Cover image of "The Girl in the Spider's Web," the novel in which Lisbeth Salander returns

Lisbeth Salander returns in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. She is Sweden’s answer to Wonder Woman, Stephen Hawking, Kevin Mitnick, and Mike Tyson all rolled into one five-foot, 98-pound package. She can debate the finer points of quantum mechanics and number theory with the world’s top physicists and mathematicians, hack her way into the most secure computer system on the planet, punch out a gang of the meanest, nastiest bikers you can imagine — and she has an evil twin. In other words, Lisbeth Salander is completely unbelievable. Yet this novel, and the three that preceded it, are crafted with such skill that you’ll probably get so caught up in the sheer complexity and suspense of the story that you won’t even think about how unlikely it all is. I did.

In fact, if you have any affinity at all for mysteries and thrillers, you’re probably already familiar with Lisbeth Salander. Chances are, you’ve read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and possibly its sequels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Much of the global reading public has done so, since the three books have sold a total of 80 million copies as of 2015. And then, of course, there are the four popular American and Swedish film productions based on the novels.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Millennium #4) by David Lagercrantz ★★★★★

After Stieg Larsson‘s death in 2004, the three novels featuring Lisbeth Salander were published posthumously as the Millennium Trilogy. But Larsson also left behind a fourth, nearly completed novel in the same vein, and outlines or sketches for a fifth and sixth in what he had intended to be a ten-book series. Larsson’s long-time partner, Eva Gabrielsson, fell into an increasingly bitter dispute with his father and brother over the disposition of his estate. She took possession of the unfinished manuscripts and has never released them. Working instead with Larsson’s father and brother, who presumably retained the rights to the characters, the author’s Swedish publisher turned in 2013 to another Swedish journalist and mystery writer, David Lagercrantz, to continue the series. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the result. Thus, Lisbeth Salander returns! We can hope — at least, I hope — that more books will follow.

For more great reading

I’ve reviewed the whole series of five books written to date in the Millennium cycle at The magical Lisbeth Salander novels.

And for a guide to the best Scandinavian mysteries and thrillers, check out The best Nordic noir series from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.

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