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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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7943311,562 (3.6)62
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 Nesbo (1998)

  1. 00
    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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» See also 62 mentions

English (23)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Good mystery; a complicated plot with a lot of interesting characters. I'll be reading more of his mysteries. ( )
  piemouth | Oct 27, 2014 |
I have to admit for the first 2/3 of the book that the book seemed to aimlessly wonder, but I thought that the final1/3 with Hole's solution to the murders was excellent, particularly with the belt clue(?). I normally prefer different subjects and characters , rather than recurring character books, but I do enjoy Jo Nesbo, although this was not one of his best. ( )
  66usma | Oct 22, 2014 |
These first two books are about nesbo finding his feet and style. It's almost here in this second book, Hole is starting to become the jaded super sleuth of the later novels. A quick read and lots of fun. ( )
  polarbear123 | Sep 28, 2014 |
Cockroaches is the second of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole (pronounced "Ho-leh") crime series, which now number ten. This novel was published in 1998 but is the last to be made available in English translation. Harry Hole will be a familiar type to anyone who reads crime fiction: a relatively young detective (30-something in this novel) fighting booze and depression and nursing a grievance, whose abrasive style and bullish insistence on uncovering the truth at any cost pisses off his colleagues and supervisors, who nonetheless value and acknowledge (if somewhat grudgingly) his prodigious sleuthing skills. But even in this early work Nesbø infuses Hole with depth and individuality sufficient to make him a compelling protagonist. In Cockroaches Hole is fresh off a harrowing case that concluded in Australia, and fresh off the wagon as well. When the Norwegian ambassador in Thailand turns up dead in a grimy hotel room Hole is summoned to Bangkok to get to the bottom of what happened. In the seamy and steamy Thai capital he encounters a sexually permissive culture and plenty of people seeking gratification in ways that fall just short of illegal. The murder of the ambassador appears to have a sexual element. But in this novel very little is as it initially seems, and despite threats and misgivings and numerous violent encounters Hole allows his instincts to lead him down one dangerous path after another until he has the murderer cornered and desperate. The plot is convoluted and the ending a bit overwrought, and it's possible English readers will have difficulty with the mix of Thai and Norwegian names. But Cockroaches is still an absorbing noir thriller that will have you at the edge of your seat more often than not. ( )
  icolford | Sep 18, 2014 |
[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

My Take

Interestingly, I did not finish reading the first book in this series — because it was terrible — and usually that would be the end of a series for me. But, I did my research on the Harry Hole series and discovered that, almost unanimously, fans don’t think the series gets good until book three. (Which may or may not be why the first two books weren’t translated until VERY recently.) Regardless, I decided to stick with this series and check out book two before I moved on to the books that are generally accepted as being the “real” start of Nesbø’s well-written detective series.

And it wasn’t too bad.

But it wasn’t great either.

The biggest downside to this book is that the plot is occasionally hard to follow. There’s a lot of jumping from hour to hour, day to day, location to location with very little transition effort between scenes and chapters. And because there are so many characters (most of them minor) and so many places (with Thai names), the sudden shifts can be rather jarring and difficult to keep track of. Now, one could say Nesbø doesn’t waste time, true, but when the actual murder mystery is as complicated as Nesbø’s are, struggling to follow the movements of the protagonist can be very irritating, especially when you reach key scenes in the book.

On the upside, as mentioned, the murder mystery itself is well plotted and well executed. All the red herrings are there. All the subtle foreshadowing and carefully hidden clues. Nesbø stuffs so many clues that are obvious in hindsight ONLY into his story that it’s pretty incredible the book isn’t full of plot holes. Obviously, Nesbø is an excellent plotter when it comes to the core of his stories. And really, that’s what makes this book satisfying in the end, despite its shortcomings structure-wise. The actual mystery is truly difficult to unravel ahead of time, and you always feel challenged throughout the book to try and figure out the answers before Harry does.

(And generally, you won’t. The twists and turns will still surprise you. By the time you hit the last page, you won’t be able to call the plot “predictable”, no matter what thought a hundred pages back.)

Character-wise, too, I think Nesbø succeeds on many fronts. He brings in a large and diverse cast whose roles are all important in some way to the core story but who aren’t solely created for it. They have lives and backstories that are mentioned as necessary but don’t overwhelm the main story. Nesbø achieves a good balance with his characters — they all advance the plot without butting in too much or too often. And Harry, as the protagonist, is an interesting guy to follow — an interesting guy with MAJOR issues that always affect the plot in interesting ways.

I think Cockroaches is a definite improvement over The Bat, which I couldn’t bring myself to finish. Structurally, though, it still has a few issues and can be hard to follow at times. I look forward to see how much Nesbø improved between this book and The Redbreast, which fans of the series generally consider to be where the author hits his stride.

Overall, a decent read. ( )
1 vote TherinKnite | Aug 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Nesboprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Among Norwegians living in Thailand there is a rumour circulating that one of their ambassadors, who died as a result of a car accident in Bangkok, was actually murdered under extremely mysterious circumstances. There is no evidence to support this, but it makes for a good story. 
No persons or events mentioned in this book should be confused with real persons or events. Reality is far too strange for that. 
Bangkok, 23 February 1998
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The traffic lights changed to green, and the roar from lorries, cars, motorbikes and tuk-Turks rose higher and higher until Dim could see the glass in Robinson's department store vibrating.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title: Kakerlakkene
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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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