The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye

The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye   by David Lagercrantz

This is number 5 in the Stieg Larsson series that revolves around the life of the anti-heroine, Lizbeth Salander.

Lizbeth has found herself in prison and becomes embroiled in defending a young woman who was the victim of an honour killing, losing her lover. The fragile victim, Faria, is being subjected to horrific assaults by a psycho inmate known as Benito (she named herself after Mussolini). Salander is not one to sit idly by when someone needs helps and so intervenes, bringing all manner of smelly brown stuff pouring down on top of her pierced head.

Meanwhile, Salander’s mentor, Holgen Palmgren has paid her a visit from his sickbed and, in doing so, has helped Lizbeth to remember more from her disturbed childhood. In steps Mikael Blomkvist, the renowned journalist from Millennium magazine, who carries guilt over Lizbeth’s imprisonment. Mikael offers to assist our intrepid social activist as she investigates a shady government group known as The Registry. It is here that Lizbeth believes she will find the answers to her early life.

As we would expect from this series, everything does not go to plan for the kung fu kicking Salander. The Registry emerges as a powerful and extremely dangerous group who have much to hide and the resolve to do it. Salander has kicked yet another hornet’s nest. Cue fights and flights and wrecks and sex. Typical Salander fare and not at all bad.

The plot here does twist and turn in leaps and bounds. It is not predictable and does hold the attention. The characters are consistent and strong. Salander is as she always was, with one exception, she appears to have becomes a little Jack Reacher in her MO. By this I mean that she engages in fights that no sensible person should take part in. In the same way that Reacher became a victim of his own success and began to be over-exaggerated, so too is Salander being cast in such an improbable role.

The are some scenes that are, quite frankly, completely implausible. It’s unfortunate that Lagercrantz has opted to throw caution to the wind in this book. I don’t feel that it was necessary, as Salander is a flexible and engaging character in any event. He could have done better with this.

As usual, we have the ubiquitous hackers. I have still been trying to find one of these highly skilled boyos, as I have a major bank heist planned the very minute I meet someone who is capable of hacking into such systems. In fact, I would facilitate the hacking of every financial institution that I can get into, and would then piss off to live the grand life in a warmer climate than Ireland which, at the minute, is wet, dreary with a growing chill. I would invite you all along but there’s only so much Pina Colada to go around, so you can all read about it. Still, hackers… dime a dozen in fiction but light on the ground in reality…

This is a decent read (the book that is, not the blog (the blog’s magnificent), and I’m the most modest man in all of Ireland) and does at least do some justice to Larsson’s original trilogy. It’s deteriorating though, bit by bit, piece by piece. At this rate the 7th book will resemble something that James Patterson would write (I just bet Stephen King would love that last statement). I feel that Lizbeth Salander is running out of steam. It may be a kindness to soon kill off the series, but not the heroine. Leave Lizbeth in peace, not pieces.

All-in-all, The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye is compelling. Salander is someone who will be remembered for many years to come. Stieg Larsson has gifted the world with a great heroine. His absence is a tragedy as he knew his character like no other. It shows.

Sult scale rating: 7.5 out of 10. You could do worse.