So first off, I know I’m technically writing Jo Nesbo’s name wrong. He’s from Norway, so he’s got this cross symbol in the ‘o’ of Nesbo (you know the one). I highly doubt WordPress has any way of inserting this symbol easily into a post, so I’m just going to let it go. But I am aware of what I’m missing, and I feel bad about it, really, I dØ.
This is the first Jo Nesbo book I’ve ever read, although I’ve heard about him enough times that I had a general idea of what I was getting into. His books are dark, and creepy crime novels, but because he’s a Scandanavian writer, there’s something extra weird about his stories. He is constantly compared to writers like Stieg Larsson, simply because they come from the same place, but also because many crime writers from that part of the world seem to have a penchant for psychological criminals and their deepest, darkest secrets. Jussi Adler-Olsen is another example of this kind of writer, and surprise-he’s Danish. Many people joke that because these author’s countries are so far north and cold all the time, that they’re bound to keep writing about these horrific crimes because everyone goes crazy being forced indoors for that long. However, being Canadian, I’m reluctant to make that conclusion for obvious reasons.
Enough talk of this depressing cold! Cockroaches actually takes place mainly in Thailand. So, (thankfully) oppressive heat plays a big role in the storyline. However, that’s where the fun ends, because a lot of people die in this book, in many different and gruesome ways. Harry Hole, who is a returning character in Nesbo’s books, is a bit of a damaged detective (most detectives are, in case you haven’t noticed, and I have a ton of blog posts to prove it), and you don’t get the sense that he’s really even that competent, because many other characters are quick to point out his faults. However, this is the second in the series of many Harry Hole books, so I’m sure his character gets developed further-Hole has quite a following across the globe, and this article goes so far as to say that Nesbo is a ‘rock star’ in his own country, which I wholeheartedly believe. Not only is he a famous author, he’s also a musician. Damn these multi-talented people!
What did I think of the book? I enjoyed it, Hole’s character was interesting enough and although the crime and plot was complicated, it wasn’t so difficult that I couldn’t follow along and understand the detective’s reasoning once he (spoiler alert!) solved the crime. In fact, if my earlier review of Dean Koontz piqued your interest, Jo Nesbo is the next step up (or down, quite frankly) for people like you. For someone like me who enjoys a cozy mystery, it comes as no surprise that these bloody crime novels aren’t my first choice of reading material, but I still like to read them every once in awhile, with the lights on.
I realize that I’ve been reading quite a few dark books lately, and I don’t want you to think that I’ve gone off the deep end with this cold weather and given up all hope. So, I promise the next book I review on here won’t involve any gory crimes. At least, not any gory crimes that make up the main storyline of the book. They may come up in a sub-plot but I can’t be held accountable for every little narrative thread can I?