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314 of 334 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Harry Hole
i am a huge fan of Jo Nesbo and I have been waiting for a long time for this book to be translated.
so long I have already read it in my native language, French.
it is very well written and we can recognize Jo's style straight away.
lots of suspects, twisted plots in Australia where Harry has been sent to solve the killing of a young Norwegian woman.I...
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by J. Gavand

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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We are spolit by the later books .... but give it a go.
A strange book and a strange time of publication. It was written in 1997, 16 years ago. It is the first Harry Hole book and, indeed, appears to be JN's first published book. I have taken the liberty of including the Wikipedia chronology of the HH books at the end of this review. It will be seen that the 2nd HH book, The Cockroaches, is to be UK published later this year...
Published 17 months ago by Adrian Maxwell


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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We are spolit by the later books .... but give it a go., 30 July 2013
By 
Adrian Maxwell "Floreat Aula" (Bedford Falls) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Harry Hole 1) (Paperback)
A strange book and a strange time of publication. It was written in 1997, 16 years ago. It is the first Harry Hole book and, indeed, appears to be JN's first published book. I have taken the liberty of including the Wikipedia chronology of the HH books at the end of this review. It will be seen that the 2nd HH book, The Cockroaches, is to be UK published later this year (November). It is not apparent why the 1st and 2nd HH books are published in this way - I think one reviewer opines that The Bat is so bad that had it been published in 1997 the whole HH schtick may not have survived.

Nevertheless The Bat is essential reading for all HH fans. But it is not a great book if compared to the later books. HH is sent to Australia to assist Sydney police investigating the murder of a Norwegian girl. It starts well with HH being teamed with an Aboriginal detective. However, the narrative soon descends into a series of Aboriginal allegories the purpose of which escaped me, I'm afraid. These allegories did not serve as exposition nor did they appear to assist HH as he went about investigating the murder.

My 2nd criticism is that HH spent too much time navel gazing and reflecting on the past. I appreciate that JN was establishing and developing the HH character but I felt there was just too much morbid and disconsolate reflecting by HH. JN properly introduces a number of characteristics which define, and continue to define, HH in later books, but I felt they took up too much of the book.

I make these points about the allegories and self reflection because there is actually a cracking criminal investigation buried away in this story. The nature of the murder, the squad of investigators, the incidental players, the red herrings, the nature of the killer and the denouement are all well laid by JN but I felt were squeezed in between great tracts of Oz home spun philosophy and myth and HH dreaming of the Fiords and the Norwegian Blue.

Having said all that I think it is a little unfair of the 1 star reviewers (I assume all HH fans) to dismiss the book and I do not so. As I say above this is essential reading for HH fans and I hope I haven't made it sound too bad. One 1 star reviewer suggests it is so poor because in 1997 JN was learning his craft. There may be something in this. There were times when I felt JN was torn between developing the plot and developing HH. In any event, I can only go 3 stars.

I should say one thing, The Bat has inspired me to re-read all the HH books in the correct order.

The Harry Hole novels
* 1997 - Flaggermusmannen "The Bat Man"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Bat (2012)
* 1998 - Kakerlakkene "The Cockroaches"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Cockroaches (2013)
* 2000 - Rødstrupe "Robin"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Redbreast (2006)
* 2002 - Sorgenfri "Free of Sorrow"; English translation by Don Bartlett: Nemesis (2008)
* 2003 - Marekors "Pentagram"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Devil's Star (2005)
* 2005 - Frelseren "Saviour"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Redeemer (2009)
* 2007 - Snømannen "The Snowman"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Snowman (2010)
* 2009 - Panserhjerte "Armoured Heart"; English translation by Don Bartlett: The Leopard (2011)
* 2011 - Gjenferd "Ghost"; English translation by Don Bartlett: Phantom (2012)
* 2013 - Politi "Police"; English translation by Don Bartlett: Police (2013)
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314 of 334 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Harry Hole, 13 Jun 2012
i am a huge fan of Jo Nesbo and I have been waiting for a long time for this book to be translated.
so long I have already read it in my native language, French.
it is very well written and we can recognize Jo's style straight away.
lots of suspects, twisted plots in Australia where Harry has been sent to solve the killing of a young Norwegian woman.I strongly recommend this book
which won the 1997 Glass Key Award.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his others, 17 Jan 2013
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It was good to get some extra background on Harry Hole. The story was a bit too much if a history lesson on Australia, and it wasn't as gripping as his previous books.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Audiobook Review, 27 Oct 2012
By 
Sile (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Synopsis: Harry Hole is in Australia as the representative of the Norwegian police in the investigation of the murder of Inger Holter, a Norwegian national. Upon arrival, he is met by Andrew Kensington, an indigenous Australian policeman who guides Harry through the investigation, despite attempts by the force to side-line him. It soon becomes clear that Inger's death is just one of many of young, blonde women up and down the eastern seaboard.

A number of my friends have been recommending the Harry Hole series to me, and the books keep appearing on (targeted) recommending reading lists. As "The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1 (Unabridged)" was the first book in the Harry Hole series, and it was released in audio format, almost at the same time as the print copy, I downloaded it.

Aside from which, it was a Scandi-Nordic, crime fiction story set in Australia. How could I resist?

I'll begin my review with the narration by Sean Barrett. His vocal characterisation was so solid that just before the perpetrator's name was revealed, I knew who it was by voice alone. General Australian accents are reasonably well done, even if regional differences are omitted. Have to love the various pronunciations of Harry's surname, too; it provided me with giggles. I felt the pacing of the audiobook was perfectly matched to the storyline; and it helped build the tension for me.

