Book Review: Cockroaches

COCKROACHES | Jo Nesbo
(Harry Hole #2)
02.11.2014 (first published 1998) | Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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The Norwegian ambassador stationed in Thailand has been found dead in a Bangkok hotel known for hosting prostitution. The Norwegian government instantly wants to keep the details of the case closed to the general public. In an attempt to find immediate answers about what happened and to keep everything under-wraps from the media, they dispatch Harry Hole.

On the surface this looks to be just another random murder in Thailand, but in reality the reasons behind the murder are incredibly intricate. There is something and someone hiding behind the scenes. In order to find the truth, Harry must wade through the underbelly of Bangkok, which is filled with opium dens, prostitution, tourist traps, gambling, and so much more. Despite Harry being instructed to ultimately keep this case out of the limelight, he finds himself deeply invested in finding the truth. No one wants the truth disclosed and the murderer is willing to go to any length to keep it hidden. Can Harry bring the case to justice or will a murderer stop him in his tracks?

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Threats generally work best when delivered in a neutral key.

COCKROACHES drops the reader straight into the drama of the Norwegian ambassador being murdered, as well as Harry deep in the spirals of nursing his losses from THE BAT in a cloud of alcohol. Unlike with its predecessor, I had some struggles with getting sucked into this story initially. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for travelling to Thailand and investigating a murder of a guy found by a prostitute who may or may not have been arriving dressed as a famous American figure skater (yep, you read that right!). I just didn’t feel connected to the crime or the Thailand detectives straight from the start. Harry on the other hand, despite his issues with alcohol, is every bit as entertaining and enjoyable the second time (or book) around.

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Indeed it was strange how easy it was to kill another human being. So easy that now and then it seemed incredible that most people got as old as they did.

Nesbo’s writing truly made me feel as if I had been transported to Thailand and was working beside Harry as he crawled deeper into the truth behind the ambassador’s death. The cast of characters were highly entertaining at times, as well as being quite devious. This is truly a tale of not trusting those around you and learning to rely on your intuition for the truth. I adore the way Harry goes about solving a crime, with no holes barred and flying by the seat of his pants. His methods may be just a touch out of the norm, but the impact and Hole’s ability to solve a crime are undeniable. This book is a dark, gritty journey into a murder that is steeped in secrets and plotting. I can’t wait to see what adventure Nesbo takes me on next!

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