Review: The Bat

Posted 31 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Bat
By: Jo Nesbø
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group via NetGalley

The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole.

Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.

I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this novel from the publishers via NetGalley. It came at a good time too as I was in the mood for a mystery. The only novel I’ve read by Jo Nesbo was Headhunters (review) which I really enjoyed so I was looking forward to reading more by him. This book will be released (or re-released, rather) on July 2nd.

The Bat is an interesting introduction to Inspector Harry Hole, who is sent to Sydney, Australia to observe a murder case. The contrast was immediately striking: here is a man from a northern European country observing a case in sunny, laid-back Australia. It was fascinating to read about Scandinavian tourists in Australia, the status of the Aborigine on the continent and gay culture in Sydney as well as some bits of history and life in the interior of the country.

The case itself was a slow burn, in part because there are a lot of characters that are introduced and that play a role either in the case itself or in Harry’s personal life. It’s a head-scratcher and had me wondering right until the end.

A large portion of the novel was spent introducing the reader to Harry Hole himself. While he’s a decent inspector who can get the job done, he is riddled with all kinds of emotional and personal baggage that hampers his ability to work at times and form strong relationships with other people. It makes him a very three-dimensional character who clearly has to work through his issues but sometimes it felt like his personal story/drama was taking up more time and attention from the case.

Overall The Bat was an interesting read and a good introduction to the character of Harry Hole. Fans of crime mysteries and suspense novels will want to check this book out. I look forward to checking out the other books in this series sometime in the future.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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2 Responses to “Review: The Bat”

    • I think I remember seeing that title on the shelves; I had been curious about the Harry Hole series for a long time so I was glad that I was able to read this title. Hope you enjoy it!

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