Book Review – The Bat – Jo Nesbo
- Book: The Bat
- Author: Jo Nesbo
- Genre: Mystery
- Year of Release: 1997
- Read 374-page paperback edition in February 2016.
The first novel in the series featuring Norwegian police inspector Harry Hole, we meet Harry in Australia, investigating the murder of a Norwegian citizen. Harry works with his counterparts in Australia to get to the bottom of the strange killing, but as the truth begins to unravel, he realizes that the killer may be much closer to him than he first thought. Furthermore, his romantic relationship with an Australian woman is complicated by the case and by his dark past.
The Harry Hole series now has many books in it, and the series and author Jo Nesbo are internationally acclaimed. However, this first novel feels like it comes up short when looking at what a good mystery or thriller should offer.
It should be said there were some excellent beginnings here to build a series around flawed but fascinating Harry Hole. It is excellent to have a character that feels very real for the reader, one who has a dark side and a complicated side, who isn’t perfect. There is definitely a lot of promise, and the end of the book does succeed in making you wonder what happens to this character when he goes home to Norway. This makes you want to read the next novel in the series, which shows that things did go right when it came to sketching out the main protagonist.
That being said, the issues with this particular novel itself centred more around some plot holes of the story here. The novel felt a little bit disjointed and inconsistent in places, for example when Harry is told at the beginning by the Chief of Police in the Australian detachment that he is to stay out of the way while the Australians handle the case, yet right after this and for the rest of the novel, Harry is a central figure in the investigations that occur. This is a good thing of course given he is our main character, but then why say the initial statement at all?
The novel does a good job of featuring Harry’s thought process, and having him relive some past memories, so we get to learn more about him. However, at times these thought processes and past recollections get in the way of telling the current crime story around us, and the result can be a sometimes choppy plot and interrupted pacing when looking at this novel itself.
There is a lot of promise for sure when we look at this character and the series. It should also be said that future books in the series generally get much more favourable reviews by fans then the first outing here. This is still an okay book, and for those who may not enjoy the novel, it may be wise to give Harry Hole another chance with another book in the series.
Overall: 3 stars out of 5 stars.