The Bat by Jo Nesbø: Book Review

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Cover of The Bat by Jo Nesbø

Norwegian Inspector Harry Hole is sent to Australia as something of a consultant/observer in the investigation of the murder of a Norwegian woman.

Based on this, the first book in the series and my first Harry Hole book, I’m not clear why these are so popular. I can only assume they get better. Maybe it was the translation or maybe it was that I was distracted but nothing seemed to flow together at all. Hole and his Australian partner, Andrew Kensington, seem to jet about the country with impunity. I haven’t been there but Australia sure seems like a big place and I’m sure they face the same budget problems that all police forces do. And these two guys are roaming where they please?

All of Hole’s relationships get crazy-intense, crazy-fast. He and Kensington are immediately best friends forever. He meets the love interest the first day, I believe, and they almost immediately pledge lifelong and devotion. I really started to wonder if I had just missed the amount of time that Harry had been in Australia and then he would say something like, “I’ve already been here a week; I’m not sure how much longer my superiors will let me stay.” Really?

I had a terrible time keeping the names straight. Granted, some of them were aboriginal (Is that politically correct?) and therefore very unfamiliar to me.

And what was up with everyone, absolutely everyone, knowing “whodunnit” except Harry and trying to give him subtle clues? Why not just come right out and say it? I get that you’re trying to protect yourself, but if you’re going to go so far as to try to clue him in, why not just go all the way? And is there really no one in Australia who is capable of investigating a murder?

John Lee did do a pretty good job of narrating. He had quite a mixed bags of accents to tackle and he did better than most people would, I believe.

The series must be popular for a reason but this one has left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ll give the rest of the series a pass.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Jo Nesbø on his website and Facebook.

Buy The Bat at

Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image attribution: Sara Aydin Matos

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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