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The Girl Who Lived Twice: A Lisbeth Salander Novel

Review

The Girl Who Lived Twice: A Lisbeth Salander Novel

The extension of the Lisbeth Salander/Millennium series continues apace. THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE, the newly published sixth installment (and the third written by David Lagercrantz following the sudden death of original author Stieg Larsson), is perhaps the most straightforwardly plotted entry and thus the easiest to follow (thanks to an ace translation by George Goulding). The result is an addicting read that will be more than satisfying to fans of the series and those encountering it for the first time.

There are two plots that drive THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE. One involves the death of a decrepit beggar, which would go practically unnoticed but for the fact that the man had accosted a journalist who had become something of a nemesis to Mikael Blomkvist, editor of the muckraking journal Millennium. As the book opens, Blomkvist is somewhat off his feed, given that Lisbeth Salander has basically disappeared from his life, for reasons that involve the second plot. Lisbeth has decided to get her retaliation in first and is busily hunting down her sister, Camilla, who in the book’s present calls herself Kira. Lisbeth’s confrontation with her sets off a bit of a chain reaction, to say the least, creating a cat-and-mouse game in which Blomkvist is used as the cheese.

"...an addicting read that will be more than satisfying to fans of the series and those encountering it for the first time."

It is an effective gambit, but Blomkvist is initially blissfully unaware of it as he and the staff of Millennium are drawn into investigating how the poor man happened to find himself down and out under a statue, drinking himself to death. When a thorough autopsy reveals that he was in fact murdered, the investigation rises to a new level as Blomkvist, his staff and an unlikely ally utilize cutting-edge science and old-fashioned detective work to uncover the deceased’s surprising identity.

One clue leads to another, and it quickly appears that the murder may have been motivated by political and criminal secrets that go back in time and cross the borders of Sweden into Russia and beyond. There is a neat bit of symmetry here as Blomkvist briefly drags Lisbeth into the investigation to utilize one aspect of her multiple, extremely special talents, and then finds himself placed in great peril in order to force her into a deadly trap. The question, of course, is ultimately who the trap is deadly for, but readers may be somewhat surprised by the answer.

The ending comes off as slightly rushed. One of the more interesting characters --- someone in Kira’s orbit --- almost seems to disappear in the chaotic conclusion, though that may be a good thing. Perhaps this individual will be brought back in a future volume. The pacing leading up to it, though, is first-rate, with Lagercrantz shifting perception, time and setting rapidly (but without confusion) at just the right places to keep the pages turning almost of their own volition. Part of the story --- that which is set in the past --- also occurs in a very famous, dangerous and rarely traveled place. Lagercrantz’s descriptions and obvious extensive research make those particular passages worth the price of admission all by themselves.

THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE is the perfect one-sit read (well, maybe two) with which to enjoy and appreciate the final days of summer.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on September 6, 2019

The Girl Who Lived Twice: A Lisbeth Salander Novel
by David Lagercrantz

  • Publication Date: August 27, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN-10: 0451494342
  • ISBN-13: 9780451494344