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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant!
"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...
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "This is pretty hard to follow, Harry."
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...
Published 7 months ago by Mary Whipple


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant!, 30 Nov 2013
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"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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4 of 4 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 (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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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. By the time the novel reaches page one hundred, a large number of characters and an equally large number of criminal enterprises and perversions have been mentioned as the investigation of the ambassador's murder goes off in many different directions. Eventually, even currency trading and the bankruptcy of a major firm have their moments in the spotlight.

Additional grisly murders take place as the novel progresses, but they are presented primarily through talk and not through action scenes, leaving the novel with surprisingly little drama, lacking the kind of tension which has made the other Harry Hole novels so compelling. As more and more threads take Harry in many additional directions, the reader quickly becomes as frustrated as the detective, since real connections which would draw the reader into all the threads and create interest in all the characters are unclear. Mistaken identity, betrayals, and surprise revelations do create suspense, but part of that suspense here lies in to trying to figure out how, if at all, Harry Hole is going to make sense of this whole, complicated mess.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not yet fully formed., 29 Dec 2013
By 
Keith Douglas (Wales,UK) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you didn't already, meet Harry Hole, a different type of Detective, 28 Nov 2013
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
"Cockroaches" by Jo NesbÝ is second novel in his Harry Hole series that introduced readers to his unusual dark hero Detective.

After first novel that was set in Australia, Detective Harry Hole is back in Oslo, but soon will be again away from his country, this time in hot Bangkok, Thailand due to the death of Norwegian ambassador who has been found dead in a motel room, without any witnesses.

And due to his previous good relations that were more than political with prime minister, Detective is sent to avoid a scandal in media and to calm the situation.
After Harry will arrive, he'll soon realize that there is much more than just the released official story, and that almost no one wants to speak about events related to ambassador.

He will acquire some video material that he expects will help solving the mystery, but that will complicate case even more especially when the man who gave him this footage will be gone.
The Detective will learn that as in his previous case he isn't only the one who tries to solve this case, but someone who is in danger as well...

Jo NesbÝ in this as in his previously published novel is back with a different literary style than what the thriller fans are mostly used to.

Instead of some very clever main character who lives near-perfect family life, reader meets dark hero, guy with multiple character issues, who has problems with alcoholism and finding love, who is lonely and with heavy burden on his soul due to the incident from the past that had connection with his career.

With such main character, the author successfully avoids falling into various clichés that often characterizes most thriller releases, which along with unusual and sometimes exotic cases make his thrillers so popular and different.

In this novel, besides main thriller story, author commented multiple aspects of Thailand culture and society in general that is a great setting for this murder case investigation.
As in previous release with Australian, it's evident that Thai culture was well-researched by author that makes the story even more interesting, and gives plenty of space for author to play with the reader by providing lot of unexpected story twists and turns.

Also, this book is a bit shorter than the size that reader is accustomed although this doesn't mean that because of that is of lower quality than the other installments.

"Cockroaches" is good read for Jo NesbÝ fans, although it's not as scary as some of his adventures that were released later in the series.

Also, this one could be read as stand alone, although for the full experience my suggestion is to read Jo NesbÝ novels in chronological order enabling you slowly get to know him as a character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flat, featureless and simply boring!, 2 Aug 2014
By 
comm88 "comm88" (Chester, Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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Not good. Not at all. Thin on characters. Sparse on plot. Lumpy where it should be smooth. Confusing where it should be clear. Very, very hard to track and follow. You're left feeling - Who was who and how and why did that happen? It would have been better as a comic book, I think. At least the action and story mighty have made more sense in a linear styled development! As I've said elsewhere, I've read all of his stuff, but this and The Son are far and away the poorest stuff he's ever done. This will be deleted from my Kindle as "meaningless trivia". Not one I would ever recommend, or try to read again. (Life's just too short!!) Ordinary, lacklustre and confusing. If I were you, I'd give it a miss. It's a real turkey.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Nesbo's Laughing Gnome?, 19 Aug 2014
This book was written prior to Nesbo's international breakthrough and it's that success that prompted the translation of the first two books in the series, The Bat - set mostly in Sydney - and this, Cockroaches - set mostly in Bangkok.

