, February 05, 2015
(view all comments by Edward Hahn)
I've managed to collect a number of Jo Nesbo books but had read only one: "The Snowman", a very good book but it didn't motivate me to read the others I owned. I think that may have been a mistake after finishing this one, his first, but only recently translated. I managed to devour it in approximately 48 hours. Granted I was traveling for one of those days, nevertheless, it's a rare book that I don't put down from time to time.
Harry is decidedly human and in that way reminds me of Henning Mankell's Wallander. In the course of the novel we learn Harry's back story, his alcoholism, his first love, the car accident in which his partner died, his relationship with his sister and other tidbits sprinkled throughout the book.
He is sent to Sydney Australia to assist in the investigation of a rape and murder. The victim is a Norwegian minor celebrity, Inger Holter. He's assigned to work with Andrew Kensington, a rare aborigine detective who regales Harry with folktales including one about a bat, hence the title of the book. Kensington also introduces him to the Gay and Erotic scene in and around Kings Cross. There he meets a Swedish bartender Birgitta Enquist who he is immediately attracted to.
The case soon begins to look more complicated than originally thought. What follows is Harry's journey in which there are numerous twists and turns. Just when he thinks he's got it figured out something happens to throw everything up in the air again. Nesbo introduces the reader to a number of interesting characters: clowns, cops, drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and many others. As Harry proceeds he sometimes gets so lost in the details he doesn't see the big picture and as a result he and the Aussie task force go down a number of fruitless alleys.
As with so many Scandinavian Crime novels there is no happy ending and the final pages provide the reader with a number of surprises. All that being said, this is a fine story especially for a first effort and I highly recommend it.