The Bat by Jo Nesbø
Publication Date: July 2013 (Originally published: 1997)
My Rating: ✹✹✹✹
“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.”
“Everything you do leaves traces, doesn’t it. The life you’ve lived is written all over you, for those who can read.”
The Bat is my first Nesbø novel that I’ve read. I’ve heard some amazing things about his stories and felt it was about time I gave them a chance. I think it’s safe to say I will be buying the rest of the books in the Harry Hole series, as well as his other stand alone novels. I’m hooked, which is why I gave The Bat a 4 star rating – it would have been 5 star but I have a feeling that another of the Harry Hole series will be more deserving of a 5 star rating.
The Bat is set in Australia and introduces us to Norwegian Detective Harry Hole (Hoo-ley), a brilliant, intelligent cop with some rather questionable methods of investigation. Harry is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of a Norwegian girl, Inger Holter. Upon arrival Harry meets Andrew Kensington, an Australian Aboriginal officer who he is partnered with during his stay in Sydney. Andrew tells Harry many stories and introduces him to some of his friends, some of whom he regards as family, who also tell him stories.
Harry also meets Birgitta, a young Swedish woman who he grows very fond of. Harry, who turns out to have a few demons of his own – recovering alcoholic for one, falls of the wagon and relapses after Andrew ends up dead. Even though Harry only knew him a week they had become good friends. So, in order to deal with his loss he welcomes his drink of choice, Jim Bean, back into his life. I have never known anything like a Harry Hole drinking binge!
It turns out this is not a stand alone case, and they are in fact looking for a serial killer and rapist. The stories told and the people he meets along the way help Harry with the investigation in the end as it helps him see things in a new light and from a new perspective.
This book had me hooked from the start, with its enticing characters and twisty plot line. It had me guessing and second guessing the whole way through, leading me to different conclusions. In the end I was not disappointed. All my questions were answered and I enjoyed Nesbø’s strong writing and story telling techniques. On a whole, Harry Hole is a very “likeable b*stard”. A very well earned 4 stars and highly recommended for those who enjoy a good crime novel.
About The Author:
Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. As of March 2014 more than 3 million copies of his novels have been sold in Norway, and his work has been translated into over 40 languages, selling 23 million copies.