The Bat by Jo Nesbo – A Book Review




Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. 


When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. 


Author: Jo Nesbo

Publisher: Vintage

Pages: 425

Release Date: 18/07/2013

My Chosen Format: Paperback

My Rating for ‘The Bat’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon US




The Bat, Jo Nesbo’s first Harry Hole Thriller, tells the story of a Norwegian Detective (Hole) as he travels to Australia to be Norway’s representative in the investigation into the rape and murder of a Norwegian woman living and working in Australia.

I first read, and enjoyed Jo Nesbo’s work, several years ago when I picked up a copy of the Snowman, totally unaware that it was book seven in the series. So I decided to go back to the start and go through the series chronologically.

I went in with both high and middling hopes due to the fact that I loved the Snowman and expected to it lose some of the shine of the original story somewhere in translation. In essence, The Bat was a good, enjoyable and, at times, fast-paced read. I did feel that it may have lost a little bit in translation somewhere, but without actually speaking Norwegian I will never truly know.

There were a few points I disliked, prime amongst most of them being how the characters would often get on their soapbox and give some lengthy speech about morals and right and wrong. Or, in the midst of an everyday conversation one character would stop and just give a lengthy speech about some aboriginal myth that often had little bearing on the immediate situation. If it was just one character doing this I could pass it off as a character quirk; someone who just loves the sound of his own voice. But it’s multiple characters and it gets very annoying.

There are also a fair amount of flash backs to Harry’s earlier life. This will go on to give insight into Harry as a person, but I have never been one for flashbacks and it felt like it was taking me out of the narrative when I would have rather carried on with the main plot.

My last annoyance was that with incredibly scant and, at best, circumstantial evidence, the police came to the conclusion that there’s a serial killer on the loose.

What Nesbo does really well, is show-cased when Harry is focusing on the perp. He keeps the suspense up and he keeps the reader turning the pages long after they should have turned the light off and gone to bed.

At time it feels like the author is a maestro and the reader his orchestra. He keeps the pulse racing and then brings you down, only to bring you right back up again.

This was Jo’s first book and, at the start, he tells the reader the process he went through as far as becoming a writer went. This process, although not physically doable to most of us average Jo’s, does inspire me to try harder with my own writing. It is a fantastic debut novel but it still, at times, as the odd cliché that gives it a distinctly debut novel feel.

I have been struggling for reading time recently and, Jo’s writing style made it so I forced myself to have more and more of it. I am already looking forward to making time in my schedule to begin the next Harry Hole Thriller. Even though I picked out a fair few negatives; for me, forcing myself to read more when I have been too busy to do so is the highest positive I can give an author.

2 thoughts on “The Bat by Jo Nesbo – A Book Review

  1. I have heard of this author (especially his novel Snowman) but I haven’t actually read anything by him yet. Despite some of the negatives you mentioned, I do like the storyline you are decribing here. I’m not in a real rush to read this, but I wil add it to my to read list 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Snowman film brought a lot of people to know of Nesbo. He is an addictive author and, had I not started other things, I’d have powered through more of his work. It’s just finding the inclination to go back to crime after having just read one.

      May switch from genre to genre. Keep it fresh.

      Liked by 1 person

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