- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harvill Secker; First Edition edition (28 Nov. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846554934
- ISBN-13: 978-1846554933
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.5 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 546 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cockroaches: An early Harry Hole case Hardcover – 28 Nov 2013
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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)
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 ambassadorSee all Product description
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You see, I enjoyed Cockroaches a lot more than I enjoyed The Bat. It may not be the strongest four-star rating I have ever given, but it was certainly a much more enjoyable read than the prior book.
In the prior book I was disappointed by how many of the characters felt like crime novel clichés – the main characters and the side characters both. Although I felt like some of the side characters were a bit cliched, I enjoyed the main character a lot more in this one. Harry Hole still felt a little bit like a textbook cop, but there was more to him in this one than in the prior book. Basically, I enjoyed Harry Hole’s character a lot more in this book.
What I enjoyed more than the character growth, however, was the storyline. The storyline in the first book interested me, but I felt as though it didn’t move at a rate which I enjoyed. Cockroaches had an even more interesting storyline, and it kept me turning pages. I was intrigued by what would come next, I was curious as to how everything would come together, and I had a lot of fun with all the elements that were added.
In other words, Cockroaches is worth the read. If you’re a fan of the Harry Hole series and have yet to dive into the early books, then certainly do. If you were left a little bit unsure by the first book, then this second book will leave you a lot more willing to give the Harry Hole series a read.
Overall, I’m a lot more interested in continuing the series now I have read and enjoyed this second book.
After being slightly disappointed with The Bat, but being assured that the series gets better, I read Cockroaches with a touch of trepidation. Although I know that this still isn’t one of Jo Nesbo’s most well-liked books, I did enjoy this one a lot more as, unlike the previous book, there was more plot and less filler. The book starts with Harry, again, being sent out to solve a murder in another country, this time one that has the potential to be politically sensitive – a strange appointment seeing as, after events of the previous book, Harry seems intent on drinking himself into oblivion! It is clear that Harry’s personality is starting to emerge and, as a result, I liked him much more than in The Bat.
Dealing with the seedier sides of Thailand, namely prostitution and paedophilia, Cockroaches is, at times, an unpleasant read, and is occasionally fairly graphic. These scenes are vital, however, in helping you to build up a true picture of the circumstances Harry finds himself in. I did find that the plot was occasionally hard to follow as I tried to remember how each character fitted in to the story. As a consequence, I was nowhere near working out who the guilty party was but was happy with the explanation.
Cockroaches is a big improvement on the previous book and I am looking forward to reading The Redbreast next
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. The first is that the identity of the real villain is supposed to be the subject of a big 'reveal' very late in the plot, but Mr Nesbo's clumsy handling two thirds of the way through, telegraphs the identity of the real 'nasty' too soon. That didn't spoil things too much for me as there was part of me thinking in double bluff - "surely JN wouldn't make it so obvious so it must be a red herring" - it isn't!
My second grumble is true geeky pedantry I'm afraid. The detail of the handguns used by villains and heroes alike is revealed to be unusually important to the end of the story. It's a bit of a cheat as most readers won't know the vital salient fact that makes the ending work and it isn't hinted at earlier in the story, but I like the fact that the reader isn't lead by the hand (I don't subscribe to the notion that an author must set out all of the facts so that a reader can solve the crime; life isn't like that). The problem is that there are two guns supposedly chosen as the weapon of choice by two, tough and highly experienced, heroes and, in reality, they would be poor choices. The ending makes clear why one of these choices was made, but it is, nevertheless, a poor choice. More glaringly, the main female hero, Liz Crumley, is a big, tough, bald 'bad-ass' woman who is, at least, a match for any of the male characters. Yet she, supposedly, chooses as her sidearm a gun that fires .22 calibre rimfire ammunition. This gun is notorious for being underpowered, unreliable and, as an aside, the ammunition is rare and expensive. Would our highly experienced heroine really choose this? To me, it seems that Mr Nesbo did a bit of internet searching and didn't spend enough time considering his choices. That would have been OK if the guns weren't such a central part of the story but, Mr Nesbo, the Ruger should have been a Smith & Wesson (that's what a highly skilled and experienced 'special ops' operator would have chosen)!
OK, I know that my geek's rant has now discredited my whole review, but, hey, I enjoyed it! Cockroaches is still a great book so, if you're reading this review prior to making a decision, just buy it; you won't be sorry.
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