The Bat ( A Harry Hole Mystery) by Jo Nesbø

the bat

Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect, and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop highly intelligent killer, who is bent on total destruction.

I love this series! I’m not sure what grabs me about these particular books, but they are right in my wheelhouse for entertainment. Usually I hate to read something out of order, it bothers me on a subconscious level maybe, but that hasn’t really been an issue. I feel like Each book tells you just enough about where Harry Hole is in his life that his characterization feels complete.

That is one of the things I always base most of my “score” on when reviewing books. 1)Is the plot coherent? 2) Are the characters interesting and two dimensional?

I am happy to say YES to both of those questions for this book. The plot to this really had me hooked and pulled me along quite nicely. Mysteries are a strange thing for me to read because I hate it when I guess the murderer too quickly. If i can guess who did it in the first section of the book I sometimes feel cheated. The book may or may not redeem itself with the ending, but usually it doesn’t seem as fulfilling to me. I’m happy to say that I didn’t guess the killer until the very end. This book had a bunch of twists and turns in it that made me stay up late to finish!

As for the characterizations, I felt that they were all really well defined. I have always found Harry Hole to be well fleshed out and sympathetic, even if he is making terrible choices and making me yell at him. He is a smart and capable police officer and really cares about the victims. The secondary characters were also really well drawn although they did suffer a bit compared to Harry. I’m not sure whether this is because it was the first book in the series or just a translation issue. It didn’t bother me too much or take me out of the book any.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to getting some of the others i missed!