Friday, June 25, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson, trans. Reg Keeland (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).

If you've been following this series, you know that this, sadly, is the last book in the trilogy that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This one picks up where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off: Lisbeth Salander (the eponymous Girl) is fighting for her life in a hospital after sustaining serious injuries from her deranged father (a sociopathic former Soviet agent named Zalachenko aka Karl Axel Bodin) and his maniacal henchman Ronald Niedermann. Meanwhile, intrepid journalist Mikael Blomkvist is left to deal with incompetent police who not only allow Niedermann to escape--and ultimately disappear--but persist in believing that Lisbeth Salander is responsible for the deaths of the two journalists who were killed in the previous novel. If Lisbeth survives her brain injury, she'll have to stand trial. Mikael keeps working at the difficult knots in the case, which seems to involve a top-secret section of the Swedish intelligence agency and possibly upper levels of the government as well. Deceit, deception, conspiracy--all going back to the year when Zalachenko defected to Sweden--swirl in a dangerous, turbulent game of espionage, murder, and more.

This will undoubtedly go down as the final book in the must-read series for 21st-century crime fiction. It's an absolute page-turner, deftly plotted, elaborately detailed, and stunningly told. If only Larsson had lived to write a few more....

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