Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø

(pb; 1998, 2013: second book in the Inspector Harry Hole series. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.)

From the back cover

"When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case.

"But once he arrives Harry discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder. There is something else, something more pervasive, scrabbling around behind the scenes. Or, put another way, for every cockroach you see in your hotel room, there are hundreds behind the walls. Surrounded by round-the-clock traffic noise, Harry wanders the streets of Bangkok lined with go-go bars, temples, opium dens, and tourist traps, trying to piece together the story of the ambassador’s death even though no one asked him to, and no one wants him to—not even Harry himself."


Cockroaches is dark, focused and exotic read, with obvious bad guys (not necessarily a criticism), intriguing characters, wry humor and a reader-hooking storyline. This second book is more a how-it-was-done than a who-done-it. It is also a vast improvement on its source book (The Bat) in that it does not run too long. The ending, with its satisfying wrap-up, is disturbing and portends darker sequels.

Followed by The Redbreast.

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