The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons: A Lisbeth Salander Novel

Let’s get the review details out of the way.  I liked this book (5 out of 5 stars).  A worthy addition to the series (#7).

I was struck by the similarity between The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, written by multiple authors, and the Joona Linna series, written by Lars Kepler – a husband/wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Coincidentally, both series are set in Sweden. (The latest Joona Linna book is The Spider.)

After seven books, we’ve come to understand that no one in Sweden is smarter than Lisbeth Salander, except possibly the master criminals she faces — Marcus Branco in the latest novel.  After nine books we’ve come to understand that no one in Sweden is smarter than Joona Linna, except possibly his nemesis Jurek Walter, who has the unsavory habit of coming back from the dead. These are books about detective superheroes pursuing criminals who are so evil that only superpowers can overcome them.

Lisbeth Salander has (at least) three superpowers: she is the queen of hackers, very rich — because of hacking, and a marital arts phenom. Joona Linna has (at least) three superpowers: he is unbelievably focused — particularly when the going gets tough or he is injured, well connected — he has friends he can turn to in extreme crises, and a martial arts phenom.

Lisbeth is on the autism-Asperger spectrum but, in recent books, has become more social and has a few relationships. Joona, a Finn, has always felt unwelcome in Sweden, but recently has become more social and has a few relationships.

However, we don’t care about their relationships, or the inner turmoil they reveal in therapy, because the villains in each book are so bad that if Lisbeth or Joona can’t handle them, Sweden is doomed. Fortunately, Lisbeth and Joona always rise to the challenge – although sometimes at the expense of fledgling relationships or their mental health.

Full disclosure: I’m a comic book fan.  I grew up reading all sorts of comics.  During the sixties, I read a lot of Spiderman comics.  There’s a familiar theme in them: young Peter Parker is living a normal life in New York City when an arch-villain appears; no one can stop the villain other than Peter in his role as Spider Man. (My favorite villain is Dr. Octopus who resembles Marcus Branco in the latest Lisbeth Salander book.)

My point is that we’re witnessing the birth of a new class of thriller fiction: the superhero thriller.  (An addition to the list that includes: psychological thriller, spy thriller, legal thriller, paranormal thriller, and on and on.) I’d add Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series to this genre.

To conclude, I liked the latest Lisbeth Salander thriller, but I’ve realized it’s an adult comic book.

Written by : Bob Burnett