Flaggermusmannen The Bat

Harry Hole #1

An old-fashioned Norwegian cop moves through the sunburnt and violent urban underworld of Sydney, looking for an unusually ruthless killer and for redemption for his own troubled soul.

The Bat was awarded with the most prestigious crime writing award in Norway, the Riverton Prize (Rivertonprisen) 1997 for ‘Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year’, as well as the premier crime writing award in Scandinavia, The Glass Key (Glasnyckeln) 1998 for ‘Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year’.

Click here for a video interview in English with Jo Nesbø about The Bat.


The Glass Key (Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year) The Nordic Countries 1998
The Riverton Prize (Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year) Norway 1997
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  • “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. /…/ 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.”

    Publishers Weekly, US

  • “Harry is already every bit as volcanic as in his later cases. The big difference is Australia, which Nesbø, seeing it through the eyes of both a tourist and a cultural pathologist, makes you wonder how much different it is from Norway after all.”

    Kirkus Reviews, US

  • “This is an absolute must for devotees of the riveting train wreck that is Harry Hole. /…/ While the chronological confusion is disconcerting, it adds a layer of dramatic irony to the tale and enhances its tension and power.”

    Booklist, US

  • “A fascinating book /…/ It is a stunning opening to the series.”

    Sunday Times, UK

  • The Bat fills in the early blanks for Hole fans who must have wondered how he came to be such a tortured soul. With an unerring ability to attract death, Hole takes his first blundering steps towards becoming the sort of character that thriller fans find irresistible. Wether a hardened Hole addict or a first-time imbiber, The Bat is sure to snare your interest with its tale of this booze-fuelled policeman.”

    Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

  • “Although this is the first in award-winning author Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series, and was published in Norway in 1997, it has only just been translated into English. It’s worth the wait.”

    GQ, UK

  • The Bat is a gripping mystery and a fascinating insight into the (occasionally) recovering alcoholic detective’s earlier life.”

    Bella, UK

  • “Even with this first book Nesbø’s command of the idiom is completely in place—there is absolutely no sense that the writer was finding his feet and aficionados will be very pleased to slide this on to their bookshelves alongside the other Harry Hole novels.”

    Daily Express, UK

  • “It is fantastic to see a younger Harry, a more loquacious Harry. /…/ [Nesbø is] a terrific writer who knows how to build a story, taking you slowly to the top of a rollercoaster before sending you hurtling towards a solution that you never see coming.”

    Scottish Express, UK

  • “Nesbø is already taking on the clichés, ruthlessly tearing them apart and coming up with new riffs. /…/ Most satisfyingly, we can now see the organic shape that Nesbø always intended his work to take.”

    The Independent, UK

  • “Whether a hardened Hole addict or a first-time imbiber, The Bat is sure to snare your interest with its tale of this booze-fuelled policeman”

    Sunday Sun, UK

  • “An exciting and worth reading novel, from which the reader takes the author’s erudition without becoming subject to lecture, learning a great deal about Australia’s original inhabitants.”

    Unicum Beruf, Germany

  • “An excellent crime novel.”

    Prinz, Germany

  • The Bat is a gripping crime novel.”

    Berliner Morgenpost, Germany

  • The Bat is innovative and different, and the pace that Jo Nesbø uses in his debut novel makes one eager for a sequel.”

    Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

  • The Bat is a rather amazing and entertaining story about a Norwegian policeman, who travels to Sydney in search for answers as to the death of a young Norwegian girl.”

    Politiken, Denmark

  • “A compelling crime story with elements of original Australian myths. /…/ a powerful debut novel for which Jo Nesbø was awarded The Glass Key (Glasnyckeln) 1998 for ‘Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year.’ It is the nuanced depictions of characters and milieu along with historical background and well-crafted dialogues that make the story run smoothly. The description of Harry’s week-long binges following the murders are so vivid that the reader himself is all but left with the same hangover. Jo Nesbø, write the next one!”

    Berlingske, Denmark

  • “It’s not only the character gallery, but also the depiction of Australia in the Norwegian novel The Bat by Jo Nesbø that feels incredibly refreshing.”

    Allers, Sweden

  • “It’s only to applaud the choice, because The Bat is a very different and very fascinating story, told with a sense for excitement and humour. The environmental surrounding is also rare, as well as the character gallery.”

    Eskilstuna-Kuriren, Sweden

  • “Nesbø skilfully intertwines aborginal mythology and Harry’s past in the story, which works on several levels, the way a hard-boiled crime novel should do. /…/ An ambitious, fun, exciting and original crime novel.”

    Smålandsposten, Sweden

  • The Bat is a fast paced novel with a rich language and a colorful character gallery.”

    Vetlanda-Posten, Sweden

  • “It is safe to say that a new crime talent has entered the arena. Nesbø will for sure stand strong in the coming seasons.”

    Dagbladet, Norway

  • “Jo Nesbo has written the most clever debut novel in the crime genre that I’ve read in a long time.”

    Aftenposten, Norway

  • “Nesbø knows an awful lot about Australia and Australian history. /…/ Jo Nesbø's debut novel is definitely this fall's cheapest way to go to Sydney.”

    Verdens Gang, Norway

  • “Jo Nesbø should be the obvious candidate for a long list of upcoming awards. Not since Karin Fossum's Evas Øye has a Norwegian made his debut with such a convincing work of fiction in the crime genre as Jo Nesbø.”

    Aftenbladet, Norway

Photo: Stian Broch Jo Nesbø
  • Crime
Reading material

Norwegian edition

English edition

Rights sold

Brazil, Record

Bulgaria, Emas

Canada, Penguin Random House

Catalonia, Proa

China, Booky (Simplified Chinese)

Croatia, Fokus

Czech Republic, Zlin

Denmark, Modtryk

Estonia, Varrak

Finland, Johnny Kniga

France, Gaïa (Hardcover)

France, Gallimard (Paperback)

Germany, Ullstein

Greece, Metaixmio

Hungary, Animus

Iceland, Forlagid

India, Westland

Israel, Babel

Italy, Einaudi

Korea, Viche

Latvia, Zvaigzne ABC

Lithuania, Baltos Lankos

Netherlands, Cargo

Norway, Aschehoug

Poland, Dolnoslaskie

Portugal, Dom Quixote

Romania, Trei

Russia, Inostranka

Serbia, Laguna

Slovakia, Ikar

Slovenia, Didakta

Slovenia, Mladinska

Spain, Mondadori

Sweden, Albert Bonniers

Taiwan, Azoth (Complex Chinese)

Türkiye, Dogan Egmont

UK, Harvill

Ukraine, Folio

Ukraine, KM Books

US, Knopf

Film rights sold

UK/US, Working Title / Netflix

More From Jo Nesbø

Harry Hole

Short Story Collection

Doctor Proctor

Blood on Snow