It seems as though a considerable amount of Harry Hole's past is revealed in this book, and I think I might have appreciated "The Redbreast: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 3 (Unabridged)" more had I been able to read the Harry Hole series in chronological order. I particularly enjoyed the view of my compatriots from the Norwegian perspective, well Harry Hole's perspective at least. The comparison made between Australia and New Zealand by one policeman was particularly amusing.

There are great characters in this book, many of whom act as narrators of stories and tales; some of which act as clues, and Harry narrates his own past. "The Bat" was very much a character piece, and I enjoyed that aspect of it; even so, the investigation unfolded in a wonderful way; the whole coming together beautifully.

I don't understand those reviewers who say this is one of Jo Nesbø`s weaker books, believing he has improved as the series has progressed, because I found "The Bat" far more enjoyable than "The Redbreast". Of course, this could be because I knew nothing of Harry Hole or his past, so did not understand his actions, or thinking as well as I could.

I'm not sure I have anything bad to say about this book, except, perhaps the fate of the perpetrator, I could kind of see it coming when I knew the location, which ever-so-slightly spoiled the end for me. A very small gripe though.

I would recommend "The Bat" to other listeners of Scandi-Nordic crime fiction. "The Bat" made me laugh out loud, and cry, too. Odd for a crime fiction, I should think. And I further recommend the audiobook, as read by Sean Barrett.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work, 26 Oct 2012
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As someone who has read and enjoyed the Harry Hole novels, I was really looking forward to the publication of 'The Bat'. All the usual Nesbo plot elements are there, but with a lack of subtlety. There are long passages about Australian aborginal culture and beliefs, that read as though they come straight from a travel guide. There were several points where I put the book away and decided not to finish it (the opposite experience from the later novels, that demand to be read to the end). The only reason I finished it was that I was on a long journey and had no alternatives. Not recommended.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment, 10 May 2013
I have read all the other Nesbo books and in the words of the old cliche " couldn't put them down".
About half way through this one I couldn't be bothered to pick it up again. Lost interest in who fun it. A poorly plotted book but I guess Nesbo was learning his trade. All his other books get 5 stars from me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet dark detective Harry Hole, Down Under..., 8 Dec 2013
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Harry Hole 1) (Paperback)
"The Bat" from Jo Nesbo is first of author's thrillers I read, so I can't compare it to the others for which I saw he received better critics.

When Norwegian minor celebrity is found murdered in Australia, the Norwegian police send their officer Harry Hole to aid in the investigation conducted by their Australian colleagues. Initially set aside as an outsider, Harry will become central to the investigation of many unsolved rape and murder cases around the country...

While main character being a good and smart detective, one of his decisions near the end of the book seems uncharacteristically unwise and proves to be the one mistake which will probably haunt him for the rest of his life. Considering that Harry was invited into the investigation as an observer only, more for political reasons than real need, he will somehow manage to make some major decisions but also fatal errors without getting pulled into line.

During the book, Harry and his personality will start to emerge slowly and reader will realize there are some heavy burdens in the past, something which makes his character dark.

This is not regular thriller, rather I would classify it as "who-dunnit" type of book. In the first part, from lot of different angles and drop of cultural background plot is slowly developing. Toward the end the book will pick up the pace reaching climax with pretty much expected although unbelievable end.

Author narration is good while Nesbo introduces plenty of red herrings and twists. Although I didn't read his other books violence is this ever-present motive but what is little bit odd for this kind of book, reader can learn lot about Australian culture.

Main drawbacks for me were the predictable storyline and already mentioned unbelievable ending.

Nobody can compare to Scandinavian authors when it comes to picturing brutality, I suppose there is something in the cold weather and long nights which inspires the most horrific scenes found in this genre. With Nesbo being part of that school, for sure I will pick up some of his other Harry novels.

Although I cannot compare it other novels in Harry Hole series, I could recommend "The Bat" mostly because of main protagonist and all the others which he will meet during his (un)pleasant visit to Australia.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed!, 4 Feb 2013
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I really do believe that Nesbo has clever publishing agents! This is the first book to be written and the last to appear in English. It cost quite a bit more than the others - had I not read the rest before this one I wouldn't either have finished this one or read the others. I found it annoying in parts and quite frankly had I wanted a book on Aboriginal folklore I would have bought one!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh, dear, 4 Feb 2013
I am a fan of the Harry Hole series and I couldn't understand why the first book hadn't been published in English until now. Now I know. It is dreadful. Trite and with a meandering plot punctuated by Australian Aboriginal legends I was relieved to finish it . So keen to get to the end that I skimmed through the last 100 or so pages. Only done this previously with a Dan Brown book. The only good thing about the Bat is that if I had started with this book I would have given up on Jo Nesbo. Which would have been a great pity as all other books in this series have been very enjoyable
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 7 Dec 2012
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I think it is fortunate for the author that the English public have likely read some of Nesbo's more recent books, such as Snow Leopard and Headhunters. If this had been the first Nesbo book I had read, I would not have read any others. While the book does provide some helpful information about the main character's (Harry Hole) past, the first half of the book is more about culture and sightseeing in Australia, rather than a spell binding, page turning, "who done it" novel that I have come to expect from Jo Nesbo.
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The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Harry Hole 1)
The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Harry Hole 1) by Jo Nesbo (Paperback - 18 July 2013)
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