The Bat by Jo Nesbo
Originally Published: 1997
The Bat by Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo (pronounced “you nesbaugh”) is the first in the Harry Hole (pronounced Harry Hoo-Leh) series. But really, who cares about the correct pronunciation — the book was good, just read it!
Although written in 1997, it was not translated to English until 2012, after a few of the other books in the series. For this reason, there seems to be a lot of criticism about Nesbo’s writing style (apparently it has improved greatly), and a lot of people suggest skipping this book altogether. First, I don’t skip books, and second, when it comes to books, I make up my own mind!
In this debut novel, we are introduced to Norwegian police officer Harry Hole, who is sent to Australia to help investigate the murder of a young Norwegian girl. He is to assist Homicide Detective (and Australian Aboriginal), Andrew Kensington. Through Andrew, we travel through Australia, learn some of its history and folklore, and are introduced to everything from drug dealers, to prostitutes, to homosexuals, to clowns. Andrew and Harry discover they may be looking for a serial killer somewhere in that mix.
Meanwhile, Harry falls in love.
Nesbo has created a very interesting character in Harry. He is a very likeable man, but with a number of faults which are hard to overlook. His past will haunt him for a long time. The other characters are actually quite deep as well. The plot had enough twists that you weren’t sure who did it until close to the end. You can also tell that there was a lot of research done for the novel, and I found some of the stories told to be really interesting.
Overall, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
Read: May 2017
Favorite Quotes from The Bat:
‘The bat is the Aboriginal symbol of death. Did you know that?’
‘People are afraid of what they don’t understand. And hate what they’re afraid of.’
‘Everything you do leaves traces, doesn’t it. The life you’ve lived is written all over you, for those who can read.’
About the Author: Norwegian Jo Nesbo is a musician, songwriter, economist and author. This book, The Bat, 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 Stieg Larsson).