Review of Jo Nesbo’s Cockroaches

cockroachesAn epic manhunt across Thailand, Jo Nesbø’s Cockroaches sees Detective Harry Hole chase down the killer of a Norwegian ambassador who is found dead in a brothel.

Hole has been specially chosen to handle this delicate political situation in Thailand not because of his skill as a policeman but for his reputation as being an uncontrollable alcoholic just back from media success in Australia.  Unfortunately their idea that he would not investigate the crime too carefully proved to be wrong. He agrees to go and slowly the body count begins to rise.

Harry finds himself in the murky depths of Norwegian-Thai politics where he must uncover the secrets kept from him and bring the truth to light. Everyone he encounters seems to have something to hide so there are plenty of suspects available.

This novel is the second of the ten books in the best selling Harry Hole series and is the last to be translated into English.

Nesbø’s writing style is as fast-paced and furious as ever. The book is at times gritty and just this side of gruesome. The reader is sent hurtling through the pages as the action just keeps coming.

As this is an early work by Nesbø there is a feeling that he is not fully into his stride as a writer. He has yet to develop the multi-layered narrative structures and sophistication of later novel’s such as Phantom where he experiments with multiple tellers of the same story. However, for a second novel it is incredibly polished.

The novel has a delicious mix of both Norwegian and Thai cultures thrown together. The ease with which Nesbø crosses cultural divides and explains those cultures simply to his readers almost certainly helped lead to his international success.

Cockroaches is an excellent crime novel whether you have read any of the rest of the Harry Hole series or not. This story stands alone well with only occasional references to the preceding novel, The Bat.

Cockroaches is dynamic, witty and delivers a solid crime story with unexpected twists and an unlikely burnt-out hero in Harry Hole. It is truly crime fiction at its best.



2 responses to “Review of Jo Nesbo’s Cockroaches

  1. Thanks for the review. I’m about to start this series, and I’d heard that this book was just translated, so I was wondering if it was worth getting my hands on. I think I’ll grab it. 🙂

    • I’m glad the review was helpful for you. It really is a good book and a fantastic series. I would definitely recommend it to you. The first book, The Bat, is an excellent read too. Hope you enjoy it.

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