Friday, February 03, 2017

Review: The Bat by Jo Nesbo

Title: The Bat
Author: Jo Nesbo
Series: Harry Hole, #1
Published: July 2013, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Format: Paperback, 369 pages
Source: Personal copy

Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.

My thoughts: So, I'm totally late coming to the Jo Nesbo party, but better late than never, right? I know many of you have read and loved his books, so I decided to give them a chance

The benefit of coming to the series late is that I got to start when the whole series had been translated here in the US. That meant I was starting from the beginning (huge for me!!!) and I didn't have any knowledge of an older, more mature Harry. Good or bad, that's the way it was. I will say, though, that I was a bit confused that this first book was set in Australia - that threw me for a loop! But I took it for what it was and just enjoyed getting to know Harry - and what a character he is!!!

I had a feeling that even though Harry was given clear orders to just observe the investigation, he would be hard-pressed to stay on the periphery. And of course, I was right. He ends up getting involved, doing his own investigating and meeting some rather interesting characters. The case kept me intrigued and on my toes - I didn't figure out who the guilty party was until just towards the end when I had an inkling and was proven right! 

I liked that we learn a bit about Harry himself. I feel this book is set up for just that purpose and perhaps that's why it at times felt a bit slow? I'm guessing here, but for a crime novel, this didn't seem to be as paced-driven as others I have read. I'm hoping that the rest of the series picks up as I have to say I didn't love this as much as I thought I would just based on everyone's love of Jo Nesbo and even Harry Hole...please tell me it gets better if you've read this series?!? I definitely plan on reading at least the second book, but from there...I'm not sure. 

Books in this series:
  1. The Bat
  2. Cockroaches
  3. The Redbreast
  4. Nemesis
  5. The Devil's Star
  6. The Redeemer
  7. The Snowman
  8. The Leopard
  9. Phantom
  10. Police
  11. The Thirst - due out May 2017       


  1. Kristin, although I don't read a lot of this genre, this sounds like a scary crime series, starting with The Bat. Excellent review.

  2. The English translations started with the third book.....for a reason. Nesbo really hits his stride with the Redbreast. Everything about it is more intense than its two predecessors - the plot, pacing, villains, shocks, etc. It is an exceptional book and, in my opinion, more reflective of the series as a whole than the first two books. My advice - either slog through Cockroaches if you're a completist or skip ahead to the third book. But don't give up on Nesbo! After The Redbreast you'll see what all the fuss is about.


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