This is really the second half of the second book. There is no real separation other than the fact that it is too long for a single book.
Larsson split the two books in a good place. There was a nice cliff hanger and it made sense. But this third book picks up immediately after the conclusion of the second.
Again, this book is fairly focused on Lisbeth (my preferred main character) but because of the result of the second book her actions are restricted. In many ways, this book is about Lisbeth allowing people into her life and understanding her need to depend on others.
Blomkvist spends most of the book writing articles about Lisbeth, corruption within the government (related to the off the books secret police) and doing detective work. Instead of Lisbeth it is Blomkvist that is the main researcher here.
This story could not have been written in the US because of the significantly different legal structure. And in many ways that is part of what made the book interesting to me. Too often we think that there is no other way because we are simply not exposed to other legal systems. (John Piper recently wrote about a blog post about how he believes the Norway legal system does not value life. But I think it is a case of Piper not understanding the legal system of Norway more than him correctly identifying an issue.)
While I did enjoy the series, both the first and the last books had long conclusions that wrapped up loose ends, but did not really add to the story. In both cases I think that a tighter story with 50 to 60 less pages would have made the book (and the series) better.
This is a solid thriller series, but not a must read series. I have heard rumors that there are notes for a fourth book that someone else might finish. I can see where there is room to continue the series. But it is not necessary. If it written I hope it is well edited.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (bookwi.se)
- The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (bookwi.se)