The Bat

Paperback | October 9, 2012

byJo Nesbo

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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.

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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 ...

JO NESBO is a musician, songwriter, economist and author. His first crime novel featuring Harry Hole was published in Norway in 1997 and was an instant hit, winning the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel (an accolade shared with Peter Høeg, Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6.04 × 0.83 inPublished:October 9, 2012Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307361012

ISBN - 13:9780307361011

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read. Excellent. Many unexpected twists and turns.
Date published: 2014-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must have Scandinavian blood... Thoroughly enjoyed reading Stieg Larsson. Added Jussi Adler-Olsen and now Jo Nesbo to my reading list. A consistent edge to the flawed characters and a world where happy endings don't exist but life goes on.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Bat Found the plot really difficult to get into.
Date published: 2013-08-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Bat Really got into it but the last quarter of the book was hard going.
Date published: 2013-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Finally Book 1, in the Harry Hole mystery series It is grand time, for the publisher to give Mr. Nesbo’s admirers a chance to see where the series all began. Going into the back catalogue they finally provided us with “The Bat” his debut novel. Most fans have meet Inspector Harry Hole in the previous novels so it will not be a surprise to see that Harry, the best known characters in contemporary crime fiction has stayed to same old self. This is a fascinating book, filling the gaps in the protagonist biography. It all started in Sydney where he has come to observe and lend assistance on a high profile case, the murder of a young Norwegian woman. It wouldn't have made sense not to get involved in fact it would have made a very boring story. And so the plot has Harry delve into Sydney underbelly working alongside Aboriginal Detective Andrew Kensington. The indigenous culture features prominently and provides an interesting glimpse in the past wrongs committed against the people, at times the narrative sounds a bit too preachy for my taste but nonetheless is quite informative. The pacing started slowly, more a feeling of a travelogue at first but it moved to a brisk stroke mid-way the investigation while Harry must not only fight his own demons but also outwit a sadistic serial killer before he makes a mistake, a fatal error which will come to hunt him forever. Mr. Nesbo introduces an array of red-herrings, twists and violence, enough blood and thunder to have kept me turning pages although I admit wondering where the plot was leading. I needed to pay close attention for this moody and quite fragmented story that kept going back and forth between the murder investigation and Harry’s personal side and his past experiences. But everything is kept together by the many interesting characters and by their interactions. Harry has been well developed from the start, a realist that never forgets that his dark shadow is close by…..This is a great series not to miss. “The Bat” was awarded with the most prestigious crime writing award in Norway in 1997 as well as the premier crime writing award in Scandinavia in 1998.
Date published: 2013-07-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Was Expecting More You can find this review and others on my book review blog Blood Rose Books ( I was really really excited to see that this book had been translated to English as I was searching for it for a long time when I first started seeing reviews of Nesbo's books the Snowman. I always like to start at the beginning of a series to see how a character changes and progresses over time so I was shocked that it took this long for the Bat to be released in English. The very first Harry Hole novel, Jo Nesbo takes Harry all the way to Australia to help solve a gruesome murder: Harry Hole is sent to Australia where a young Norwegian girl who was living and working there has been murdered. Harry is definitely the outsider looking in in the police department, but Harry has the past and cases under his belt to be a great help to this case. Harry is able to find a key piece of evidence that links cases together that even the Australian police did not see but just as Harry becomes involved in the investigation the murder numbers are going to start climbing. There is someone out there that has a thing for young blonde women and no one is truly safe from this serial killer. I so want to fall in love with this book and Harry, but I am not going to lie it was a struggle to get into this book. I found the over all pace of this book slow and at times fragmented as Nesbo goes back and forth between the murder investigation, to Harry’s personal life and Harry’s past that I felt there was not consistency in the book. Part of me even questions why Harry was sent to Austrialia in the first place. Yes there was a death of a young Norwegian girl, Inger Holter, but did the Norwegian police really think that the Australian police were incapable of solving it themselves? Not exactly a flattering depiction of the Australian police. I had a hard time connecting to Harry as a character, I just couldn’t seem to get any form of connection to him. I find that often his emotions were down played, except for the ones that involved in his dreams or his past. I really think that this had to do with the slow beginning of the book that I really could not become invested in him as a character as there were times when I would put the book down and read something else. I guess I never put the consistent time into the book to get invested in him. Yes he has addiction problems and is portrayed as a somewhat flawed character that is trying to make a change, but this nothing new in this genre; it actually seems more typical now more than ever. I just never found anything overly interesting in Harry as a character. I think that Nesbo does an amazing job of showing what it would be like for a Norwegian detective who comes to Australia. How he would act, how the detective in Australia would act with a stranger in their mist, all these points were well done. It was interesting to see how Harry dealt with cultural shock that awaited him. You can tell that Nesbo put a lot of effort into explaining the aboriginal cultures and history within Australia and racism that still exists there. It was almost like Nesbo put so much into this research and wanting to explain Australia (maybe because his target audience when this book first came out was in Europe) that the mystery, suspense and thrillers are not introduced till more than half way through the book. It almost felt like that Nesbo was trying to redeem the first half of the book where it was lack luster with the second half of the book where all the blood is spilled. Overall you can tell while reading this novel that it is this is a debut novel and I'm undecided about continuing to read this series. I have heard nothing but great things about the later books in this series and I think that maybe Nesbo is an author that got better with time (which really only makes sense) but as a debut novel I only found this book okay at best. If Nesbo had not built up his name before this I would be willing to let Harry Hole go, but there may just be something here that I might be missing. I think people who have loved Nesbo and Harry will be disappointed with this book and I don’t think that people who are reading about Harry Hole for the first time will be encouraged to carry on. Cheers!!!!
Date published: 2013-06-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not my kinda thing An alright book,I'm not really into procedurals though,just not my genre of choice.
Date published: 2013-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bat Recommend all Jo Nesbo books. Read in sequence. Very exciting.
Date published: 2013-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Bat by Jo Nesbo First book in the Harry Hole series - liked it enough to read the next one.
Date published: 2013-04-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The Bat Too much rambling and repetition. The ending was too long. Otherwise a readable book.
Date published: 2013-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good start! This is the 1st in a series from Jo Nesbo with his character, Harry Hole. I found the book a quick read and a pretty good story. I look forward to reading the next in the series to see how Harry's character continues to develop.
Date published: 2013-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love me some Harry Hole Great series, great author. Always enjoyable.
Date published: 2013-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The First Harry Hole Reason for Reading: I've been waiting ages for them to finally publish the first book in this series in English! Harry Hole's time in Australia is continually referred to throughout the series and it has been frustrating as an English reader to not have the first book in this series available to read. Now that it is finally here and I've read it, I really wish it had been there to start with as it really does fill in some blanks and add insight to Hole's character that have been missing to the reader who has not experienced this first glimpse of Harry. I'll admit it was a little weird going back to this new, fresh Harry. At first I was in wonderment as I kept thinking, "wow, this is not the Harry of the later books at all." The guy was actually happy and eager for the first part of the book! There was a secret in him though and it was eventually revealed and we finally find out the story of what really happens to him in Australia that adds to his burden of grief and guilt that he carries with him for the rest of his life. The mystery itself was superb. I was thrilled to not have figured out the killer in this one and we are given plenty of suspects. The murders are slightly gruesome with a couple of doozies added in for the chilling effect. At a certain point the story takes a turn to the dark and Harry Hole readers will eventually find themselves in familiar territory. As with all Nesbo books, once I started it was hard to put the book down and I can understand how this one won an award and set Nesbo's career as a writer on full speed. The story does take place 100% in Australia so it doesn't have the Scandinavian allure that the others have and Harry is like a fish out of water in this setting for readers who know the character well but it's something a little different for us also and fantastic to see this character's beginnings. New readers of Nesbo should certainly start here for full enjoyment of the character development. Book 2 will be published soon and then finally, English readers will be able to read the series in order. Great first book!
Date published: 2012-12-07

