomkvist to find out what happened to his great-niece Harriet, who disappeared off the family’s private island 36 years earlier during a day when the island was cut off from the mainland by an accident blocking the only bridge. He is afraid that some member of his family murdered her. He yearly receives a pressed flower on his niece’s birthday and believes the killer is expressing remorse through this means.

Although Blomkvist is initially reluctant, he eventually accepts the job and goes to live on the island. When he decides he needs a research assistant, Vanger’s lawyer connects him with Lisbeth Salander, a child-sized woman who dresses in a goth style and has a dragon tattoo.

Salander is a computer genius with a difficult past. When she was a teenager, she was institutionalized and is still under the care of a legal guardian, who controls her money and can have her institutionalized at any time. She is hostile and uncommunicative, and few people have bothered to try to get to know her. After her guardian has a stroke, he is replaced by Nils Bjurman, who uses his position to sexually abuse her.

Bjurman has seriously misjudged Salander, however, and she takes care of this problem in one of the most satisfying scenes of the novel.

As Blomkvist and Salander investigate Harriet Vanger’s disappearance, they begin to believe that they may be on the track of a serial killer. Ultimately, Blomkvist finds himself in grave danger.

With a complex, interesting plot, an engaging hero and formidable heroine, a slew of interesting characters, and a sense of Swedish politics and law, you will lap up this book and go looking for the next one. Larsson was an activist with strong feelings about violence against women, a theme in all of his books.