Not since the Litvinoffs of Zoë Heller’s The Believers has a family so charmed me with its unforgiving humanity as have the Foxmans in Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You (Plume, $15). When straight-man Judd is suddenly called back to his childhood home to sit shiva following both the dissolution of his marriage and his father’s death, an almost farcical tale of grief and forgiveness ensues. Tropper writes with vivid honesty about jealousy of an older sibling, alienation from a younger one, and embarrassment by a parent. This Is Where I Leave You has something for anyone who’s ever struggled for solace. Equal parts biting wit and deep compassion, Tropper’s style achieves poignancy without being cheesy, and promises a heartening ending.
The lives of Mikhail Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander cross again in the follow-up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In The Girl Who Played With Fire (Vintage, $15.95), Stieg Larsson brings Lisbeth’s secretive past to the surface. When Lisbeth is accused of murdering two of Blomkvist’s colleagues, she is forced to go on the run, relying on her inexhaustible range of talents, including disguise, kick-boxing, and computer-hacking. Meanwhile, Blomkvist delves into the world of sex-trafficking in an attempt to prove her innocence. Larsson’s unique characters, unpredictable plot, and fascinating political backdrop create a riveting story that will stick with the reader long after all the pieces come together and the book is closed.
Stieg Larsson’s addictive Millennium Trilogy just got better! The long-awaited and thrilling conclusion, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Knopf, $27.95), picks up where the cliffhanging Girl Who Played with Fire left us. Incapacitated, under arrest, and strapped to a hospital bed with no ability to defend herself, computer-hacker Lisbeth Salander must rely on the more orthodox methods of journalist Mikhail Blomkvist and her lawyer Annika Giannini as she battles for retribution against the sex-trafficker and crime boss Zalachenko, his thug Niederman, the corrupt psychiatrist Teleborian, and the secret society buried within the bureaucracy of the Swedish State Security Agency. I couldn’t put it down and barely slept for three nights straight!