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The Bat Paperback – International Edition, October 9, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; 1ST edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307361012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307361011
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When Nesbø’s Harry Hole novels began appearing in the U.S., the Oslo police detective was well into his spiral of alcoholic self-destruction. With the recent appearance of earlier books in the series (The Redeemer, 2013), fans have been able to catch up on the backstory that put Harry in such a bad way. With the U.S. publication of this series debut, we see still more of the detective’s evolution. In Australia as a consulting detective on a murder case in which the victim is a Norwegian native, Harry does what will eventually become his signature: spotting the signs of a serial killer at work and following a convoluted trail with an obsessiveness that puts not only himself but all those around him at risk. Reading this wrenching, emotionally charged tale, which features a fascinating take on the lives of Aboriginals in contemporary Sydney, with full knowledge of what awaits Harry in succeeding, similar cases over the years, we find ourselves wanting to scream, “No, Harry, not again!” But, in fact, this is the first time he loses himself in the chase, inflicting lasting, self-administered body blows on his fragile psyche, and while the chronological confusion is disconcerting, it adds a layer of dramatic irony to the tale and enhances its tension and power. With the future of the series still up in the air after Phantom (2012), this is an absolute must for devotees of the riveting train wreck that is Harry Hole. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Any Harry Hole novel is big news in the crime-fiction world, and this retrospectively published series debut will thrill its built-in audience. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Jo Nesbo, of Norway--not Sweden--gets a pass in one regard, at least: he published the first of his 8 Detective Harry Hole thrillers in 1997, long before Mikael Blomkvist set eyes on Lisbeth Salander. Like Larsson's, his novels are maddeningly addictive: be prepared for more whirlwind rides through those unpronounceable Scandinavian street names."
—Vanity Fair

“A first-rate whodunit…. A twisty, fast-paced concoction stocked with ample red herrings…. This origin tale is both a groundbreaking operation and a sumptuous, satisfying meal.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“Australia’s isolation proves the perfect backdrop for the offbeat, chain-smoking, alcoholic loner living with a secret that could destroy his career…. Nesbø…has been touted as the next Stieg Larsson. It’s an obvious comparison, and Nesbø is just as accomplished a storyteller.”
NOW (Toronto) NNNN
“Even with this first book Nesbo’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.”
Daily Express
“It may take readers of The Bat a few chapters to adjust to the brighter, younger, more energetic Harry of novel one…. The sunny setting of Australia makes a change from Oslo’s dark streets and imbues the novel with Antipodean charm…. For fans of uber-cool Jo Nesbø, The Bat is a must-read, but book one is also a great place to start on one of the twenty-first century’s most thrilling Scandinavian crime series.”
TVNZ (New Zealand)

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed the history & stories of the aboriginal culture taught by different characters.
E. James
All in all this a good book, a good plot line, good character development and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing through the entire book.
William D. Curnutt
Story seems contrived and far-fetched but the major reason I did not like the book too much is I do not like the main character.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

176 of 180 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When I first read "The Redbreast" I assumed that it was the first in the Harry Hole series, only to discover there were mentions of past events in the life of character Harry Hole that suggested earlier books. In fact the English publisher had opted to publish the third book in the series first, leaving the first two books - The Bat and The Cockroaches - untranslated into English. Therefore, if like me, you hate reading series books out of order, you will be glad that The Bat has finally arrived.

Harry Hole is in Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a Norwegian citizen working in Australia. Inger was young, blonde and she was found dumped in Gap Park, having been raped and strangled. As Inger was a minor television celebrity in her home country, having hosted a children's television programme a few years previously, the case is considered important enough to have aroused interest in Norway's press. In this book we discover much about Harry's character, as he investigates a possible serial killer. Admittedly, I can understand the publisher wishing to begin the series with another book - in many ways this is pretty standard fare, and the digressions in Aboriginal culture and folk tales are, frankly, pretty boring in parts. However, there is much in this novel which is good, the plot is fast paced and Andrew Kensington, an Aboriginal detective, is a great side character. More to the point, this is the starting point of the series and, as readers, we should be given the chance to read them in order and not have publishers decide how and when we can read them. I hope they will publish the second book in the series as quickly as possible in English, so readers of the series can read them completely in the order the author intended.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Donald E. Gilliland TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like most fans of Nesbo's addictive Harry Hole series, I was looking forward to reading this long-delayed English language translation of the first HH novel. Even though the main character is Norwegian, this story takes place in Australia. Sort of a weird touch, but actually the "foreign" setting is one of the strengths to this story. All in all, this is not a bad read, but many elements aren't up to par with the later novels in Nesbo's series. For example, the dialogue isn't as sharp, the characters are a mixed bag as far as believability (the Aboriginal characters are well done, whereas the other police officers come off mostly as buffoons), and the plot loses some focus along the way. At one point --- or two --- I thought the story was about to come to its climax, but then it went on and on again. All in all, this one lacked the suspense and tension of the other novels and just didn't grip me as much. By no means awful, but clearly the work of a writer that hadn't quite found his groove yet. Most fans of the series will find some enjoyable elements to this story, but if you haven't read the others in the series I don't think you should necessarily start with this one simply because it was the first one.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jo Nesbo left me hanging at the end of the previous Harry Hole novel - Phantom. Phantom was the 9th book in this Scandinavian series that features the conflicted and complicated Detective Hole. But the first book - The Bat - that introduces us to Harry is only now newly released in North America. You can bet I jumped at the chance to read it!

Harry is sent to Australia to assist with a murder investigation as the victim was a Norwegian national. But the local cops define 'assist' differently.

"What you're gonna do is watch carefully while we haul the bastard in, tell the Norwegian press along the way what a wonderful job we're doing together - making sure we don't offend anyone at the Norwegian embassy, or relatives, - and otherwise enjoy a break and send a card or two to your dear Chief Constable."

Harry is not the focus of the first part of the book. Instead we are introduced to Aussie detective Andrew, who has a sense of where he wants the investigation to go. Andrew was a strong personality and I felt slightly overwhelmed by this character. Nesbo weaves much Aboriginal history and lore into the narrative, which I found really interesting. It also added much to the plot.

Harry and his personality begin to emerge slowly as the book progresses. I was hoping that Nesbo would allow us some insight as to where Harry's tortured psyche springs from and I wasn't disappointed. And, as the case develops, the Harry that I've come to enjoy so much emerges. The character of Harry has been refined and darkened and sharpened over the course of the next eight books, but in The Bat we meet a raw, wounded version of the detective to come. One with "a weakness for living."

But, what hasn't changed is Nesbo's plotting.
Read more ›
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147 of 166 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn C. Hogan on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first fell a little in love with Harry Hole with the first Nesbo book I read, The Snowman. Ever since then, I've been devouring all his books. This one, The Bat, was not available in the US, so I had it shipped to me from the UK. I'm so glad I did! This story takes place Down Under, where a Norwegian woman on visa in Australia has been murdered. Harry is sent there to "observe", which is made clear to him by the Sydney police chief. This, of course, Harry takes to mean get right down in it. His Aboriginal "partner", Andrew, shows him around town and brings him to all the particular places involved in the investigation. Something is not quite right, Harry discovers. At the bar where the murdered girl worked, he meets a Swedish woman and immediately clicks. After interviewing her, he can't help but turn himself around, go right back in and ask her to dinner! Loved the tender scenes between these two. And, Harry reveals things about his "first love" as well. Bodies turn up and Harry turns on the heat, as well. His mind works far faster than any of the other investigators and he is soon laying a trap. But, will the trap backfire on Harry and his new love?
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