It's not a bad book and, indeed, there's much that shows why later books will become international bestsellers. The story is fast-paced, the setting well-evoked and it doesn't shy from difficult themes, like child sexual exploitation in this book. But Harry, in even more alcoholic and recovering alcoholic mode than in later books, is actually rather unlikeable. And the cast of characters is bewildering. I'm not sure what the Ambassador's wife brings to the party - another alcoholic, by the way - and the convoluted way in which various Norwegians meet their grisly ends leaves even Harry's bizarre bald, tall, female Thai-American sidekick baffled as Harry draws the threads together. 'It's difficult to follow,' she says and it's hard not to disagree.

I understand the all-conquering hero cannot die - there'd be no ongoing story, would there, I get that - but Harry cheats near-certain death again and again, recovers instantaneously and on we go to the next bloodbath. Harry's involvement in this case in the first place is all rather tenuous pointing to high-level Norwegian government interest in the Ambassador's death. Which all gets sort of explained but isn't particularly convincing. Let's be honest: even if you were going to cast morality aside and post a known paedophile as Ambassador my guess is that South East Asia wouldn't be high on the list of likely locations.

This was all like buying the 1967 Deram/Decca World of David Bowie album: there are some good bits, signs of a voice worth listening to but the really good stuff is still a few years off. So the book sells because of the Nesbo name. His Laughing Gnome?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 29 Jan 2014
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
After Nesbo messed with all our heads in Police: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 8) (Harry Hole 10), we now have an early Harry Hole novel to refresh ourselves with. Chronologically it seems to fit just after The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Harry Hole 1) and that's may have been how they were originally released in Norway.

Cockroaches is set in Bangkok and as with The Bat (which was set in Sydney), you get a feel that Nesbo spent a great deal of time soaking up the sights and sounds which he translates to the page in a totally believable manner. As this is only the second Hole novel, it is also refreshingly missing the baggage of the most recent few Hole stories. The plot cracks along and a cast of intriguing (with a mix of believability) characters come and go.

Highly recommended. One day I must read the whole series in order...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adios, 22 Dec 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
I have read most of the Jo Nesbo books with Harry Hole at the helm. Finally, I have a picture of Harry Hole, from Nesbo's second book featuring Hole. He is a tall, blonde Norwegian. Reall?

Cockroaches was written in 1998, I have no idea why it has taken this long for the book to be translated and given to us, Jo Nesbo's fans. The first book was translated last year, 'The Bat', so I gather the books are coming in order of translation. In this book we come to know more about Harry Hole, and I really appreciate Jo Nesbo's writing mind.

Harry Hole is ordered to Bangkok by his superior in Oslo. It seems Harry Hole has a great reputation after his previous case, and he is told to solve this case with a minimum of public notice. It appears that the Norwegian ambassador is murdered in a motel, under very suspicious circumstances. It also appears that the ambassador's family has secrets. Harry meets the police group he is to work with, and that is a surprise! Harry works hard and in covers many clues that leads him to a certain person. Ah, ha, they gave the murderer, but not so fast a second murder occurs, and everything breaks wide open. This will not be easy to keep on the lay low.

As with most of Nesbo's books about Harry Hole,Harry has little difficulty acclimating to his environment. The seedy side of Bangkok seems to be the place for Harry. The sex underground though disgusting, is a very big part of Bangkok and the tourists. And, Harry finds his way. The writing continues to be fascinating and in depth. Violent and fact with sudden quick jabs is the way Harry operates. A novel well done!

Recommended. prisrob 12-22-13
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5.0 out of 5 stars My first encounter with Harry Hole., 11 Aug 2014
This was my first encounter with Harry Hole, having purchased the book cheaply.
I found that once past the first couple of chapters, and the inevitable checking and rechecking of characters names I became hooked.
The plot revolves around the death of the Norwegian Ambassador in Bangkok and twists and turns all over the place. Harry Hole, sent over partly to investigate, partly as an excuse for a failed investigation, reveals himself to be a believeable, and likeble lead.
The general chaos of Bangkok is portrayed well, and although a few of the protagonists could do with a little fleshing out, I found the book to be near impossible to put down.
A very good read, and I'll definitely be purchasing more of Mr Nesbo's tales.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait., 14 Dec 2013
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Another great read ! An early Harry Hole story and not as polished as some of the later ones but one is absorbed and gripped in a few pages. It was hard to put down and over too quickly.
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