Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Millennium, #5)The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“First you find out the truth. then you take revenge.”

There are just times when the laws of the land get things wrong. Our uber hip, ominously dangerous heroine, Miss Lisbeth Salander, is in Flodberga prison for two months because, in the course of saving an autistic child from his abuser, she got…too aggressive.

She did. I was there. I saw it with my reader’s eye. She beat the shit out of that low life, steaming pile of excrement.

Knowing LIsbeth as I do, this is my fifth book experience with her, I know she sat in that courtroom in brooding silence and offered no defense. Her code is that she shouldn’t have to defend herself in the face of such hypocrisy. She barely recognizes the court’s right to incarcerate her, but she did just order a bunch of books, a bit of light reading, on Quantum Field Theory, and maybe a few months in a quiet cell will allow her to finally work out the final wiggles in her quantum mechanical calculations.

I knew a writer, Pico Iyer, who would routinely check himself into the monastery at Big Sur to finish books. It would be similar to being in a prison, but the enclosed atmosphere always restarted his creative juices. If I were incarcerated, for say redistributing wealth, I would insist (plea) on being sent to the prison with the best library system. I would ask for solitary confinement, take my meals in my cell, and expect new books to be distributed to me every few days. If need be, I’d open a vein and sketch out my book reviews in blood with a rat’s tooth on toilet paper and have them snuck out of the prison, hopefully by the man who delivers my books because I’ve threatened to eviscerate him in every story I write for the rest of my life if he doesn’t help me.

I would get a lot of reading done.

Not that I’ve given this any thought.

Of course, the problem is Salander is not given the peace and quiet she craves. The beautiful, petite Faria Kazi, incarcerated for killing her brother after he killed her boyfriend in an Islamic fueled blood feud, is the favorite target of a woman who calls herself Benito. ”She was originally called Beatrice, and later took the name of a certain Italian fascist. These days she had a swastika tattooed on her throat, a crew cut and an unhealthy, pallid complexion.”

Obviously, her parents did not pay enough attention to her as a child.

Salander has zero tolerance for abuse. She sustained enough of it while she was growing up. She has made herself into a deadly weapon, and as tough as Benito is, I’m putting my money on Lisbeth every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Now what is interesting, in the fight scene it shows the difference between the two authors. Stieg Larsson would have given us detailed descriptions of the fight scene, where with David Lagercrantz, the fight begins and then a shutter comes down on the action and then shutter lifts to show someone on the ground gasping for breath. Maybe Lisbeth just moves too fast for Lagercrantz. Not a big complaint, but just a noticeable difference in styles of writing.

Mikael Blomkivst, Mr. Expose from the magazine Millenneum, who has helped Salander as best he can since the beginning of this series, is back once again. He goes to see Salander once a week, which is rarely satisfying because Lisbeth isn’t much for chit chat. She does give him a lead that she wants him to follow up on regarding the Registry, which has been an organization she has been trying to bring down ever since she found out her and her twin sister were forced into that program. This organization like to study identical twins growing up in vastly different environments.

They were demented people on an insidious mission, hidden beneath the guise of scientific research.

Lisbeth does remember one person specifically attached to the program.

”’There was a woman who used to stop by to see you, wasn’t there? It’s coming back to me now. She had some kind of birthmark.’

‘It looked like a burn on her throat.’

‘As if a dragon had breathed fire on her.’”

Lagercrantz also reveals more about the origin of Lisbeth Salander’s sexy dragon tattoo. There is some great backstory on our post-truth society and using ”lies as weapons,” as well. I’ve been increasingly concerned about the lack of interest in truth if it doesn’t jive with people’s own beliefs, so those passages resonate with me. Furthermore, Blomkvist is investigating the effects of a recent hacking of the stock market that caused panic.

”’Doubt on a small scale is what makes the stock market possible,’ Mannheimer replied. ‘Every day, millions of people out there doubt and hope and analyze. That’s what sets share prices. What I’m talking about is deep, existential doubt---lack of faith in growth and future returns. Nothing is more dangerous for a highly valued market. That level of fear can cause a crash and plunge the world into a depression. We could even start to question the whole idea, the imaginary construct. This will sound like a provocation to some of you, and I apologize for that. But the financial market is not something that exists like you or I, Karin, or this bottle of water on the table. The moment we stop believing in it, it ceases to exist.’”

I love it when a writer expresses something I believe... in such a simple well defined way. I do, I confess, have some of my portfolio in the stock market, but it is a relatively small amount of my retirement. I’ve plunged most of my money into things more tangible like real estate. I can see it. I don’t have to imagine it. I feel the stock market is all just a rigged game for rich people to become richer, while the middle class dreamers who invest in the market thinking they will be rich, often see their life savings evaporate into thin air, like it never existed.

Blomkvist and Salander join forces once again to try and bring down the forces of the Registry. Sometimes it feels like one step forward and two steps back, but they continue to circle closer to the black heart that guides the rest. David Lagercrantz is not Stieg Larsson. (I’m so glad he isn’t trying to wear a dead man's clothes.) Some may miss Larsson’s unique writing style. Lagercrantz may be different, but he is keeping Larsson’s characters alive and writing thrilling stories that I continue to enjoy.

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