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Cockroaches: An early Harry Hole case [Kindle Edition]

Jo Nesbo
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (375 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Harry is on a special mission

Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and Harry has been sent to investigate. It’s clear that the Ambassador’s family are hiding some secrets of their own, but few people are willing to talk.

He needs to solve a crime and avoid a scandal

When Harry lays hands on some incriminating CCTV footage, things only get more complicated. The man who gave him the tape goes missing, and Harry realises that failing to solve a murder case is by no means the only danger that faces the unwary.

But in an unfamiliar city, who can you trust?

Books In This Series (9 Books)
Complete Series

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    "If you’ve never read any Jo Nesbo, now is the perfect time to check out his excellent Harry Hole series" (Essentials)

    "As with the Australian setting of The Bat, Hole’s first outing, we’re again terra incognita (Asia here); Cockroaches, organised with greater concentration than its predecessor, turns out to be one of Nesbo’s most accomplished novels" (Barry Forshaw Financial Times)

    "Set to be another sure-fire hit" (Sun)

    "You'll be utterly enthralled" (Shortlist)

    "Beguiling as ever... An absolute treat" (Deirdre O'Brien Sunday Mirror)

    Book Description

    The thrilling sequel to Nesbo's debut novel The Bat, The Cockroaches sees Harry Hole sent to Bangkok to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant! 30 Nov. 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    "Cockroaches" is the second Harry Hole novel. The action this time moves to Bangkok where Harry is sent to investigate the murder of the Norwegian Ambassador. He finds his investigation hampered by those in authority back in Oslo, but Harry is not one to bow to authority. He may be an alcoholic but Hole is a fine detective.
    I really enjoyed this book. As with "The Bat" it gives a great insight into Harry Hole's early days. One need not have read the other books in the series, in fact "Cockroaches" can be read as a stand alone, but it would be a shame to miss out on a great series.
    I would recommend "Cockroaches". It is simply brilliant.
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    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars "This is pretty hard to follow, Harry." 1 Jan. 2014
    By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    English speakers were first introduced to the work of Norwegian author Jo Nesbo and his damaged main character Harry Hole, in 2006, with the publication of The Redbreast, the third book in the Harry Hole series, a novel so good that it won the award for Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written, as chosen by Norwegian Book Clubs. Now, after eight enormously successful novels in that series, Nesbo's publishers have published the first two novels of the series, The Bat (1997), and Cockroaches (1998), written when Nesbo was a much less accomplished novelist than he has become in the fifteen years that have passed since they were originally written.

    In Cockroaches, Detective Harry Hole is chosen by the Norwegian Foreign Office to go to Thailand to investigate the murder of Norway's ambassador to Thailand, who has been found in a brothel with an elaborate old knife in his back. Hole himself is a psychological mess, an alcoholic trying to stay sober, and he has no interest in going to Thailand, even for a short time, to investigate this murder. He suspects he has been chosen because they expect him to fail so the foreign office can close the case without revealing nasty and embarrassing details publicly.

    In Bangkok, Harry gets started on the case and quickly discovers that the ambassador was a practitioner of many perversions, including paedophilia and child pornography. The knife used to kill him belonged to the most powerful heroin dealer in history, who now finances most of the new hotels in Burma and manages the opium trade in the north of Thailand. In addition, the ambassador is addicted to gambling and is indebted to loan sharks.
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    30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not yet fully formed. 29 Dec. 2013
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    My first Harry Hole novel was `the Redeemer', an odd place to start, but the book was in Sainsbury's, so I bought it on impulse. It was excellent, so I then bought `the Redbreast', the first of the Oslo books, but now the third book overall, as the two books originally only available abroad are now in English too.
    So `Cockroaches' is the second book.
    Confused yet?
    I looked forward to both `the Bat'(the first book) and this second book, and although both are very good, they are not, for me, a patch on the later books, all set in Norway.
    In the same way as Morse away from Oxford was never the same, or Wallander out of Ystad, Harry Hole is a product of Oslo, and it is in his native Norway that we get his full character and personality traits that make him such an appealing, if flawed, man.
    In Cockroaches he has been once again sent abroad to solve the murder of a Norwegian national, this time the Ambassador. The action this time takes place in Bangkok, Thailand, and the atmosphere is well drawn, giving us the feeling of claustrophobia and suffocation of the overcrowded and polluted Thai capital.
    We get hints of Harry's background, and his demons, but as in `the Bat', set in Australia, I felt as if he was far more superficial a character than in the Oslo novels.
    If you are coming anew to Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole novels, by all means read them in order, starting with `the Bat', then Cockroaches.
    But I would suggest that you would probably find starting at `the Redbreast' just as fulfilling, and you would not miss any information about Harry that you don't find out later.
    And once you have read `the Redbreast' you will have to read the rest of the books, they are addictive!
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars OK, I'M CONVERTED 8 Jun. 2014
    By Clive
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    This is my third Jo Nesbo book (I started with 'The Son' and then began the Harry Hole series with 'The Bat') and now I'm hooked. This was, actually, the second book that Joe Nesbo published (in Norway) and some reviewers have commented that he hadn't hit his full stride by then. Well, if this isn't his best effort, then I look forward to the next in the series (The Redbreast) 'cos 'Cockroaches' is brilliant.

    The story is immensely convoluted with a rich cast of characters that all have real depth. Bangcock itself is a character with it's steaming heat, humidity, traffic and teeming humanity and JN makes the most of this seedily exotic setting. I love Jeffery Deaver novels (well, most of them anyway) for their plot twists and misdirection and, although Jo Nesbo's style is slightly different, the effect is the same. The result is that, once you finish a story, you want to re-read it, but this time knowing what's really going on. I really thrive on clever writing and labyrinthine plots and Mr Nesbo is a master, keeping it all, just, within tolerable levels of credulity.

    'The Bat' ends with a climax within which Harry has misjudged his opponent and has to race to save the damsel. In 'Cockroaches', it's the same scenario. The endings to both books are different, and both make good reading, but I hope that this formula is not repeated in the next book.

    There is a discernible difference between the writing style of 'The Bat' and 'Cockroaches' and the later book is, quite clearly, more controlled, better edited and more assured; the marks of an improving author but improving from a damn good original standard.

    I have two, incredibly pedantic, grumbles.
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