Monday, January 4, 2016

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Men Who Hate Women

It's been over five years since I first met Lisbeth Salander. After reading the first three books by Stieg Larsson, dubbed the Millennium trilogy, I was seriously hooked. But Larsson had died at age 50, leaving drafts of more books. Also leaving no will, no spouse to automatically inherit his work. His partner of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, continues to fight for "intellectual capital" involved around the books, including the characters, plotlines and political messages in the books.

So a new writer was hired to write the fourth book, The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz. The Major characters are still Stieg's, but the plot, language and new characters are all Lagercrantz.

The big question is did I like the book. It was slow starting. I had the book from the public library for two weeks and had read only 20%. So I was back on the wait-list for three months. This time I got the Kindle version. (I can read a lot faster when I can make the fonts larger.) But I had to scan through the first 20% to remember where I was.

This story goes back and forth between Sweden and the US. and centers around Frans Balder, whose life's work was the development of Artificial Intelligence, and his autistic son August. And then there is Lisbeth Salander, the consummate hacker-girl, and kick-butt opponent.

We can't have Salander without Mikael Blomkvist, who at the beginning of this book fears he is a has-been, and is fighting to stay relevant with the Millennium team.

Balder has divorced his wife Hanna and moved to Silicon Valley where he worked on his AI application. After a few years he decides he needs to be a father to his son, besides hearing rumors that Hanna's boyfriend is just there to spend the child-support money and is probably abusing August as well as Hanna. So he quits his job in the US, moves back to Sweden and takes his son to live with him in Sweden, with no argument from Hanna or the boyfriend.

Balder begins to form a bond with his son, but he becomes paranoid about people trying to steal his AI program. He hires a security firm to protect him, and then it becomes a real page-turner, with Salander at the ready to kick butt.

I had gotten used to the abundance of Swedish names of people and places that were often very similar. Nieminen and Niedermann, and everybody is somebody's son or strom. And streets/roads ending with gatan, making for many seven syllable words. Hey, I studied German including a year at the University of Munich. I'm used to long words.

And the title "Men who Hate Women" was the Swedish title for the Millennium Series.

I didn't love this book. Most of the old characters were still there. Lagercrantz made a point of listing the main characters at the beginning of the book, along with a little blurb about each one.

I give it three stars.

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