Series: Harry Hole #2
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on February 11th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Crime, Mystery & Detective, International Mystery & Crime
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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.
“No persons or events mentioned in this book should be confused with real persons or events. Reality is far too strange for that.”
My mystery bug continues to grow, as does my desire to read Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. While I enjoyed the first novel, The Bat, it didn’t meet my expectations for him as a writer. Before I wrote him off as over-hyped, I decided to continue on, and Cockroaches did not disappoint. Not only was Harry even more likable and well-rounded a character, but the plot didn’t unnecissarily drag out, and was tied up in a sensible way that left me excited for the third novel.
Like the last book, Detective Harry Hole is sent off to another country to solve the murder of one of his countrymen. This time it’s the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand. Found dead in a brothel, Harry is charged with solving the crime, while keeping it out of the media. I really loved all of the scenes in Thailand. Nesbø’s writing really brought the country and people alive, and made me feel as if I was there. Once again, Harry meets an eccentric cast of characters who all manage to look guilty and innocent at the same time.
What I enjoyed most about the novel was discovering what became of Harry since The Bat. I just knew Harry would save his career with that case, and finding out what really happened shined a light on how badly Harry had fallen. Like in the previous novel, Harry’s alcoholism was front and center to the story, as it rules so much of his life. While Harry was on the wagon, temptation lingered around every corner. Though many of Harry’s problems are brought on by himself, I’m always rooting for him to make a comeback.
The mystery was very well-written. With almost everyone a suspect, it was fun trying to solve the case alongside Harry. Even though I figured out before the big reveal, Nesbø kept me entertained from beginning to end. Some readers claim the third novel is really great, and considering the improvement from the first book to the second, I can’t help but believe it. If you like a complex, flawed detective (i.e. Sherlock Holes), then you might want to check out Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole novels. They’re entertaining, feature a strange mix of characters, and the cases are very interesting.