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THE BAT by Jo Nesbo
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THE BAT (original 1997; edition 2012)

by Jo Nesbo

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1,184726,743 (3.42)80
Member:smik
Title:THE BAT
Authors:Jo Nesbo
Info:Random House Canada (2012), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Australian setting, Harry Hole, murder mystery, Norwegian author

Work details

The Bat by Jo Nesbo (1997)

2013 (13) 2014 (7) Aborigines (9) audiobook (7) Australia (64) crime (81) crime fiction (48) detective (31) ebook (17) fiction (96) Harry Hole (79) Kindle (16) Krim (11) Kriminalroman (9) murder (22) mystery (85) norsk litteratur (9) Norway (54) Norwegian (28) novel (10) police procedural (12) read (20) read in 2012 (7) read in 2013 (13) serial killer (11) series (19) suspense (9) Sydney (26) thriller (36) to-read (17)

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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Blurb.......

HARRY IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH.

Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can.

HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO GET TOO INVOLVED.

When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry.

HE MIGHT JUST BE THE NEXT VICTIM.

Appearing in English for the first time, The Bat is the legendary first novel from the worldwide phenomenon Jo Nesbo.


This was my first taste of the Scandinavian writer, Jo Nesbo - my OCD-like tendencies having caused me to spurn earlier opportunities to read him, in favour of his waiting for his first published book, The Bat to become available at my local library.
Having collected it Thursday evening, I read a chapter on Friday night, got properly stuck into it on Saturday afternoon and finished it Sunday evening.
First thoughts – better than average, without blowing me away totally. Perhaps most debuts aren’t the best work an author can produce and his later books are stronger, although this did win the 1998 Glass Key Award – for best Scandinavian Novel of the year.
Harry Hole – Nesbo’s Norwegian policeman pitches up in Sydney to assist in the investigation into the violent death of a young Norwegian woman. After initially only being assigned an observer role in the investigation, Harry and his Aboriginal babysitter, Andrew Kensington are drawn deeper into the pursuit of a serial rapist-killer.
The novel immerses Hole into Sydney’s notorious King Cross area, full of seedy bars, strip joints and prostitution. Kensington befriending Harry gives Nesbo the opportunity to provide some background history to the difficulties between the Aboriginal indigents and white-Australia, as well as imparting some knowledge on some Aboriginal cultural beliefs and legends.
Whilst I enjoyed the book in the main, particularly Nesbo’s ensemble of characters, as well as the violence that seemed never too far away from Hole, I wasn’t totally convinced by Harry’s subsequent phoenix-like rise from the ashes of his latest alcoholic lapse.
Where Nesbo did score points with me was with his readiness to dispense permanently with key characters during the execution of the investigation.
I’m looking forward to more reading more from Nesbo, though can’t decide whether to wait for the second Harry Hole instalment when it is published in English later this year – The Cockroach, or skip ahead to The Redbreast ( Hole - number 3), or alternately the standalone book Headhunters.
4 from 5
Reserved and borrowed, after sitting in a queue of 9 from Leighton Buzzard library. ( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Whose idea was it to take Jo Nesbo's very popular Harry Hole series and begin to translate it in English but start it at the third one, The Redbreast, instead of The Bat? That's the reason why I'm so behind. I started at The Redbreast but refused to read Nemesis or any of the series until the first one was translated. I finally got my wish.

In the first Harry Hole novel, Hole, of the Oslo Police, is dispatched to Australia to help the local authorities solve the rape and murder of a young Norwegian woman named Inger Holtman, a minor celebrity who was the host a children's show. What looks like what could be an open and shut case as all signs point to a local drug dealer named Evans White. It seems that Evans has the nasty tendency of paying for prostitutes, making them wear blonde wigs and choking them while having sex with them. It's the way of Inger Holtman was killed.

However, looks are incredibly deceiving when Hole sees a pattern emerge showing the earmarks of a serial killer. From that moment on, he descends into a case filled with misdirections, drugs, dissection, and racism.

The Bat was really good. It sure did help to get a lot of this background information on Harry: his former love Crystal, his alcoholism, his recovery, the car accident that killed his partner that was quieted by the Oslo Poluce force, etc. It made him so well rounded but flawed that I was constantly rooting for him.

I think I can make a general blanket statement that the Scandinavian crime novels are dark and twisted and complex and verbose and intricate. Yet, somehow, totally believable. I totally got the perp's motives and methodology. I can see why they were a psychopath. Also, as outlandish as it can seem, out of context and even in context, the demise of the perp was like huh? Okay, that does seem right.

I also liked all of the Australian legends and mythologies that were rampant in the book. They made a lasting impression on me. If there's anything I'll take away from this novel, it would be that the Bat is the Aboriginal symbol of death. I can never see Batman the same way again. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
Whose idea was it to take Jo Nesbo's very popular Harry Hole series and begin to translate it in English but start it at the third one, The Redbreast, instead of The Bat? That's the reason why I'm so behind. I started at The Redbreast but refused to read Nemesis or any of the series until the first one was translated. I finally got my wish.

