New Fiction Friday: The Girl in the Spider’s Web

9780385354288_p0_v5_s192x300I was a huge fan of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series). His death seemed all of a sudden, and was so shocking, and as a writer, he was just beginning to blossom.  I had heard that a 4th book had already been written with his partner, Eva Gabrielsson but hadn’t heard anything about the book being published. I was equally kind of shocked when I heard about the release of The Girl In the Spider’s Web.  I remember reading about his girlfriend, with whom he had lived for years, she came forward after his death and said that they had worked together on the original 3 books, and should be able to complete the 4th book, and possibly inherit all that Larsson had left behind.  What resulted was an ugly lawsuit between her and his family – both wanted a share in his estate, which had grown quite a bit due to the popularity of the books.

Spider’s Web picks up where The Girl in the Hornet’s Nest left off. Now, the story was written by David Lagercrantz, who has several books of his own. I’m not sure if this is his take on Lisbeth, or if this is a rework of a manuscript Larsson was working on before his death. Either way, I was excited to read about Lisbeth and Mikhail’s next adventure. They were close in the first book in the series, but since then they’ve had a back and forth, on again off again relationship. Here, she remains close to him by hacking into his computer. They don’t talk, meet, text, or e-mail, but he leaves messages for her somewhere on his computer – knowing that she will find them.

The book begins with a prominent scientist, Frans Balder, who specialized in artificial intelligence, taking his son back from his ex-wife. His son has special needs, is non-verbal autistic, and Balder has almost no experience caring for him. He has an instinct to get him away from his ex-wife, and her abusive boyfriend. It’s not a good time in Balder’s life, he is currently going through a professional scandal, as a former colleague and assistant had been stealing information from him. This begins a discussion on hacking. Enter Lisbeth. She wasn’t involved in the hacking of Balder and his technology, but she probably knows who was. She’s still underground, and through her contacts and network she has heard about the technology he had been working on.

She has also poked around in the NSA’s system, making her now a target of the Americans. But, as fans of the series know, Lisbeth is one of the good guys – she’s not out to steal state secrets, she’s pointing out flaws in their system. They don’t know that though.  This is at the center of the story, as is the threat to Balder and his family. The chase is on – for her, and for Balder’s son, who becomes a target for his potential to identify those who were after his father.

I don’t think I liked this book quite as much as I liked the original 3 – but it was still a great read. When I got to the last 100 pages, it was impossible to put the book down!  The style (and editing) was a bit different, but it was still Lisbeth.   I’m sure with the success of this 4th book, there will be more.  I’ll probably be excited to read those too!

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