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315 of 335 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

versus
77 of 80 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 19 months ago by Adrian Maxwell


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77 of 80 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)   
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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315 of 335 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Harry Hole, 13 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Kindle Edition)
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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9 of 9 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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This review is from: The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Kindle Edition)
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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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
"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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ace in the Hole, 13 Sept. 2013
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I was late in discovering Jo Nesbo's Inspector Hole series. I also started off with his most recent books in the series and have finally made my way to the newly republished "The Bat" the story that introduced Inspector Hole to the world. I would not recommend that anyone read a series from new to old but, nonetheless I'm glad I pick this up.

Set in Sydney, Australia, Hole travels from Norway to assist the Australia police investigate the murder of a modestly prominent and Norwegian celebrity. Apart from an interesting digression into Aboriginal culture and history the plotting and developments are fairly straight-forward. I'll leave details of the plot to others as with any detective story sometimes revealing too much of the plot just spoils the intrigue for other readers. That said, the primary enjoyment I got from the book was seeing Hole "from the beginning". As with most long-running series each volume builds upon the character development and `history' of the previous volumes. By the time a series gets going a lot of details and developments are presumed to be known to the reader. These sorts of gaps don't particularly bother me if each book is strong enough to stand on its own. And these books do stand up. However, I think my enjoyment and understanding of the books that followed are now enhanced by discovering how and where it all began.

All-in-all this is a good mystery standing on its own. For those not familiar with Nesbo this is an excellent place to start, although I'd note that I think the books get better as they go along. For those who already know and like Nesbo and Inspector Hole I think it is good to complete the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holy Hole, 28 Jun. 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
I have followed Jo Nesbo and Harry Hole since the first book I read, 'Snowman'. 'The Bat' as we all know was the first novel, but just recently released in English. I loved Harry Hole then, and I love him even more now!

Harry is sent to Australia on an investigation about the death of a Norwegian woman. Harry is picked up at the airport by his Australian colleague, Andrew Kensington. And, as luck would have it, Andrew pronounces Harry's last name, Holy. I laughed to myself. Harry has more trouble with that last name and as you can suspect many jokes ensue. Holy is perfect for him, and I will continue to call him that as time moves on. Not only is Andrew tall and handsome, he is an Aborigine, and he has a wonderful sense of humor. The perfect person for Harry. They enter the investigation with no holes (pardon my Irony), barred. The victim was strangeled and raped and Harry sees a serial murderer right away, although it takes convincing the powers that be. Both Harry and Andrew are experts at this detective role, and we follow along.

We learn a great deal about Harry in this first novel. He meets another Beautiful Norwegian woman, and she wants to know all about him. He is an alcoholic, after a terrible accident, he stopped drinking. He has few relatives, some friends, but no woman in his life until now. This is the calmest I have seen of Harry, it is like we are truly just getting to know him.

No idea why this wasn't the first novel to be introduced to us, it certainly was fast paced and kept me interested in the entire process. I am a great fan of Jo Nesbo, and have grown to really like dear old Harry. Harry's character is what gives this novel series it's life and it's fabulous context.

Hope more books are forthcoming.

Recommended. prisrob 06-28-13
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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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This review is from: The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait? Probably not., 12 Nov. 2012
By 
Mikey (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I originally read The Bat many years ago after it had been translated into Swedish and after reading later novels by Jo Nesbø, it was fairly easy to see why the publishing order was changed in the UK. Nesbø is not alone in having translated works published in this country in a different order, Sweden's Helene Tursten, Håhan Nesser, Henning Mankell, Camilla Läckberg among others as well as Norwayäs Anne Holt and Karin Fossum all have suffered similar alterations. First novels atre not often the best and for an author to make a decent breakthrough in a country where a translation has been required, it is often wiser for a publisher to allow several stories to be written before selecting the best to start the sereis in the UK.
The Bat reminded me alot of my times in Australia and seemed to describe Sydney fairly well, as it was back in the mid 90s anyway.
The Bat is a must have for anyone wanting a complete Harry Hole collection, but for others it is maybe one to miss.
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