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`Hornet`s Nest` is unsatisfactory read

London: When a series of books are as popular as Stieg Larsson`s Millennium trilogy, there`s no question whether readers will buy the final instalment. But will they be satisfied?

It`s a layered question — much like Larsson`s books.

The series follows characters Lisbeth Salander, an anti-social computer hacker in her late 20s, and Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish journalist. They met in book one ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") when Salander helped Blomkvist solve a murder. Their friendship became sexual and Blomkvist`s casualness broke Salander`s heart. In the second book, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," Salander wants nothing to do with Blomkvist. She goes into hiding after being accused of murder.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet`s Nest" begins with Salander being critically injured. She spends part of the book in the hospital and then goes on trial.

Meanwhile, Blomkvist goes to work to prove her innocence.

The best parts of the novel are when they interact, which is mostly by postings on an Internet message board (using aliases, of course). Salander still wants Blomkvist out of her life, but he`s more determined than ever to piece together her back story.

Larsson`s books always have greater evils at hand. In "Hornet`s Nest," a secret government unit is introduced. At this point, the writing gets a bit complicated, droll and hard to follow. Readers need to pay attention for it all to make sense.

Although there`s resolution in "Hornet`s Nest," it moves at a slower pace and has fewer suspenseful moments than the two previous novels, making it the weakest of the three books.

It`s still going to be a difficult story for fans to swallow. Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 50. He left behind the manuscripts of three books and had an outline completed for a fourth.

Readers wanting to know more should research Larsson`s life and career, which have become synonymous with conspiracy theories since his death.

In Sweden, the three books have been adapted into films. Hollywood is working on its own version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," directed by David Fincher.

Bureau Report

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