Available in English at last! The first book in the remarkable, best-selling Harry Hole series from Jo Nesbø.
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 a highly intelligent killer who is bent on total destruction.
©2013 Jo Nesbø (P)2013 Random House Audio
Advance praise from the U.K. for The Bat
“Even with this first book Nesbø’s command of the idiom is completely in place—there is absolutely no sense that the writer was finding his feet and aficionados will be very pleased to slide this on to their bookshelves alongside the other Harry Hole novels.” --The Daily Express
“It is fantastic to see a younger Harry, a more loquacious Harry. . . . [Nesbø is] a terrific writer who knows how to build a story, taking you slowly to the top of a rollercoaster before sending you hurtling towards a solution that you never see coming.” --Scottish Express
“Nesbø is already taking on the clichés, ruthlessly tearing them apart and coming up with new riffs. . . . Most satisfyingly, we can now see the organic shape that Nesbø always intended his work to take.” --The Independent (London)
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I’ve read several books in the Harry Hole series, and so I was interested in finally reading this, the first in the series. I was always curious as to why it hadn’t yet been translated into English.
Perhaps the reason it took so long to bring this to the English speaking public is because it’s not as good as his other books? I might not have wanted to continue the series if I’d started with this book, BUT since I’d become acquainted with Harry Hole, I wanted to know more about his history and his beginnings. I did get to know a lot more about him and why his personality is as dark as it is.
I didn’t think the plot was as exciting or as good as the other books I’ve read by Nesbo. I also wasn’t very interested in all the philosophical asides that he threw in. A couple of them were interesting, but I started to get tired of them, and they started to seem like filler.
Wow, I just looked and there are quite a few I’d need to read to get to the one I started with, The Snowman. Also, it looks like #2 in the series, The Cockroaches, still hasn’t been translated. I’ll take a break from Harry Hole and see if #2 comes around in English, and then perhaps I’ll try again. Hopefully, Nesbo gets better with each book!
• In The Bat (1997), Hole is sent to Sydney, Australia to investigate the murder of a B-list celebrity.
• In The Cockroaches (1998), Hole is sent to Thailand to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador.
• In The Redbreast (2000), Hole is promoted to inspector in the Oslo Police District and tracks an insane assassin with a vendetta against the Norwegian Royal Family.
• In Nemesis (2002), Hole investigates a fatal bank robbery and becomes implicated in the apparent murder of an ex-girlfriend.
• In The Devil's Star (2003), Hole suspects another detective, Tom Waaler, of being a murderous arms smuggler responsible for the death of Hole's former partner.
• In The Redeemer (2005), Hole is on the trail of a Croat hitman who kills a Salvation Army officer during a Christmas street concert.
• In The Snowman (2007), Hole struggles to identify Norway's first serial killer.
• In The Leopard (2009), Hole returns from a self-imposed exile in Hong Kong and unofficially investigates a serial killer.
• In Phantom (2011), Hole again returns from Hong Kong to look into a murder apparently committed by his would-be son, Oleg. His investigation draws him into Oslo's drug scene.
Nesbo's fixation on Harry Hole's alcoholism just destroys this first novel of the series. And the whores, fights, and poor storyline. You can see the latent writing skills that get progressively better with each sequel. I've sought out and read all the subsequent Harry Hole novels before finding this audiobook (except Cockroaches), and they've been great. (The latest "Police" is a masterpiece".) But, if I had read this one first, I would never have gone further. It's THAT bad.
I've already read all the others in the series. All are good, some great! This one is just bad.
I recommend avoiding this one, and start out with the next in the series, which is "Cockroaches". I haven't found "Cockroaches" in audio yet, the next one after that is "Redbreast", which was very good.
We are introduced to Harry Hole....making sense of all the references ( in subsequent books) to the events that occur in this first book.
John Lee is one of my favorite narrators. The anticipation I feel when looking for a new book is always peaked when John Lee is the narrator. Wonderful Norwegian accents....
This a a great mystery, complicated, unexpected and you wont see the ending coming.
What an absurd conclusion- *Plot Warning* The main character (cop) sends his *girlfriend* into a "sting" operation with a serial killer and rapist... Oh, and the police chief authorizes the operation? I don’t think so!
AND much much less black than the later books when Harry gets more and more depressed and eventually ... well. You'll see if you get into the series. John Lee is great, the characters are fun and diverse. (When I say fun, it's a murder investigation so it's not a light book), but I liked many of them and Harry Hole showed sides that eventually disappear.
I had already read Books 3 - 10, which were generally better than The Bat. But, this is a good introduction to Harry Hole. Not great, but some of the later books are great, and this is an enjoyable read.
I purchased this book because it was first in the series. Am listening to the end to get the background, but the narration is distracting because of the reader's odd intonations. Sometimes it's quite good, and sometimes it is very sing-song. I did enjoy the mystery story, but, because of the narrative stylings, had to struggle / focus to not lose the threads.
Gripping Crime Drama
The crimes were never really solved till everything comes together. Then it all made perfect sense
Mr. Lee is my favorite narrator. He reads with restrained passion. He also speaks Austrailian superbly
I'd just finished "In a Sunburnt Country" by Bill Bryson. His travels thru the land down under. The Bat takes place in Austrailia so I got to stay in character for this book or in country you might say
Jo Nesbo's first Harry Hole novel is great example of modern detective fiction. While it doesn't really break the mold of alcoholic damaged detective goes through the seedy underbelly of (insert city here), it still grips the listener and makes you actually feel for the characters. I won't say that you'll fall in love with them, but Harry's interactions with them seems organic and keeps the suspension of disbelief alive throughout the book. Some of the plot points seem to have poor explanation, like one didn't get the whole story behind them before Nesbo put them to page, but that might just be me. Overall, a good start to a series and I look forward to more adventures and mysteries with this series.
(SPOILER WARNING) The description of Baurguetta's (sp?) murder inspired true dread, and the thoughts in Harry's mind as they drag the waters was beautifully done. A true verbal still life picture into a scene a dread, misery, and loss of something that felt like it was never truly there.
John Lee did an exceptional job. His Australian accent seemed quite authentic to me. I will say however that two characters did sound almost exactly alike, but this issue rarely rears his head in the reading.
No, unfortunately. However, that just may be my personality. Always moving, always listening.
Probably not. Not because it's a bad book, but because there's too many other stories that I'd like to listen to.
It's a double edged sword, I like the Australian history and fables, but it doesn't really add too much to the story. It pads the length of the book out, but it's not critical for the story telling. Harry Hole is going to be an interesting character in his future stories, as this book give us a good bit of what makes him tick.
I really like his Australian accents, he gave a great voice to the setting and characters. I can't compare him to Robin Sachs, but Mr. Lee does a good job bringing the story to life.
If you like the Millennium trilogy, this is a great series to get involved with.
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