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First look: The Bat by Jo Nesbo

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We don’t want to ignite a flaming wall of envy among fellow fans of Scandinavian crime fiction, but something seismic happened today at CFL HQ. The very first Harry Hole novel, penned by Jo Nesbo in his native Norwegian 15 years ago, arrived on the doormat. Yes, Harvill Secker has had The Bat translated into English by Don Barlett and it’s going to be released in October. And even better than that, we have a copy.

Our early proof is held together with one of those springy, clawlike, plastic, spiral bound thinga-majigs. They threw in a proof of the hardback jacket too (see below) and it’s got Nesbo’s name in a gold emboss. But the important stuff is what’s inside. This original Harry Hole story sees our dogged, hard-drinking detective sent off to Sydney, Australia, to assist in a murder investigation. A Norwegian girl has been slain, but Hole is merely there to help. He’s not meant to get too involved. However when further murders and disappearances start occuring, he gets his teeth into the case. Could he become the murderer’s next victim?

I guess not seeing as eight other Harry Hole novels were written. But for fans who’ve read the latest, Phantom, this is great news. Without wanting to give too much away, in that book Nesbo seems to close the door on his 14-million-selling detective. So going back to the start at least provides us with something to new to read starring Harry Hole. It might be the first novel in the original series, but it’s a prize winner. In 1997 this work won Nesbo the Glass Key Award, which rewards the best in Scandinavian crime fiction. Other winners have included Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson.

Crime Fiction Lover is scheduled to take part in a Google Hangout with Jo Nesbo on 24 June. We’re not sure what all the details will be but keep an eye on our the site, our Twitter feed and join us on Google Plus – we’ll be posting more information soon.

After The Bat, Nesbo wrote The Cockroach, which is yet to appear in English. Something else to look forward to, perhaps.


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