The Bat by Jo Nesbø - Book Review Illustration - Kristopher Cook

The Bat by Jo Nesbø

The Bat by Jo Nesbø Book Cover
Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. The victim, a twenty-three-year-old Norwegian woman, is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, as he is drawn deeper into the case.
Series: Harry Hole
Genre: Thriller
Available from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Audible

Recently I read the great book that is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I was eager to sink my teeth into another prolific Scandinavian writer. In this case, Jo Nesbø.

Famous for his Harry Hole series, Nesbø has quite the reputation for his police detective run.

Not knowing anything about this book before reading I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

And having read it, I can now confirm that much of its praise is well deserved.


The plot concerns Harry Hole (pronounced Holy), a Norwegian police detective who’s been drafted in to help a Sydney police squad find a killer, who may have struck more than once.

Along the way, he meets a whole host of unusual characters.

Otto, the gay circus clown, provides cryptic clues for Harry as well as providing some comic relief to the harsher situations. Andrew, an aboriginal Australia police officer, with problems of his own offering up tales of the indigenous tribes. And Birgitta, the beautiful barmaid working at the same bar as the missing girl, Inger.

It’s Andrew that offers Harry some much-needed wisdom. From his tales of ancient Australia to ways of outwitting the poisonous snakes. He’s by far one of my favourites here.

Love is a greater mystery than death.

Jo Nesbø, Chapter 13 ‘Bubbur’

All of the characters blend delightfully into one unique story, giving Sydney great depth along the way.

Throughout the journey we’re given small sequences, either in conversation or as dream sequences, revealing parts of Harry’s previous life in Norway; his big love affair, his alcoholism – which also led to a severe police accident involving another officer.

Many have stated that the first two books in the Harry Hole series are not worth reading, but I can’t bring myself to jump into a series art way through.

Although the book doesn’t have the twists and turns of a Gillian Flynn novel, it does keep you guessing right up to the last few chapters.

I’m now glad I went with my gut instinct otherwise I would have missed not only a great deal of Harry’s backstory but also this highly fun read.


This book is incredibly easy to read, even going as far as to being given the moniker of ‘an airport read’. A term that is often used in a derogatory fashion, but in this case, I’d say it’s a blessing. It lacks the depth of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s all the better for it.

Knowing that the series currently consists of eleven books, there’s still plenty more to be reading.

I’m sure the future books will give more information on Harry’s back story, why he joined the police, and what his future plans are now that he’s spent time in Australia.

Will he return home to Norway’s murderers, or will he continue to keep the streets of Australia safe? I can’t wait to find out.

Have you read The Bat? Maybe even the entire Harry Hole series? Let me know your thoughts below.

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