The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson

By Stieg Larsson (Author) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [Hardcover]You put down the third and for many regrettably the last in the Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson with a feeling largely of satisfaction. Satisfaction not just from the relief one gets from a fairly successful conclusion to the crime-infused drama of Lisbeth Salander but from the knowledge that Sweden, hitherto known only for tall blond supermodels, Volvo and cheap furniture is at least as screwed up as any other post-modern first world democracy.

"Hornet's Nest" is largely a police procedural. It is, more than anything else, a writer's inability to to let go of his favorite story as if letting go would lead to something inside the author dying away. In this unfortunate case, Mr. Larsson actually did only have this last chance to say anything about this or any other story. In a plot-twist befitting his own work, Mr. Larsson, sadly passed away before his books had a chance to become one of the most successful modern adult fiction in recent memory. 

In Hornet's Nest, Mr. Larsson gives us an elaborate, satisfying, if sometimes trying, conclusion to his rather long tale of a socially misfit computer hacker and a socialist journalist. Mr. Larsson also takes an attempt to push his social agenda of exposing crimes against women but alas he can only do so by resorting to the base shocksploitation that ultimately may harm his politics but probably not as much as it benefits his trust's bank accounts.

Hornet's Nest is certainly engaging and even intriguing but ultimately not as good as the last two, Dragon Tattoo and Played with Fire that I wrote about earlier. It is overburdened with trivia and sub-plots, side-plots and characters that don't really matter to the central story although they do help build an overall compelling narrative.

Ultimately, this book is important not because of itself so much as because it marks the end of  a literary phenomenon that will and has already heralded a new era in book publishing. Mr. Larsson did no book readings and did not appear on the Daily Show. He did not defend his style and he, the man who wasn't there -- is suddenly the man everywhere because he ultimately wrote a very entertaining book.