- Publisher: Vintage (2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099581876
- ISBN-13: 978-0099581871
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1,537 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,403,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bat: Harry Hole 1 Paperback – 2013
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*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.
Winner of The Riverton Prize (Rivertonprisen) for Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year
Winner of The Glass Key (Glasnyckeln) for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year
"For fans of uber-cool Jo Nesbo, The Bat is a must-read, but...also a great place to start on one of the 21st century's most thrilling Scandinavian crime series." TVNZ (New Zealand)
"His novels are maddeningly addictive: be prepared for more whirlwind rides through those unpronounceable Scandinavian street names." Vanity Fair
"With his labyrinthine, shiver-inducing plots, full-blooded characterizations and uncanny sense of mood and place, Nesbo is simply a master storyteller." Winnipeg Free Press
"Jo Nesbo is my favorite thriller writer and Harry Hole my new hero." Michael Connelly
"This is crime writing of the highest order, in which the characters are as strong as the story, where an atmosphere of evil permeates, and the tension begins in the first chapter and never lets up." The Times (UK) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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.
The translator, although English I believe, certainly knows quite a bit of Aussie idiom.
The authors knowledge of Kings Cross in Sydney is rather out of date, even though the book isn't that old, but that's mainly because South Sydney Council have been blitzing much of the low-life from that area.
Otherwise most of the descriptions of the area, and of the cops involved, probably wasn't that much off the real thing.
Although not my favourite writer, I'll probably read his second book.
(My daughter read the 6th book first; The Leopard; which she thought was great, so I guess that influenced me..)
Reading the first book in the series first would have gone quite far towards explaining Harry’s tortured soul and, perhaps, his addictions. Harry has done something so terrible that he expected to be punished for it. Since the police often protect their own in order to present a united front to the world Harry goes publically unpunished, but remains haunted by private demons.
To solve Jo Nesbø’s first crime Harry is sent to Australia where he takes part in a long and bizarre investigation to find a serial killer of young blonde women. He meets an Aborigine, Andrew Kensington, who works with the Sydney police sometimes and Andrew becomes the first friend Harry has made in quite a while. He also meets a Swedish woman named Birgitta Enquist with long strawberry blonde hair who he thinks he could be falling in love with.
The Sydney aquarium plays an interesting role in the romance of Harry and Birgitta and also in the murders he has to solve. We also have clowns, represented by Otto Rechtnagel, a gay transvestite who has a clown act featuring a guillotine, and then we have wrestlers, especially one, Toowoomba, another Aborigine and a friend of Andrews. The bat, Harry learns, is the Aboriginal symbol of death.
Our Harry, who hates social wrongs, always seems to meet those who have been victimized by some of mankind’s many human rights violations. In this case there are a number of human rights issues in Australia but Aboriginal issues are the greatest of these. Andrew was born during a time when Aboriginal children were taken from their parents to be raised by white folks.
This is not my favorite Harry Hole mystery. There is too much that is strange about Australian life as Harry encounters it. There is too much collateral damage as the case is being solved and there is way too much drinking. I like Harry best when he is straight and sober, but if I had started here I would have had a better understanding of Harry’s behavior. It is always so difficult to write about mysteries because it is so easy to ruin the suspense and destroy things for those who like to read mysteries like they are puzzles to be unraveled, so, although I haven’t told you much, I have told you all I dare.