The Bat

Jo Nesbo, Author
Jo Nesbø, trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Vintage/Black Lizard, $14.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-80709-0
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First published in 1997, Nesbø’s inaugural Harry Hole novel, finally translated into English, takes the Oslo homicide detective to Sydney, Australia, where he displays all the brilliance and angst that Harry’s fans have come to expect, after reading Phantom and other later entries already available in English. Harry, who’s helping the Sydney police investigate the murder of pretty 23-year-old Inger Holter, a Norwegian citizen and minor TV celebrity, partners with a bluff, friendly cop of Aboriginal descent, Andrew Kensington. Still haunted by past personal and professional troubles, he begins a new relationship with another Scandinavian expat, Swedish barmaid Birgitta Enquist, while evidence emerges linking Inger’s death to a serial killer. Despite some awkward prose, this debut effort shows Nesbø as an already confident genre craftsman, striking sparks from the familiar genre material of Harry’s fish-out-of-water experience in a foreign land and odd-couple pairing with a mismatched partner. Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (July)
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