Having been to the Thai capital a few times, I wanted to read about what alternatives ‘Cockroaches’ could offer from a Scandinavian perspective about the bustling city that is constantly buzzing with traffic sounds and intoxicated with the fumes of motor vehicles. Here was how one of the characters Runa Molnes described the city:
“Can you feel it? The vibration? It’s the energy from everyone around us. It’s in the air. If you’re dying and you think no one can save you, just go out and stretch your arms into the air and absorb some of the energy. You can have eternal life. It’s true!”
Despite being the second book in Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø installment, ‘Cockroaches’ was only translated into English and published late last year and in my opinion is a much delayed addition to the collection.
Serving out its usual fanfare of Nordic noir that is delicious and exhilarating, Detective Hole was sent on an overseas assignment to investigate the case of the Norwegian ambassador found murdered in a seedy Bangkok motel, where he opened up Pandora’s Box to sink his toes into the sex and sleaze that the Buddhist country is notorious for.
Just like the indefatigable cockroach that appears at every unsuspecting nook and cranny, the bad guys in the book pervade, with a new one sprouting out when the other is uncovered.
‘That’s a miracle,’ Harry said. ‘I was convinced the only insects that survived in this town were cockroaches.’
‘Some of the good ones always survive,’ she said, carefully lifting the net. She released the dragonfly and it flew over the pool with a low buzzing noise.
‘Aren’t cockroaches good?’
‘Yuk, they’re revolting!’
‘The don’t have to be bad because they’re revolting.’
‘Maybe not. But I don’t think they’re good. It’s like they just exist.’
‘They just exist,’ Harry repeated, not sarcastically, more reflectively.
‘They’re made like that. Made for us to want to tread on them. If there weren’t so many of them.’
As a massive fan of Jo Nesbø as you can read from my previous reviews HERE, HERE and HERE, I found that ‘Cockroaches’ has a much sleeker content than his debut novel ‘The Bat.’ The setting was more vividly described and weaved seamlessly into the story such that readers are effortlessly plugged into the scene. There were also various sophisticated efforts into creating red herrings that were big pluses for adding on to the mysterious circumstances of the crime novel.
Below are snippets of some photos that I took during a trip to Bangkok. Enjoy and let me know what you think if you have read this book!