The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz

With the untimely death of Stieg Larsson, many readers were mourning not only him, but the end of the Millennium book series, with those intriguing characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Into the breach steps David Lagercrantz (no, I had never heard of him before, either) to craft a fourth book in the series. How does the new author fare?

The story begins with Salander and Blomkvist each doing their own thing, disconnected from one another. Salander is involved in some high level hacking, and Blomkvist is trying to maintain his journalistic standards in the face of directives from the new owners of Millennium. Then, a somewhat troubled scientist contacts Blomkvist, and sets off a chain of roller coaster events that bring Salander and Blomkvist into the same deadly arena.

There’s a mix of mafia, moles, and maladministration, topped with corruption and killings. All very familiar, and occasionally all too well telegraphed. However, despite some strained passages, Lagercrantz holds the reader’s attention, and gives a fair account of himself. The plot is passable, and the character development of the two main protagonists and their back story is more than that. A key element here is the scientist’s autistic child. In those parts of the story, I felt that Lagercrantz was on surer ground, as if he were writing from personal experience, as the narrative appeared to be steadier, smoother, and more rounded than other parts of the book.

While the new book doesn’t quite come up to the standards of the original three, it’s not a bad read, and in places I quite enjoyed it. Because I like the core characters, I hope that Lagercrantz gets another shot at a follow on.