For avid Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series lovers like myself, it’s hard to find another mystery or thriller novel that will get my heart beating as quickly as it does with a Stieg Larsson book in my hand. Luckily, my dear friend Ashley recommended an author that she stumbled upon this summer in Europe, Jo Nesbo, and I decided to give him a try. Reason enough: Nesbo is the winner of the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel (an accolade also shared with Larsson) for his first Harry Hole novel called The Bat.
The Bat begins in Sydney Australia, where Norwegian protagonist Harry Hole has been sent to help investigate the murder of a twenty-something Scandinavian girl who was residing in Sydney. Quickly, Harry and his team realize they’re dealing with a serial rapist and murderer who remains out of sight. Upon hitting several road blocks in the case, readers are invited to peer into Hole’s life, and discover his character flaws that live deep within his own tortured soul, setting up a solid base for a mystery series.
Nesbo does a fantastic job at keeping the novel fast-paced, quick witted, and extremely detailed. There were several one liner’s and teachings in the novel that had me wishing I had a highlighter handy, all the while left guessing ‘who done it’ with every turn of the page. Australian aboriginal and Norwegian cultural learning’s were littered throughout the tale, shared by several secondary characters to help backlight the drama.
For anyone looking to pick up a quick, smart, thrilling read, I would recommend The Bat. It is shocking how one book can give you faith in an entire genre again. In fact, I’m hoping the second book in the Harry Hole series will appear under my Christmas tree this year. Fingers crossed.