In the first Harry Hole novel, Hole, of the Oslo Police, is dispatched to Australia to help the local authorities solve the rape and murder of a young Norwegian woman named Inger Holtman, a minor celebrity who was the host a children's show. What looks like what could be an open and shut case as all signs point to a local drug dealer named Evans White. It seems that Evans has the nasty tendency of paying for prostitutes, making them wear blonde wigs and choking them while having sex with them. It's the way of Inger Holtman was killed.

However, looks are incredibly deceiving when Hole sees a pattern emerge showing the earmarks of a serial killer. From that moment on, he descends into a case filled with misdirections, drugs, dissection, and racism.

The Bat was really good. It sure did help to get a lot of this background information on Harry: his former love Crystal, his alcoholism, his recovery, the car accident that killed his partner that was quieted by the Oslo Poluce force, etc. It made him so well rounded but flawed that I was constantly rooting for him.

I think I can make a general blanket statement that the Scandinavian crime novels are dark and twisted and complex and verbose and intricate. Yet, somehow, totally believable. I totally got the perp's motives and methodology. I can see why they were a psychopath. Also, as outlandish as it can seem, out of context and even in context, the demise of the perp was like huh? Okay, that does seem right.

I also liked all of the Australian legends and mythologies that were rampant in the book. They made a lasting impression on me. If there's anything I'll take away from this novel, it would be that the Bat is the Aboriginal symbol of death. I can never see Batman the same way again. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
A Norwegian national is killed while working in Australia and Detective Harry Hole is sent to assist in the investigation. It’s not long before her death is linked to a string of murders and it’s believed a serial killer is on the loose. Can Harry and company track down and stop the murderer before he kills again?

Like seemingly everyone on the planet, I enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and after I closed the book on the final novel, I began hearing that this Jo Nesbo guy was someone I should check out. I was hesitant at first as it felt like the publishing world was trying to cash in on Larsson’s success by quickly throwing out the first Scandinavian crime writer (similar to the influx of post-grunge music in the mid 1990s) they found in an effort to capitalize on the public’s newfound interest in Scandinavian crime. On the other hand, maybe it wasn't fair to judge Nesbo so quickly. Maybe this guy is a decent writer. Maybe Larsson opened the door for similar countrymen, giving them an opportunity to shine when the whole world was watching.

After doing a little digging, turns out Nesbo has been around a little longer than Larsson. Larsson’s Salander books hit it big in 2005 and exploded onto the worldwide literary scene in 2008. While Nesbo had been steadily writing his Harry Hole novels since the late 1990s and has achieved great success in his home country, it’s arguable that Larsson’s success played a key role in Nesbo’s breakthrough into the world stage.

When I initially decided to give Nesbo a go, I had stalled right out of the gate. Turns out that the first two novels in the Harry Hole series had yet to be translated to English. Unfortunately, I've never been comfortable with diving into a series with any novel other than the first. So, I waited. Finally, I got my hands on Harry Hole #1 (The Bat) and dug in. Maybe it was the hype or maybe I should have clued in that his publisher had forgone translating the first two novels in favor of starting with book five (The Redbreast) but I came away feeling underwhelmed.

The first half of this novel is hopelessly dull and while Nesbo throws everything on its head midway through, I felt in the end it wasn't enough to save the whole experience. Sure, while the mystery was intricately plotted and I certainly didn't foresee the identity of the killer coming, the whole lead-up to it felt flat and run of the mill.

The book is filled with countless info dumps that I’m not entirely sure are necessary to the story. Not only that, but they weighed down the pacing and were written in an uninteresting manner.

Given all the problems I had with The Bat, I’m still interested in Jo Nesbo. Judging by other reviews of subsequent releases, the series looks like it gets better. While I’m in no rush to get the second book, I can see myself picking it up down the road.

Oh, and Harry Hole.. what an awful name. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
Harry Hole is a detective from Norway, but when a Norwegian native is murdered in Australia, Harry must get on a plane to help solve the crime. The Bat is the first novel in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo and it is an introduction to Harry as well as an interesting and twisty mystery. Harry Hole is a chick magnet (and he finds plenty of women who appreciate his good looks in Australia), but he also carries some significant emotional baggage and a history of alcohol abuse. In Australia, he is paired up with an Aboriginal detective named Andrew who also harbors some dark secrets. The plot initially appears simple, and then begins to veer along unexpected paths.

Nesbo explores Aboriginal history and lore, as well as revealing some of the racism that is apparently present in Australian culture towards the Aboriginal people. His characters are well developed and he inserts some black humor into the narrative (although there were times I wondered if the humor I was seeing was real or due to the translation from Norwegian).

The Bat is an engaging first in a series novel that was not without its flaws. At times I found the pace slow, and some of the twists at the end felt a bit contrived. Despite those faults, I did enjoy the book and look forward to picking up the next novel in the series. ( )
1 vote writestuff | Feb 19, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Nesboprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Noe var galt.
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Book description
Harry is out of his depth.

Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can.

He's not supposed to get too involved.

When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry.

He might just be the next victim.

Appearing in English for the first time, The Bat is the legendary first novel from the worldwide phenomenon Jo Nesbo.

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Follows Harry Hole's efforts to solve the murder of a television celebrity whose demise is linked to a string of serial killings.

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