The Bat is a detective novel written by Jo Nesbo featuring the first appearance of Harry Hole. The book was translated by Don Bartlett and released on the 11 October 2012 by Harvill Secker. Despite being the 1st novel in the Harry Hole series this book was released in English after several other books in the series.
Norwegian police officer Harry Hole is sent to Sydney by the Royal Norwegian Police Directorate to serve as the Norwegian attaché for the Australian police's investigation into the murder of a young female Norwegian B-celebrity, Inger Holter, who was residing in Australia.
Why I read it?
I had heard a lot of things about Jo Nesbo mostly "the new Stieg Larsson" and I really loved the Millennium Trilogy. At least here in the UK Jo Nesbo has been on posters at bus shelters and in train stations for a couple of years at least (that is how I find books often). With all that I thought it was worth checking out, in the back of my mind I knew that for some reason they started translating the books part way through the season so I guess it was lucky that I decided to start when the first book became available.
What I thought
That was a hell of a read. This pretty much sums up my thoughts after getting through the first instalment of the Harry Hole series. The book cannot be described as an easy read but it is definitely exciting. Harry Hole is a very flawed man and investigator you compare him to someone like Alex Cross whose demons are a lot more understated if ever mentioned the difference is stark. That doesn’t mean you should not try The Bat it means that you should be prepared for a darker take on the detective story.
Should you be willing to try I think you will be rewarded for the effort. The story is engaging and takes us on a tour of the darker side of Sydney and the darker side of human nature. My only issue is that the Sydney police team that Harry works with throughout this book seem to lack in the way of characterisation especially when compared with the other characters we meet.
That is only one issue though and on a whole it doesn't get in the way of the story. Harry Hole is an interesting take on the detective novel and a gritty one at that, if you think you are up for the challenge.