A young Norwegian woman, a minor celebrity who went to Australia to do bar work, is found washed up from the sea at the foot of a cliff. All the evidence points to murder. Harry Hole, of Oslo Crime Squad, goes to Sydney to assist with the Australian police investigation. He is meant to act as an observer, and one of the reasons for him going is that his superior thinks he could do with a break. Not only from his alcohol problems. He was in a car which crashed and a colleague was killed. However, being a passive onlooker is not a role Harry plays naturally; he gets involved and in the end is drawn into the case, also on a personal level, as he falls for Birgitta – a friend of the dead girl.
Harry’s stay in Sydney leads him to seamy King’s Cross and the company of pimps, strippers, transvestites, pushers and backpackers. His mental and physical journey across the fascinating continent of Australia is set against the background of a traveling fun fair with boxers and the age-old tradition of clowns. The story seems to follow the – at times irrational – plot of an old aborigine tale about the Bat Man, a human-like creature with bat wings brought to life by crime. As the Bat Man awakens, Death appears in the lives of mortals.
The Bat was awarded with the most prestigious crime writing award in Norway, The Riverton Prize (Rivertonprisen) 1997 for Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year, as well as the premier crime writing award in Scandinavia, The Glass Key (Glasnyckeln) 1998 for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year.
“Written in beginner’s euphoria. A story which bears the marks of where it was written, both in terms of geography and my life. Just recently I read it on the radio, and to some extent I was dreading all the mistakes new writers make, but what struck me was how fresh and bold it is.”
Jo speaks about The Bat
“A fascinating book … It is a stunning opening to the series.”
Sunday Times (UK)
“The Bat fills in the early blanks for Hole fans who must have wondered how he came to be such a tortured soul. With an unerring ability to attract death, Hole takes his first blundering steps towards becoming the sort of character that thriller fans find irresistible. Wheter a hardened Hole addict or a first-time imbiber, The Bat is sure to snare your interest with its tale of this booze-fuelled policeman.”
Yorkshire Evening Post (UK)
“Although this is the first in award-winning author Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series, and was published in Norway in 1997, it has only just been translated into English. It’s worth the wait.”
“The Bat is a gripping mystery and a fascinating insight into the (occasionally) recovering alcoholic detective’s earlier life.”
“I hereby announce that a new crime fiction talent has entered the arena. Nesbø will definitely be a strong force in the coming seasons.”
“Jo Nesbø has written the cleverest debut novel in the crime genre that I’ve read in a long time.”
“An ambitious, fun, exciting and original crime novel.”
“The Bat is a rather amazing and entertaining story about a Norwegian policeman, who travels to Sydney in search for answers as to the death of a young Norwegian girl.”
“The Bat is innovative and different, and the pace that Jo Nesbø creates in his debut novel makes you long for more crime novels featuring Harry Hole.”
Kristeligt Degblad (Denmark)
“A compelling crime story with elements of indigenous Australian myths. /…/ A powerful debut novel for which Jo Nesbø was awarded The Glass Key 1998 for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year. It is the nuanced depictions of characters and surroundings along with historical background and good dialog that make the story run smoothly. The depiction of Harry being drunk several days, after another murder has been committed, is particularly excellently described and makes the reader almost feel the following morning’s hang-over. Jo Nesbø, write the next one!”
Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
“An excellent crime novel.”
“Truly worth reading.”
Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany)
“The Bat is a truly captivating crime novel.”
Berliner Morgenpost (Germany)