Publishers Weekly
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The propulsive seventh installment in the bestselling Millennium series (following 2019’s The Girl Who Lived Twice) reunites investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist and punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in the small town of Gasskas in northern Sweden. Blomkvist is there to attend his daughter’s wedding to Henry Salo, the town’s head commissioner, while Lisbeth has come to assume temporary custody of her 13-year-old niece, whose mother has mysteriously disappeared with a hard drive containing $400 million in bitcoin. Marcus Branco, the sadistic founder of a secretive energy firm intent on acquiring land in Gasskas, sends his henchmen to disrupt the wedding and kidnap Blomkvist’s grandson as leverage against Salo. The boy ends up in the clutches of a serial killer, forcing Blomkvist and Salander to team up once again, in hopes of saving his life. Smirnoff, following Stieg Larsson and David Lagercrantz as the series’ third author, adds new maturity and depth to the two leads, offers several jaw-dropping plot twists, and draws clever—if occasionally implausible—connections between disparate characters. Fans will find this a worthy addition to the series. Agent: Magdalena Hedlund, Hedlund Literary. (Aug.)

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Lisbeth Salander is back. She’s cold, lethal, and remorseless—and that’s on her good days. “Vigilance comes as naturally to Lisbeth as eating, shitting and sleeping.” So writes Smirnoff, picking up the posthumous Stieg Larsson franchise where David Lagercrantz left off. Normally glued to a computer, Lisbeth is up in the woodsy far north of Sweden. Bad doings, naturally, are afoot, most caused by what’s surely the only thalidomide-baby villain in literary history. Using a wheelchair doesn’t keep our bad guy from dastardly deeds. For one, he’s trying to steal the Arctic out from under its rightful owners so that he can put up wind turbine farms—though, as it happens, he really has a more combustible and internationally interdicted form of energy in mind. When not occupied with Lex Luthor–worthy schemes, our villain has a penchant for kidnapping youngsters, some to kill, some to rape, some to hold hostage. Lisbeth’s on the case for a couple of reasons, not least connecting with a niece, daughter of the brother she snuffed a few books back. (“Did you kill him?” asks the young niece. “In a way,” Lisbeth answers.) Another is to help intrepid Larsson stand-in Mikael Blomkvist, who's at loose ends since his magazine Millennium folded. His sister and brother-in-law implicated by accident and by design in all these malevolent happenings, Blomkvist heads north to dig into the story, one punctuated by neo-Nazis, bikers, drug smugglers, and other such quotidian villains. Things turn ugly fast and stay that way; only the name-checked Greta Thunberg, it seems, has much chance of surviving once the hand grenades start flying. One decidedly bad but more mobile character memorably tosses the corpses of his victims out to be cleaned by sea eagles. One wonders whether the publishers aren’t doing the same thing, gnawing every last ounce of Larsson’s original to the bone. A once-great Scandinavian noir series now produces more yawns than spills and thrills. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The seventh installment in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and the first by Smirnoff (My Brother, 2022) reunites protagonists Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Mikael is in Gasskas, a gritty small town in Sweden’s icy north, to celebrate his daughter’s marriage to the grating, ambitious town manager, Henry Salo. Lisbeth is summoned there when her niece’s mother goes missing, the most recent kidnapping in a slew of local disappearances that sparks Mikael’s journalistic curiosity. Then, gunmen abduct his beloved grandson and he becomes part of the story. United by the disappearances but wary of tempting the attraction that’s wounded them both, Mikael and Lisbeth form a prickly alliance. At the same time, Henry is brokering a deal that threatens to displace Indigenous reindeer herders and allow a predatory criminal organization to seize control of Gasskas. Smirnoff sustains the series’ trademark interwoven plotlines and no-holds-barred war on predators, but puts her unique stamp on it by weaving a stronger thread of optimism into Lisbeth’s sharp edges and focusing on themes of family and complex rural dynamics.