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‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye’ author David Lagercrantz, who now writes the Millennium series, is a big fan of ‘The Crown’ star Claire Foy, who will star as hacker Lisbeth Salander in the movie version of ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web.’
Josmar Taveras

Swedish author David Lagercrantz’s The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Knopf) marks a welcome return for fierce, avenging punk hacker Lisbeth Salander and crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist. It’s the fifth book in the blockbuster Millennium series, which began with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by the late Stieg Larsson. Eye, which went on sale Sept. 12, made its debut on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list at No. 4. Lagercrantz, on tour in New York, spoke with USA TODAY’s Jocelyn McClurg during a #BookmarkThis author chat on Facebook. Here are highlights:

Q: As ‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye’ opens, Lisbeth Salander is in prison. How did that plot twist come about?

A: First of all she’s a sort of action hero, and action heroes always need trouble, don’t they? I started to write a book when she was wandering around Stockholm and having a good time, and it was pretty boring. And then I had this idea, why not put her in prison? Of course that was possible because of all the crazy things she did (in Lagercrantz’s last book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web). And then I visited a (male) prison to do my research, and suddenly I sort of had it…I also wanted to answer questions that Stieg Larsson, sadly, hadn’t had time to answer, especially, why does Lisbeth Salander have a dragon tattoo on her back?

Q. ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ (2015) was your first sanctioned Salander novel. Larsson died in 2004 before he saw the phenomenal success of his novels. You were chosen by the Larsson estate to continue the series. Tell us about that.

A: One day I got this very strange call from (Larsson’s) publishing house (I belonged to a competing publisher), “We want to meet you but you can’t come in the main entrance, please could you come in around to the basement?” So I went in and Stieg Larsson’s publisher asked me, “David, would you consider writing the fourth book in the Millennium series?” It still gets me thrilled to think about it. People have asked me many times, didn’t you hesitate? But the truth is I didn’t hesitate a nanosecond, because I loved the books. I was obsessed by Lisbeth Salander. So I…