The fourth in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series, written by a different person, but as good if not better than the previous three. This is just great thriller writing.
It’s another complexly plotted story of espionage and secrecy that highlights the corrupt networks that span government, business and criminal enterprises.
The story kicks off with the murder of Frans Balder, an AI specialist who is apparently killed for what he knew about corruption at the heart of the machine. His son, August, witnesses it, but is a highly autistic savant who can’t speak but, it gradually transpires, can draw with a photographic memory as well as do ludicrously complex equations.
Cue Salander and Blomkvist to the rescue. Salander heroically saving and protecting the boy, coaxing him out of his silence. Blomkvist gradually unravelling the complex mix of Swedish and US intelligence agencies, tech firms and Russian gangsters to discover the truth.
We also get plenty more Salander back story, in particular her beautiful but dangerous sister Camilla who is heavily involved in the attacks on Balder, Salander and Zander, a young journalist at Millenium.
Despite being written by Lagercratz rather than Larsson it’s entirely in keeping with the original style – descriptive, matter of fact, with unbelievable but compelling characters. In fact, the style is sharper than the original, with the whole book written in short bursts of pages on each of the many, many characters in the novel, all of them gradually moving to the dramatic conclusion.