The Bat by Jo Nesbo
The Bat is Nesbo’s first book but it was never translated into English until recently.
The plot concerns a young Norwegian girl on a gap year in Sydney who has been murdered, and Harry Hole, a Norwegian detective, who has been sent to Australia to assist the investigation. The team unearth a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, and the hunt for a serial killer is on.
I need to start this review by saying that Jo Nesbo is a particular favourite of mine and I always look forward to his new releases. However, this book is a major disappointment and you can see why it wasn’t released earlier.
The book is littered with facts about Australian Aboriginals. Aboriginal folklore is just plonked into the midst of the crime story. It is so strange and frankly unwanted. I am sure that the story of the Aboriginals is an interesting one but if I had wanted that book I would have bought it.
There is also a lot of Harry Hole’s history here that is not covered in the later books, so it is worth a read if you’re interested in filling in the gaps from the later books. But for me there is just too much of it and it is just another thing that gets in the way of the story. This book would have benefited from a good editor: or any editor for that matter.
I am sorry to say that I struggled to finish the book. At best I skimmed over pages; at worst I skipped large tracts. It is a shame because there is a good story here, but it’s buried so deep it is impossible for it to get out.
The reason I have written this review ( I don’t really like giving bad reviews) is to say don’t be put off Jo Nesbo; he is fantastic. Start somewhere else; The Snowman, The Redbreast, The Redeemer, any of his other books.
If you really feel you want to start at the beginning with The Bat, just bear in mind that it is his first book and he was just learning his trade.