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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Luftslottet som sprängdes (Millennium, #3) - Stieg Larsson Larsson's third (and, alas, final) Millennium novel continues right where we left off volume II, the asocial supergenius crazycoolcharacter Lisbeth Salander shot in the head (but somehow able to drag herself over to axe her Russian-defector/gangster/all-around-asshole father Zalachenko in the face), charismatic and promiscuous and intrepid journalist Mikael Blomkvist sending her off to the hospital then arrested by police then trying to get them to go after the real bad guy, Salander's half-brother, who is impervious to pain and the size of Hulk Hogan.

Which all sounds terribly melodramatic, and it is in plotting 'though brilliantly even-tempered in prose execution, and it works. This volume follows the attempts by the rogue contingent of the secret police, charged with protecting Zalachenko, to clean up the mess by again smearing (and involuntarily hospitalizing) the allegedly psychopathic Salander, while Blomkvist slowly pieces together the conspiracy. Unlike the prior novels, there's little mystery--it's less a puzzle about what will happen (or, as in the by-far-best first volume, a whodunnit) than, like a long-con plot, the painstaking piece by piece defeat of the bad guys by the good guys. If that's a spoiler for anyone, I apologize, even as I mock your incredible unfamiliarity with the basic hallmarks of this kind of fiction.

I enjoy these characters, 'though there's far too little of Salander, stuck in a hospital bed for most of the running time. I enjoy Larsson's attention to detail, the way he grafts the form of the police procedural onto a tale with a foregone conclusion and (alas) few surprises. That "alas" is a minor quibble--I loved volume one, how great a mystery it was, and the second two are more "thrillers," interested in the lovely meshing of the gears of plot, and perhaps I'm wishing they were what they were not. Even as a thriller, this third installment seems simultaneously delightful and yet light on suspense. So... enjoyed, but not loved.