Good Read: Joe Nesbo Harry Hole Series – The Cockroaches

As I announced last time I published a Good Read post I will go through all the books by the Norwegian author Joe Nesbo, his series about Harry Hole, a drunken detective, not rated and avoided by his colleagues, but brilliant in his own right and way. Book two of the series is named The Cockroaches and is set in Bangkok, Thailand. Harry is sent to “investigate” a murder of a Norwegian politician. The beginning might sound like Harry is chosen because of his achievements in Australia (See – The Bat) but later on we find that it was because of his old habit of getting drunk that he was chosen. Chosen to fail. But Harry wouldn’t be Harry if he could leave the job undone. Anyway, not to spoil the book here are a few words from the official Joe Nesbo website.

The Norwegian ambassador in Thailand is found murdered in a Bangkok brothel. He had close ties to the Prime Minister, and in Oslo – to avoid a scandal – hasty plans are drawn up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A drunken Harry Hole, reeking of alcohol and stuffed full with B12 vitamins, is put on a plane to Bangkok with clear instructions: Help to hush up the case, otherwise do as little as possible. However, on arriving in Bangkok, Harry discovers that the case is about 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, as he finds out.

Working with Liz Crumley, a detective inspector sporting a bald head and a pair of Nike trainers, Harry meets a selection of colourful characters among the Norwegian ex-pats in Thailand: a one-armed female diver, a nomadic soldier, a lovesick chargé d’affaires, a Jimi Hendrix clone and a prostitute in a figure skating costume. Surrounded by round-the-clock traffic noise, Harry wanders the Bangkok streets of go-go bars, temples, opium dens, tourist publicity and child prostitution on a search no-one asked for and no-one wants. Not even Harry. Once again he is a victim of his own instincts.

“The Bangkok novel. I don’t remember the plot so well, just the characters. I set up camp in Bangkok, sweated for weeks while I wrote and wrote, using the people and geography around me. Fled to Vietnam, found a family-owned hotel in which they put out a desk for the “writer” and lent me a bike. I cycled and wrote, ate my way through the menu of the only good restaurant in town. And sweated.”

If that wasn’t enough for you, here is the video of the author talking about the book.

And a little news flash to end this post with, a good news flash for all the Joe Nesbo followers out there, Harry Hole #10 released in Norway.On Thursday the long awaited tenth installment in the Harry Hole series, Police, was released in Norway. Aschehoug, Jo Nesbø’s Norwegian publisher, arranged a big release-party with nearly a thousand people attending!

So that is another book I have to get my hands on.

And, yes, I highly recommend you this book. It is gripping and entertaining, complicated, flowing and so damn hard to let go of.

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