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John

Chester, VT, United States | Member Since 2010

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 39 purchased in 2014
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  • The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (918)
    Performance
    (794)
    Story
    (785)

    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.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Probably the best of this remarkable series."
    "Keep them coming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Bat the most enjoyable?

    Great storytelling and perhaps the most complex protagonist since Sherlock himself. Nesbo's Hole, however you pronounce it, sees all even through the tragic alcohol haze he inevitably falls prey to. The plot is never predictable, the characters are never one dimensional and the writing is crisp and with the right balance of humour and gritty reality.


    What other book might you compare The Bat to and why?

    Obviously the rest of the Hole thrillers, without being as formulaic as most of the successful writers of the genre. But I like the comparison to Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko. Both protagonists persevere despite corruption, incompetence and fatal character flaws.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett – was your favorite?

    It was hard at first to listen without the bass, sober voice of the perfectly matched Robin Sachs. He seems to bring a little more gravitas to the characterization. But Sean Barrett is on my top five narrator's list, and with his ability with accents, was able to bring out the personalities of the secondary players, particularly the Aborigines. So that after the first few chapters, it mattered not a wit.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The great white Harry ...down under.


    Any additional comments?

    What a pleasant surprise so soon after the release of The Phantom. I hope the plan is to bring all of Nesbo's work to audioland, there is no one better out there. Keep them coming, but make sure it is Sachs or Barrett doing the storytelling.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Phantom

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (614)
    Performance
    (514)
    Story
    (512)

    When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong - fleeing the traumas of life as a cop - he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn't help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets.

    Fran Murphy says: "Jo Nesbo hates Harry Hole"
    "The best just keeps getting better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are a lover of the crime/mystery genre, there is no better author at work today. Do yourself a favor and start at the beginning, you will better appreciate both the character of Harry Hole, but fascinate in the completeness of each book and the Nesbo's crafting plots that don't just "add on" but actually create a greater depth and complexity without forcing it in any way.


    What other book might you compare Phantom to and why?

    I can only compare this work to the other Scandinavian genius, Stieg Larsson. As different as they are in their flawed characters, Lizbeth Salander and Harry Hole are both so engaging and tragic in their pursuit of an ideal as they battle their demons.


    What does Robin Sachs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Listening to Robin Sachs become Harry is like watching Alec Guinness become George Smiley. He so embodies Hole's fatalistic and tortured search for the truth and justice with the tone and pace of his narration, that the need for accents or voice modulations become superfluous. Very few readers can get away with this, as differentiating characters without them is an art. Sachs is one of those narrators I will seek out, despite the mediocrity of some for whom he applies his craft.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending is transcendent. It could not have been anticipated and without giving anything away, it is proof again of Nesbo's genius and refusal to take the safe route. And there is just enough ambiguity to keep the devoted hopeful of more to come.


    Any additional comments?

    I have read, rather listened, to virtually every Euro/crime novelist. The classic and contemporary Brits and all the "young turk" Scandies. The only exceptions being some good writers that some publishers have shackled with unlistenable narrators. This pairing of Nesbo and Sachs is the polar opposite. Great narration of great writing creates nearly flawless storytelling. I envy those of you who haven't discovered Jo Nesbo. Hopefully it won't take Scorcese's adaptation to make you a believer.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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