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Editorial Reviews

"Jo Nesbo, of Norway--not Sweden--gets a pass in one regard, at least: he published the first of his 8 Detective Harry Hole thrillers in 1997, long before Mikael Blomkvist set eyes on Lisbeth Salander. Like Larsson's, his novels are maddeningly addictive: be prepared for more whirlwind rides through those unpronounceable Scandinavian street names." —Vanity Fair“A first-rate whodunit…. A twisty, fast-paced concoction stocked with ample red herrings…. This origin tale is both a groundbreaking operation and a sumptuous, satisfying meal.” —Winnipeg Free Press “Australia’s isolation proves the perfect backdrop for the offbeat, chain-smoking, alcoholic loner living with a secret that could destroy his career…. Nesbø…has been touted as the next Stieg Larsson. It’s an obvious comparison, and Nesbø is just as accomplished a storyteller.” —NOW (Toronto) NNNN “Even with this first book Nesbo’s command of the idiom is completely in place—there is absolutely no sense that the writer was finding his feet and aficionados will be very pleased to slide this on to their bookshelves alongside the other Harry Hole novels.” —Daily Express “It may take readers of The Bat a few chapters to adjust to the brighter, younger, more energetic Harry of novel one…. The sunny setting of Australia makes a change from Oslo’s dark streets and imbues the novel with Antipodean charm…. For fans of uber-cool Jo Nesbø, The Bat is a must-read, but book one is also a great place to start on one of the twenty-first century’s most thrilling Scandinavian crime series.” —TVNZ (New Zealand)