Harry Hole is a complicated character. He made some major mistakes as a person and policeman in Oslo but has managed to keep his job. We meet him as he travels to Australia to help investigate the murder of a Norwegian young woman. He befriends his assigned partner, finds a Scandinavian woman with whom to have a very heated affair and somehow finds time to still investigate the murder.
As the first book in a series, this works. It introduces the main character, gives us many of the details we need to start to build our picture of him and it includes a strong stand alone story to back it up. The mystery is well done and the characters are interesting.
I will definitely continue this series and, for the most part, I really enjoyed reading The Bat. But, I can’t bring myself to give it more than 3/5 stars. There were a few small issues I had with the writing but I gave it a lot of leeway as it is the first novel and it was translated from its’ original language. My biggest issue was with Harry. He makes some pretty bad decisions. Not just bad. Crazy bad. Some were almost understandable but a couple were mind-blowingly dumb. And since I didn’t believe Harry was dumb, it made my question the writer’s path for him.
Even with the few issues, I definitely recommend reading this if you like mysteries – especially from Scandinavian writers as there is a certain flare that they can have.