I think you would like David Lagercrantz’s continuation of the late Steig Larsson’s Millenium Series, The Girl In The Spider’s Web. After the radically different and mundane turn the series took with the previous instalment Girl On The Train, this is very much a return to form.
It’s strange, reading a book continuing the work of a dead author. I suspect it may be even stranger to write one. As I enjoyed Eoin Colfer’s Hitchhiker’s Guide sequel And Another Thing, I wasn’t put off, and keenly devoured The Girl In The Spider’s Web. It maintains everything that made the first three books international bestsellers. The characters are intriguing, the plot is thrilling, and the men who hate women (the Swedish title of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) get what’s coming to them.
The quirks of Larson’s writing also remain. The meticulous research shines through in the precise make and model of various laptops and computers used by Lisbeth and co. At first they feel like peculiar attempts at product placement, but you soon realise that they’re the obsessive details that Larsson used to carry out his perfect crime novels. Like its predecessors, Spider’s Web is constantly skidding to the edge of cliff hangers, forcing you to compulsively continue.
I do worry that I have been critically blinded by my love of the characters. Is The Girl In The Spider’s Web like those TV shows that I’m still watching at the tenth series after a great debut, a couple of mediocre series, and an overwhelming amount of stinkers? It does have its flaws. A character whose death should really have had more of an impact, seemed to be drowned out beneath the tidal wave of other storylines. As much as I like the relevance of the tech-based storyline, it felt a shame that the American NSA become players when the series had so far been untainted by Americanisation.
Conversely, there are a lot of great new additions. August, the autistic child at the centre of the story, provides an interesting parallel to, and connection with, Lisbeth, giving both the reader and Lisbeth an insight to her personality. The introduction of Lisbeth’s twin sister Camila was also well paced and far from overdone. The way is effectively paved for the ten novels that Larsson originally hoped the Millenium series to run to, and should Lagercrantz write them, they’ll be in safe hands.
What’s truly difficult about recommending The Girl In The Spider’s Web is knowing who to give credit it to. Is it Lagercrantz? Is it Larson? Or is it George Goulding, the translator? The answer is all of the above. A better answer is: who cares, go read the book now bye.