It feels like I have waited a very long time for this book to come out on audio! Ever since I saw the cover of The Snowman (Book 7 of this series) when it came out in 2011 I was ready to get to know Detective Harry Hole. (I am very easily swayed by a good book cover) Unfortunately this is one of those series where the first few books were not yet available on audiobook. If you pull up the Audible page for this series and check out the release dates for each book you can see how frustrating this could be for a guy like me who absolutely cannot start a series of books in the middle. I’m just not that kind of guy. If I’m going to read them then I have to start at book one and work my way up. So ultimately I decided not to bother with Harry Hole until the first book in the series was on audio.
Of course, I know that I could have picked up a hard copy and sat down and read the books but reading print books just doesn’t fit well into my lifestyle right now. The time I have available to read/listen is generally the times where I am commuting or doing chores around the house.
Anyway, I was very excited to see that The Bat was finally coming out!
When I started this audiobook I didn’t know what exactly to expect. I suppose that I was hoping that Harry would be something like a cross between Lucas Davenport and Harry Bosch. Fortunately that is pretty much exactly what you get with Detective Harry Hole.
I found The Bat to be a very gripping and entertaining crime novel. Harry is portrayed as a hardboiled alcoholic detective with more than his share of skeletons in his closet. When we meet Harry he seems to be holding up against the temptation of alcohol pretty well. As the case becomes more and more personal and one after another of Harry’s theories fall apart in the pursuit of a serial killer this temptation becomes more and more of a problem.
The Bat is filled with colorful characters and interesting locales. Nesbo occasionally inserts a bit of Australian history and some tidbits on the culture of Indigenous Australians that I found very interesting and absorbing. It was really nice to enjoy a crime novel that wasn’t based in some urban sprawl.
Audio Production: John Lee was excellent! I have absolutely no issues with his narration. I had hoped that the same narrator would be used for the entire series but book 3, 5, 7, 8 & 9 were narrated by Robin Sachs and books 1 and 6 are narrated by Mr. Lee. Book 4 was narrated by Thor Knai. I assume that the plan had been to have Robin Sachs to take over the narration of this series as new translations were available but his unfortunate passing in February of 2013 forced a change in narrators.
Overall: I would say that I was very satisfied with The Bat. Of course I can’t say if it is as good or better than any of his later books since I held out until this book came out on audio. I felt that it was a really good introduction to Harry Hole. I’m definitely interested to see what Nesbo has in store for Harry Hole in the rest of the books in this series. Now that I’ve had a taste of Nesbo’s work I’m not sure if I will wait until book 2 comes out in audio or if I will go ahead and jump to The Redbreast. I’m very curious about what becomes of Mr. Hole. I’m also very interested to compare John Lee and Robin Sachs’ versions of Harry Hole.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this audiobook from the publisher