Friday, February 28, 2014

Cockroaches - Jo Nesbø

My review of Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is appearing here today with their permission.
First line: "The traffic lights changed to green, and the roar from lorries, cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks rose higher and higher until Dim could see the glass in Robinson's department store vibrating."

Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series backs up to book two with the first U.S. publication of Cockroaches. Hole, a notorious drunk, is sent to Thailand to investigate the murder of Norway’s ambassador.

The Norwegian politicians insist his prior success working a case in Australia is their justification for choosing him. But as Hole uncovers evidence in the ambassador’s murder, he discovers their true expectation was that he would fail and all the secrets remain hidden.

Hole is determined to stay away from the bottle, but as his ghosts continue to haunt him and new regrets are added to his toppling pile, the siren’s song plays louder, becoming harder and harder to resist.

Government construction contracts, pedophilia, and gambling make up the complex network of events in Nesbø’s tightly woven, adrenalin-inducing plot. The sights and sounds of Thailand are as convincing as Nesbø’s native Norway and as integral to the story.

Hole’s supporting cast is a colorful array of dynamic characters, none of which is exempt from the cloud of suspicion or the possibility of an untimely death.

While elements of the first Harry Hole novel arise in Cockroaches, they do not impact the reader’s ability to understand the plot. Just enough background is offered so their role in Hole’s character—and thus his motivations--is clear and the momentum of the story remains unimpeded.

Fans of the series will enjoy this early entry loaded with dark humor and explosive plot twists. Rookies can make their introduction to a young Harry Hole and learn why he’s an international sensation.

Cockroaches is available in trade paperback (ISBN: 9780345807151) from Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. There is also an unabridged audio (ISBN: 9780553397673), narrated by John Lee, available from Random House Audio.


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