After his success in Australia, detective Harry Hole is summoned to Thailand to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador. Found in a seedy hotel, known to be frequented by prostitutes, the ambassador’s family are reluctant to talk and are clearly hiding some secrets of their own. When Harry finds some vital CCTV footage, only for the person who gave it to him disappear, he realises that there may be more to this case than meets the eye.
After being slightly disappointed with The Bat, but being assured that the series gets better, I read Cockroaches with a touch of trepidation. Although I know that this still isn’t one of Jo Nesbo’s most well-liked books, I did enjoy this one a lot more as, unlike the previous book, there was more plot and less filler. The book starts with Harry, again, being sent out to solve a murder in another country, this time one that has the potential to be politically sensitive – a strange appointment seeing as, after events of the previous book, Harry seems intent on drinking himself into oblivion! It is clear that Harry’s personality is starting to emerge and, as a result, I liked him much more than in The Bat.
Dealing with the seedier sides of Thailand, namely prostitution and paedophilia, Cockroaches is, at times, an unpleasant read, and is occasionally fairly graphic. These scenes are vital, however, in helping you to build up a true picture of the circumstances Harry finds himself in. I did find that the plot was occasionally hard to follow as I tried to remember how each character fitted in to the story. As a consequence, I was nowhere near working out who the guilty party was but was happy with the explanation.
Cockroaches is a big improvement on the previous book and I am looking forward to reading The Redbreast next.