The triad of Big Brother, industrial espionage, and organized crime suddenly find themselves in the crosshairs of a very intelligent young woman who has the means to make their lives difficult. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the fourth book in the Millennium series but the first written by David Lagercrantz in replacing the late Stieg Larrson as Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist find themselves racing to save the life of an 8-year old boy savant from a dark triad of corruption wanting him dead.
Uber-intelligent computer scientist Frans Balder leaves his Silicon Valley job, returning to Sweden to take custody of his autistic son August. He later learns from several sources his life is in danger but ignores the warnings until his paranoia makes him call Mikael Blomkvist. But as Blomkvist, who is intrigued with Balder since he hired Lisabeth Salander to find who stole his research, arrives just as Balder is murdered in front of his son who can draw picture to appear lifelike while also a mathematic genius. The group that killed Balder is already being tracked by Salander, who had hacked the NSA to get information on them and their “allies”, and after learning of Balder’s death starts following the case when she learns there is a leak in the murder investigation and that August is targeted because of his skill. Shot in the act of saving August, Salander takes the boy with her to keep him safe thanks to the efforts of Blomkvist and others including one of his young colleagues. But then the group comes after Salander they target Blomkvist first and he comes face-to-face with Camilla Salander which wards him from the trap, but his younger colleague isn’t so lucky and after lengthy torture divulges Lisabeth’s location. Camilla and her gang attack, but Lisabeth takes out three of them—though not her sister—allowing August and she to escape. An NSA employee comes to Sweden and uses Blomkvist to out his corrupt coworkers and leadership, but Lisabeth gives Blomkvist the information she got from the NSA to add to the “whistleblower” interview.
Though it’s been several years since I read the original trilogy, I did notice a difference in this book with my memory. Both Lisabeth and Blomkvist are similar but more brooding than what I remember which made a difference as the book went along. Lagercrantz’s writing style compared to what I remember of Larrson’s was noticeable, while not bad it changed the feeling of the “world” Larrson created and how the narrative was structured. There was similarities and stark differences that this both a familiar and weird at the same time. Overall, the fact that I’m still interested in reading the fifth book should give an indication that it’s a fine continuation of the series.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a good continuation of Stieg Larrson’s Millennium series with David Lagercrantz taking the reins in writing. While there are noticeable differences to go along with some similarities, the latter was enough to keep me interested in reading the next book and to see how it goes.