- 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: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,487 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,712,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bat 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 the Hardcover 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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Having said these negative things about the main character and the silly ending, I also have to say that Nesbo's writing style is beautiful and his descriptions of settings and moods are very evocative. I just wish I could like Harry Hole a bit more. I did enjoy the character more in "The Snowman" though, so I don't want to turn off too many readers.
Just a small note here about mystery heroes. Why do so many modern mystery detectivesl have to be alcoholics with self-destructive flaws? Are there not any other devices that authors can use to make detectives human and multi-dimensional? No, I don't want them to be Dudley Doright or Jack Reacher, but not all real detectives are divorced alcoholics who want to drive away the people who love them most.
In the ensuing novels Harry often refers to how he got to be the “go-to” guy in Norway when it came to serial killers. It all started in Australian where he was sent to “observe” the investigation of the murder of a Norwegian girl. Apparently a lot of Scandinavians migrated to Australia when jobs were scare in Sweden, Norway, Finland etc.
Harry is assigned a partner named Andrew who just happens to be an Aborigine. We learn quite a bit about Aborigines as the case progresses. Andrew tells Harry, for instance, that Aborigines are about as different as American Indians. They speak 250 languages, for one thing.
Harry and Andrew get a tip about a drug dealer who was seen with the girl shortly before she was murdered, and they go to the town where she worked in a strip joint. They stop to visit a circus and some boxing matches where we meet one of Andrew's boys Toowoomba who belongs to a club that takes on all comers. He breaks a big guy's nose after underestimating him. Toowoomba is so good he's a candidate for the national championship. Andrew used to box for the same club, and taught Toowoomba how to fight.
Andrew seems to be trying to tell Harry something about the murderer, but Harry can't figure out exactly what. There are several suspects, including a transvestite circus clown, and the drug pusher. In the process of investigating the murder, Harry meets Birgitta, a red-headed Swedish girl, whom he falls in love with. He also falls off the wagon; he already has a drinking problem.
There are several holes in the novel. Do you use your lover as bait to trap the murderer? I don't think so. Would you? Nesbo also pulls several twists, concerning the principal suspect, dismissing several on the basis of Harry's intuition. I was able to figure out who done it, because Nesbo practically tells you at one point. He also explains almost immediately why the book is called THE BAT. If you see one in the daytime, it means something in the Aborigine culture.
Harry gets beat up quite a bit in all of his novels, but he keeps coming back for more; I guess that's the appeal of the novel. Action sequences instead of introspection about the meaning of life, which we find in quite a few mystery novels these days. There is some of that here, but it's unique, coming from Andrew and Toowoomba who have a different slant on life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All-in-all it was an interesting story with some very strange...Read more