RaveLos Angeles TimesDorthe Nors illuminates an ominous world of disconnected people trying to make sense of their dislocation ... Nors’ affectless, matter-of-fact storytelling — crisply translated from the original Danish by Martin Aitken — is the perfect complement to the low-wattage desperation and inertia her characters feel, especially in the face of the opposite sex ... If Nors was to write these moments with any emotion at all, they would feel over the top. Instead, they register as sinister drones rather than a wail ... [Karate Chop] loves you and wants to teach you, but it also wants to harm you.
PanLos Angeles TimesUnfortunately, the fourth installment, The Girl in the Spider\'s Web, written by crime journalist David Lagercrantz, does nothing to elevate the series, and one might venture to say it even hurts the legacy of the original ... the novel becomes a soup of flimsy plotlines and convoluted characters that fails to reach the thrilling heights of its predecessors ... He instead awards even the most minor players digressive back-stories, which act as a drag on the momentum of the story ... Most egregious of the digressions, however, is Lagercrantz\'s commitment to deflating any sense of urgency within the larger murder plot ... What is most frustrating about Lagercrantz\'s installment is that he never fully trusts the reader, and so key revelations are repeated several times by different characters in connected scenes with little to no new insight. We are forced to wait for the detectives to play catch-up in an exhausting game of telephone ... Lagercrantz seems uncomfortable and out of depth in Larsson\'s dark world, skirting away from conflict and the bleak parts of life in which Larsson artfully immersed his readers.
PositiveThe Los Angeles TimesLauren Beukes' captivating Broken Monsters defies the standard tropes of the serial killer genre to become a thoroughly modern, supernatural thriller set against the backdrop of a crumbling American city (Detroit) attempting to piece itself back together … The book's main characters are connected by nightmarish hallucinations, and while Beukes' supernatural touch is a refreshing addition to the crime fiction genre, the source of these phantasms is somewhat opaque and mildly frustrating, though beautifully drawn and full of doom … There is a tense push-pull between the inhabitants of Detroit and their gentrifying occupiers about who is allowed to create the narrative of city and who is the most reliable narrator of perceptions of the place.
PanThe Los Angeles TimesLepucki focuses on the complexities of basic human emotions, testing allegiances and letting secrets unravel even the most steadfast of survivors, all while illustrating how impossible it is to change what inherently makes us human … Woven into the plot are Frida and Cal's memories of their previous lives and their now-lost family, including Frida's younger brother, Micah, who brought the couple together years before at an all-boys university named Plank … Murky events, a blurry past and a questionable chronology mar Lepucki's entry into the literary post-apocalypse genre. Clear-cut rules of the world are critical and having an unsteady authorial hand leads to a shaky foundation...Lepucki's cautious dystopia never quite asks the right questions of us, ultimately to the detriment of the novel.