Lisbeth Salander, the punk-style hacker who came to prominence as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” in Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium Trilogy, is back to continue her mission of ridding the world of injustice in this newest installment of the series, a series continued by David Lagercrantz since Larsson passed away before the Millennium books were published.
This story opens with the death of an unknown man, a beggar often seen babbling incoherently and sometimes even accosting passersby. Everyone wrote him off as crazy, and when he’s found dead, covered in vomit and diarrhea near a tree across the street from his usual perch, most assume he was simply a drug addict who finally died of an overdose.
But when police turn out his pockets and discover the phone number of Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist at Millennium magazine who gained widespread fame years earlier for solving a decades old missing person’s case among other blockbuster stories, it raises doubt in the mind of the medical examiner, who begins a quest to find out his name and his story. The corpse is missing several fingers and has strange markings on his face.
The medical examiner contacts Blomkvist, who remembers passing by the man several times as he was “begging.” The beggar was last heard making noise about Johannes Forsell, Sweden’s embattled minister of defense.
Salander, meanwhile, is in Moscow, tracking the movements of her estranged and evil twin sister, Camilla, who has followed in the footsteps of their father, Zala, a Russian spy who defected to Sweden and ran a criminal empire. Camilla is running her own criminal gang, but Salander aims to stop her.
The two stories begin to overlap and then converge as Blomkvist, realizing there’s something more to the beggar shouting about Forsell than just crazy ramblings, reaches out to Salander for help in learning his identity. Along the way, details about Salander and Camilla’s childhood are revealed, how their father treated them and the real cause of their hatred for each other.
Like all of the books in the Millennium series, “The Girl Who Lived Twice” is a page-turning thriller that keeps you in suspense until the end. In the final pages, there’s a twist in the story that makes me wonder about the next installment in the series, what direction it might take, although the unexpected is one of this franchise’s best features.