Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Lisbeth Salander, the antisocial but brilliant computer hacker who helped journalist Mikael Blomkvist uncover a serial killer on a remote Swedish island in Larsson's acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, takes center stage in this second volume of his "Millenium" trilogy. Opening 18 months after the events of the first book, the novel finds our heroine lounging by the pool at a Caribbean hotel, reading a math textbook, and watching a woman who may be a victim of domestic abuse, while in Sweden, Blomkvist, bewildered by Salander's abrupt disappearance from his life, is set to publish a magazine exposé on the sex trade. Impatient readers may chafe at this seemingly irrelevant prolog, but like the mathematical puzzles Salander enjoys solving, there is a logic to the clues that Larsson carefully drops--integral to understanding his protagonist as we gradually learn her back story. The main plot takes off with the murders of Salander's legal guardian and the two writers of the article, and her fingerprints are found on the gun used in the killings. VERDICT Although the pace slows when the police investigation takes precedence and Salander briefly disappears from the action, we are well-rewarded in the exciting final section when she finally confronts her dark past. This is complex and compelling storytelling at its best, propelled by one of the most fascinating characters in recent crime fiction. Eager fans will placing library holds for the final volume, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, scheduled for a 2010 U. S. publication. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/09; see also the Q&A with Knopf editor in chief Sonny Mehta and executive director of publicity Paul Bogaards on p. 60.--Ed.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson's second thriller, even though itÅfalls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden's sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival. Powerful prose and intriguing lead characters will carry most readers along. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
*Starred Review* In our review of the late Larsson's first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008), we commented that the charismatic computer hacker Lisbeth Salander stole the show from her costar, journalist Mikail Blomkvist. In the second of Larsson's three novels, Salander and Blomkvist return, but this time the focus is mainly on Salander, and thank God for that! She is one of the most compelling characters to strut the crime-fiction stage in years, and it's a great shame that she will have such a short run. This time the plot begins, as did the previous book, with investigative journalism: Millennium, the magazine Blomkvist publishes, is about to do a story exposing the Swedish sex-trafficking trade when the authors of the story are both murdered, and Salander's fingerprints are found on the gun. Larsson jumps between Blomkvist's attempts to investigate the murder (and, he hopes, prove Salander's innocence) and Salander's own efforts to tie the killings to her past. It is that backstory that drives the novel: a ward of the state after being institutionalized as a teenager, following the day when All the Evil occurred, Salander has fought through a lifetime of abuse, familial and institutional, surviving through iron will and piercing intelligence. Whether those qualities will see her through yet again remains in doubt, even beyond the last page of this suspenseful, remarkably moving novel. Salander is one of those characters who come along only rarely in fiction: a complete original, larger than life yet firmly grounded in realistic detail, utterly independent yet at her core a wounded and frightened child. This is the best Scandinavian novel to be published in the U.S. since Smilla's Sense of Snow.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2009 Booklist