Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz was chosen by Stieg Larsson’s estate to extend the Millennium series with a fourth novel “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” which went on to receive terrific reviews and sold millions of copies.
Lagercrantz is back with his second contribution to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series with the latest title “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” which finds Lisbeth Salander serving a two-month sentence in Flodberga, the only maximum security women’s prison in Sweden, for questionable actions she undertook to safeguard a gifted autistic child who had witnessed a murder chronicled in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
In the prison, Salander notes that a fellow inmate — a beautiful Bangladeshi woman named Faria Kazi— is being roughed up by the prison’s resident sadist, a woman who’s dubbed herself Benito. Salander eventually intervenes — of course — and puts Benito temporarily out of business. At the same time, she grows more curious about the religiously sanctified abuse that drove gentle Faria over the edge and landed her in prison for murder.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Holger Palmgren, Salander’s elderly former guardian — one of the few people from her past who treated her with kindness — receives a surprise visit from a stranger who once was a secretary at the children’s psychiatric clinic where Salander spent some of her grimmest years. The woman has read newspaper accounts of Salander’s recent exploits and has decided to turn over some of the clinic’s documents to Palmgren. In them, there’s a reference to something known as “The Registry.” Salander, along with Palmgren and Blomkvist, becomes convinced that this “Registry” holds clues not only to her identity but to a larger crime perpetrated decades ago in Sweden against children of ethnic minorities.
Lisbeth might have been part of a study dealing with twins when she was a patient at St. Stefan’s psychiatric clinic for children. Determined to learn more about this study, Lisbeth asks her friend Mikael Blomkvist, editor of Millennium magazine, for help. After her release, Lisbeth investigates the case of the Bangladeshi prisoner, and Blomkvist delves into Lisbeth’s childhood. Eventually, these twisting plot lines tie together in this complicated, fascinating mystery. As a bonus, readers learn the meaning of the dragon tattoo on Lisbeth’s back.
Lagercrantz did a great job in The Girl in the Spider’s Web but I feel that The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, though a great read, doesn’t live up to the other Millennium books and Salander seemed to be missing her former glory and I find certain parts of the story a little far-fetched. The book has sold over a million copies in its first month….not bad!