The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by David Lagercrantz. Does that title seem familiar? It should. It has been five long years since Steig Larsson's third book in the Lisbeth Salander/Millennium series, The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, was published in the US (the most sold book in the US in 2010, if you're interested). Larsson's trilogy was published posthumously, after the author died in 2004 at age 50, and fans have spent the last five years bemoaning the fact that there would never be another. I was one of those fans. So I am filled with hope and just a little excitement (okay, fine, a lot of excitement) with the news that Steig Larsson's estate contracted Swedish bestselling author and journalist David Lagercrantz to write a stand-alone sequel to the trilogy (no one has said whether there might be additional titles in the future).
So now Lisbeth Salander, the genius hacker with the dragon tattoo, and Daniel Blomkvist, crusading journalist who champions the truth even to his own personal detriment, are together again. Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering. Blomkvist, in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help. She, as usual, has her own agenda. The secret they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it... I have goosebumps.
The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood. This is Atwood's first stand-alone novel since 2000's The Blind Assassin (which won the Man Booker Prize, FYI). Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. What starts out as no great sacrifice slowly becomes more chilling, and dangerous. I've been an Atwood fan for years, and this is classic.