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Cockroaches: The Second Inspector Harry Hole Novel [Kindle Edition]

Jo Nesbo
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (534 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description


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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With the publication of this second novel in the Harry Hole series, all 10 Hole novels are now available in the U.S. It’s disconcerting for fans to read the series out of order (we know what demons await the beleaguered Harry), but, that aside, this is a compelling, hard-edged thriller that can stand on its own. It wasn’t until the third novel, Redbreast (2007), that the series took on its classic Scandinavian noir feel; in the opener (The Bat, 2013), Hole was sent to Australia to solve a crime involving a Norwegian, and here he’s on the road again, this time to Thailand, where the Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a Bangkok brothel. The plot is satisfyingly twisty, with Harry wandering through the city’s notorious red-light district in search of clues and tempted by the booze and drugs that will derail him throughout the series. But we also see both Harry’s almost Holmesian flair for deductive reasoning and the sensitivity that makes him vulnerable. Don’t look to the Scandinavians for read-alikes this time; rather, try John Burdett’s Sonchai Jitpleecheep series, also set in Bangkok’s morally ambiguous demimonde. --Bill Ott


"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

Product Details

  • File Size: 1512 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FO5YFX4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,438 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First a clarification: While the translation is marketed as 'an early Harry Hole case' Cockroaches is the second Hole novel by Mr Nesbo.

Second the answer to: Is it worth going backwards through time to read this one?

Yes indeed.

Sent to Thailand in the hopes of being too drunk to solve a murder too sensitive to be solved, Harry indeed finds himself drunk, sweating, and out of his depth in Bangkok. The novel balances Harry's personal life, own demons and the murder mystery well. Focusing mostly on the action and intrigue (and some the most intense violence read by this reader for a while) with just enough contact with 'Sis' and Harry's father to tug at heart strings and drive Harry onward.

My only beef is that the epilogue is a little light - with so much carnage in this story one wants a little more loose end tying and (as far as I can recall) Redbreast does not confront these at all (aside from searing criticisms from various colleagues which is a common feature of Hole novels)

In short, while many may be worried that Cockroaches won't sit well with them after being further through the series, Harry's trip to Thailand has an almost episodic feel to it that prevents discombobulation from the timeline jumping. Also unlike some of the more dry Hole plots, Cockroaches mixes business with pleasure and mayhem in perfect balance.

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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars “This is pretty hard to follow, Harry.” January 1, 2014
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, and Cockroaches, written when Nesbo was a much less accomplished novelist than he has become in the ensuing fifteen years.

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 having to reveal nasty and embarrassing details.

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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harry Goes to Thailand January 5, 2014
I loved this book and wanted to give it a 5* but having last read Harry Hole #10 I know they get even way better, so have to keep this to a 4*. Harry is in Thailand this time; he's been sent there to take care of a potentially embarrassing situation where the married Norwegian ambassador has been found murdered in a brothel/hotel. Unknown to Harry, the alcoholic detective, has been sent to hush-hush and cover things up quietly, nobody expects him to actually solve the case. But this is Harry Hole, he can smell a rat a mile away and is in full detective mode as soon as he sees the crime scene. Great case, enjoyable characters, gives readers of the series the background finally on the Thailand connection for Harry and why he's always pulled back there. I loved getting to know the early Harry, where his problems came from, how he was shaped, his problems with alcohol and opium. This is the man who in the rest of the books fights these demons constantly. I also finally understand why the publisher's skipped these first two books for English readers. Here was the English speaking world becoming fascinated, addicted even, to Scandinavian mysteries and Jo Nesbo was a brilliant author to introduce us to but his first two Harry Hole books don't even take place in Scandinavia, first in Australia, second in Thailand. They weren't the type of dark, cold, brooding Scandi-crime English readers were discovering and clamouring for. So yeah, I finally get. I loved The Bat more than Cockroaches but it was fun reading them in retrospect from the point of view of someone who already knows the character. Newcomers to the series should keep in mind that the scandi-crime aspect is coming and let these first two books introduce you to Nesbo's pacing, and fantastic plotting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Harry Hole novel January 15, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is one of the earlier Harry Hole novels, just now becoming available to us Americans as it wasn't until recently translated to the English by the publisher. For those of you who like to read their series in order (like me) this out-of-order publishing might have driven you a tad nuts, but I think I understand now why the publisher might have chosen to wait on this particular book: it simply isn't as good as the later books in the series.

Perhaps this is because Nesbo hadn't yet reached his stride with Harry when he wrote Cockroaches (completely understandable, by the way). And if I hadn't already read the later novels, I might have rated this one higher, not know how complex and fascinating the main character would eventually become in later books. But here, as Harry winds his way through the utterly disgusting world of Bankok's whorehouses, he seems rather one-dimensional and not at all the multi-faceted character found in the later novels.

But if you are a fan of this series, this won't matter and you will want to read this book, if only to get a good idea of how the character of Harry has developed. So while I didn't much care for the storyline, there was no way I could have omitted this from my library. I'm a fan of Nesbo and always will be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nesbo warming up but good. Harry Hole his usual cynical but very very...
Nesbo warming up but good. Harry Hole his usual cynical but very very intuitive self. A good read.
Published 2 days ago by Martin W. Nabut
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyment
I continue to enjoy reading Nesbo. Harry Hole's and interesting character as well as is the Norwegian Thailand relationship. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Manny
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Not Nesbo's greatest. The Thailand environment seems artificial, almost picturesque. And the outcome is not hard to predict, after all
Published 5 days ago by Jaime
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming
This was my second attempt at Jo Nesbo- I read The Bat first and was really not impressed. I am wondering now if it is the translation where everything is lost vs. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Shandon Armstrong
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good story and very good writing.
Published 8 days ago by Janis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hole reminds me James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux. Fighting his problems as he tries to solve others.
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best.
I love Nesbo's books. I even have a signed copy of one of them. But honestly, some of the early ones are not as good as the more recent ones. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jared R Towler
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fab book!
Published 9 days ago by Kristin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Another great read from jo.
Published 12 days ago by antoinette taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars same story line
This book is boarding, it's a template of his previous book. Same story different country. Very predictable stour line. Do not waste your time.
Published 16 days ago by Mike Abudarwish
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