Newsletter: Review: THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB by David Lagercrantz

Monday Oct 05 2015
by Jack

As all fans of crime fiction know, Steig Larsson left a mess behind him when he died. It was a lawyer’s dream. Larsson had never married his partner of many years, and left no will. Ironically enough, the man whose fiction was so supportive of women’s rights failed to support his partner, and an unseemly squabble ensued over his legacy. Swedish law apparently made no provision for common-law relationships, and Larsson’s family were his legal heirs. They have authorized this book, which apparently is in no way based on any unpublished Larsson writings. The author, David Lagercrantz, a respected Swedish writer, has only the ‘Millennium Series’ to work with. In The Girl in the Spider’s Web (HC $34.00), he has chosen to utilize Larsson’s characters to create both a new story and to fill in new details about the life of Lisbeth Salander, whom the dust jacket trumpets as the star of the novel.

Rest assured, dear reader, Steig Larsson is indeed dead, Lisbeth is not quite the leading character, but the book is none the less a compelling read. Lagercrantz picks up on a shadowy figure from the ‘Millennium’ series – Lisbeth’s twin sister – and turns her both into Lisbeth’s exact opposite – she is beautiful, lovable, and thoroughly manipulative -- and her hidden antagonist/nemesis. The most interesting new twist is the introduction of complex math theory to support a plot focused on computers and an eight year-old math genius named August, who is easily the most sympathetic and interesting character in the novel. As for continuing characters, Mikael Blomkvist is about as wooden in this new rendition as in the original, and Salander, at least in the second half of the latest rendition, is more acrobatic and superheroic than before. She is still a world-class super-hacker, however. As for Stockholm, it is eternal.

I came at this book not expecting very much, and from that perspective I was quite pleasantly surprised. It isn’t quite Steig Larsson, but it still manages to hold your attention.

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