Friday, August 10, 2018

The Girl In The Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Something suspicious is going on in the technology world.  One of the foremost authorities, Frans Balder, feels that he is in danger.  He has been working on creating an artificial intelligence that will overshadow human intelligence and his work is of interest both to the private sector and various governmental agencies.  Rumors are that he has made a breakthrough but he has suddenly left his job in the United States and returned to Sweden.  There he takes his son back from his ex-wife and decides to devote himself to being a good father.

But that's not an easy task.  The son is autistic and doesn't talk.  He spends his days working complex jigsaw puzzles and occasionally having meltdowns.  No one seems to understand him but Balder feels that there is hidden intelligence straining to come out.  He starts to make progress but then his past catches up.  Hours after being warned by the Swedish intelligence agency that he is a target, he is murdered in front of his son.   Before he dies, he contacts journalist Mikael Blomkvist and asks to see him on an urgent matter.  Blomkvist arrives to a murder scene.  The boy, August, was a witness but anything he saw is locked inside his shell. 

The killers don't believe August isn't a threat, however, and decide to come back and finish the task of removing all threats.  Blomkvist and the police inspector contact the mysterious hacker, Lisbeth Salander, to help them understand Balder's work and to safeguard August.  Can they keep him safe until the killers are brought to justice?

Lagercrantz is continuing the series of Salander novels that made an instant success of their author, Stieg Larsson.  Larsson had three highly successful novels that made Salander one of the most recognizable figures in the thriller world.  This fourth novel carries the storyline onward.  Readers will miss some of Larsson's writing style and ability to make a story electric but will be glad to read another of Salander's adventures.  The novel considers the concept of artificial intelligence and what life would be like if humans were not the smartest organisms around as well as the moral quandaries of a world with constant governmental surveillance.  This book is recommended for thriller readers.

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