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De kakkerlak by Jo Nesbo
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De kakkerlak (original 1998; edition 2012)

by Jo Nesbo, Annelies De Vroom

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570None17,334 (3.55)25
Member:meelman1
Title:De kakkerlak
Authors:Jo Nesbo
Other authors:Annelies De Vroom
Info:Amsterdam De Bezige Bij 2012
Collections:Thriller
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø (1998)

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    The Lotus Keeper by K. R. Dial (Cecilturtle)
    Cecilturtle: histoire situé en Thaïlande sur le thème de l'exploitation des enfants
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English (14)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Finally, the second Harry Hole novel has been translated into English! In Cockroaches, Harry Hole is sent to Thailand to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador in a brothel. Of course, this a Harry Hole mystery and the investigation of a murder segues into a believable investigation into a child pornography ring.

The title Cockroaches comes from the adage that for every cockroach you see, there are hundreds hidden behind the way. That's how this mystery played out; for every bad guy there is; there were a hundred hidden.

I was not as frustrated with Harry in this book. He kept on the straight and narrow for the majority of this novel and I was proud of him. He was haunted by Brigitta's death and his sister's rape. The reason Harry can break open these Russian doll-type cases because of his fierce determination and resilence. He's a dog with a bone and he never lets go.

I am so happy that I am not up to date with the Harry Hole series. Now I can continue reading them in order and be spared the confusion. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
This is the second Harry Hole mystery, although it the last one to be translated into English.

Harry is sent to Bangkok after the Norwegian ambassador is murdered in a motel. He is told to fend off any possible scandal while investigating. Really, he is expected to complete a cursory investigation, but this is not Harry’s modus operandi. As he uncovers secrets which might be damaging to the reputation of Norwegian politicians and bureaucrats, he exasperates his superiors but persists nonetheless.

Harry is a flawed detective with inner demons. He is an alcoholic who somehow manages to remain sober while conducting a murder investigation. He is generally intelligent and astute, but during this case, makes a terrible mistake. He himself admits, “he’d behaved like an amateur” (351). This is not typical Harry behaviour as found in later books in the series; perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that this was only the second of Nesbo’s forays into detective fiction.

Harry works closely with Liz Crumley, a Thai-American homicide inspector. She is a character I wish Nesbo had included in other books. Her blunt take-no-prisoners attitude is refreshing, especially when contrasted with the bureaucrats who keep information from Harry.

This novel would certainly not serve as a positive advertisement for Thailand. The focus is on the seediness and corruption found in the country, complete with gangsters, loan sharks, drug dealers, prostitutes, and paedophiles.

I love the Harry Hole mysteries; I must admit, however, that this is not the best of the series. I much prefer the ones that are set in Norway. ( )
  Schatje | Apr 13, 2014 |
This is the second of Nesbo's Harry Hole series, but only recently has been translated and released in English. I've been reading the series completely out of order as they become available at the local library, so this hasn't proved a difficult transition for me.

Coming off his earlier triumph as played out in The Bat, Hole has been recruited to Thailand to investigate the murder of a top Swedish diplomat in a seedy Bangkok hotel room. Political repercussions abound and the powers-that-be want this resolved as quickly as possible. They certainly don't want Hole to investigate too far into Bangkok's seamier underworld. Unfortunately, he and his Thai associates aren't being given the full story..

An engaging and quick read. Descriptions of Thailand are atmospheric and provide an exotic sense of place. One gets a real sense of Nesbo's growth as a writer in comparing this earlier work with those later in the series. I continue to be tickled to the phonetic connection between Hole's superior, Bjarne Moller and 70's TV icon, Barney Miller. ( )
  michigantrumpet | Mar 25, 2014 |
This is the second novel in the Harry Hole series, but it appeared in English translation in the United States only after Nesbo ended the series. No matter. Fans of Harry Hole always appreciate more.

As this story begins, the Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a brothel in Bangkok, Thailand. Harry is sent to investigate. As Harry tries to get to the bottom of what happened, he also struggles with the temptations of alcohol.

Nesbo excels at making us feel the atmosphere in Bangkok, but there is no sacrifice of suspense in the process. The plot is complex, with many hidden layers. Analogously, Harry muses about cockroaches:

…he had read that there were more than three thousand different types of cockroach. He had also read that they hide when they hear the vibrations of someone approaching and that for every cockroach you can see there are at least ten hiding.”

Harry tries to stay detached from the case, but of course he can’t, no more than he can cope with the ensuing need to blot the darkness from his consciousness.

Evaluation: It is always risky to evaluate a writer’s technique from a translation. However, it seems that Nesbo had not quite yet mastered his craft when he finished Cockroaches. Sometimes the plot borders on the confusing rather than the merely complex. Nevertheless, we can see in this book that the author has great potential. In particular, Nesbo is able to conceive of truly terrifying situations in which a hero might find himself, and truly horrible things that evil people might do to others. Fans of Harry Hole will appreciate this opportunity to rejoin Harry in the early days of his detective career.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Mar 10, 2014 |
The second novel in the Harry Hole series has just come out in the United States. The series began with foreign settings, with The Bat taking Harry to Australia and Cockroches taking place in Thailand.

The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy hotel where prostitutes meet johns for business. Harry is sent to provide assistance, investigating the case with a brash, Amazonian inspector who is bald and nearly as tall as he is. They both realize soon enough that, as scandalous as the circumstances are, it’s not nearly as grimy as the reality that is being covered up.

“He saw something move in the gloom, on the sink, a couple of antennae swinging to and fro. A cockroach. It was the size of a thumb and had an orange stripe on its back. He had never seen one like this before, but that was perhaps not so peculiar – he had read that there were more than three thousand different types of cockroach. He had also read that they hide when they hear the vibrations of someonoe approaching and that for every cockroach you can see there are at least ten hiding. That meant they were everywhere.”

The corruption Harry senses hiding behind the surface is not just in Thailand, but also at home in Norway, where nothing is quite as it seems.

I enjoyed reading this book quite a bit more than I’ve enjoyed recent entries in the series. Harry (though he is struggling to stay sober) seems more light-hearted, less heroic, more spontaneous in his approach to investigations. The plot twists and turns, but without the elaborate mechanics of later entries in the series and I never felt manipulated. Thailand is wonderfully evoked, and the characters pop off the page. It’s also not quite the doorstop later books have become. All in all, I’m happy to have read this early entry in the series and am happy to get reacquainted with the entertaining detective whose company I enjoyed so much.
  bfister | Feb 22, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Nesbøprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Het licht sprong op groen en het gebrul van de auto's, de motorfietsen en de tuktuks zwol aan tot Dim de ruiten van Robertson Department Store zag trillen.
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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.… (more)

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