Sunday, August 4, 2019

Guilty Pleasure: Lisa Salander and Mikael Blomkvist

On principle I didn't want to tackle this book--I thoroughly enjoyed the three Stieg Larsson's books and felt his common law wife, Eva Gabrielsson deserved a chance to carry on his legacy (which she was already a part of).  When Larsson died at age 50 his triology had not been published, but has since gone on to sell over 80 million copies worldwide.  Unfortunately despite a 32 year relationship there was no will and all rights were claimed by his father and brother.  There must have been some hard feelings in the family, but rather than recognizing her rights (having contributed to the three books and having custody of notes for future books) they ended up hiring another writer.

David Lagercrantz was an established crime reporter, but his main claim to fame was as the ghost writer for soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  There was some sniping about his qualifications and the sequel, "The Girl in the Spider's Web" was written under a great deal of secrecy with concern that hacker's might get a preview.

"The Girl in the Spider's Web" kept showing up on displays at the library and I recalled the enjoyment of reading about Lisa Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.  The books were complex and also covered into motivations of multiple characters.  Mostly I have been reading non fiction, but approaching my retirement I resolved to read more fiction books, but now that I am retired have made little headway

A year or so ago  "The Hypnotist" showed up in a pickup bin at work and got my attention as I had been intrigued by a movie trailer of the book.   The movie got a bad review, but the topic seemed interesting and the book turned out to be a page turner.  Scandinavian mystery writers have been prominent in my fiction reading lists including Henning Markell and Jo Nesbo.

All that is my rationale.  It was like being tempted by ice cream, a weakness of mine. If Eva Gabrielson does come up with either a novel or non fiction account I will be eager to read it.

Like the earlier editions, this book is at first difficult to get into as a lot of snippets start off innocently, but interest picks up as they start to link and/or suggest there will be more links  Conspiracies involve most of the world, but mostly Scandinavian countries, Russia and United States.

There is an interesting discussion on autism.  We tend to focus on the genius side and the quirky side without dealing with the social mismatch.  But the book is more interesting because the autistic character is also a unique savant which plays a key role in the plot. 

Another topic that is central is artificial intelligence.  Extreme research is the key secret that various factions are manoeuvring to uncover or protect.  The author with scant reference to Isaac Asimov's, "I, Robot" contends a great danger is that the machine will inevitably be able to out think humans.

The main characters are extended in a consistent pattern with what we already know.  We do learn more family history of Lisa Salander.  Most lovers of the series will find themselves adjusting fairly easily.

I have relieved myself of a small portion of guilt.  Ideas are fragile and it is slippery to retain ownership over a period of time although there are legal efforts to do so.  Eva Gabrielsson deserved better and I still feel like I have let her down.  I hope she gets something out so I can relieve more of my guilt feelings.

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