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Jo Nesbo Books In Order

Updated on September 10, 2014

Reading The Jo Nesbo Harry Hole Books In Order

If you've read one of the Harry Hole books, you're probably wondering how to read the Jo Nesbo books in order. Afterall their proper order is a bit confusing: some books have been translated to English, while others not yet.

And some of the non-translated books take place earlier in the series than those translated.

Ever since reading The Snowman, I got hooked on this intriguing police procedural story set in Oslo, Norway. From the conversations in the book, however, I realized that The Snowman was actually the 7th book in this awesome series! Lots of books to catch up with!

So let's put the by now famous Jo Nesbo books featuring Harry Hole in the proper reading order, focusing on the translated books in English.

Featured image is showing the very first Harry Hole book published end of 2012

Police - New Jo Nesbo Book Alert!

Police Jo Nesbo
Police Jo Nesbo

This is the new Jo Nesbo book that was published in 2013, it's already available on Amazon on various formats, including Kindle, paperback, large print, hardcover and audio as well.

Below you can listen to a fun video where Jo Nesbo himself talks about Police. Worth listening to.

Overview Of The Jo Nesbo Books In Order

The Translated Books Featuring Harry Hole

Should The Harry Hole Novels Be Read In Order?

Harry Hole is a series that follows the Norwegian detective through the many cases that he solves.

Some books are rather standalone, however others closely follow each other (like for example Police (book 10) follows Phantom (book 9).

So yes, now that all the currently published books have been translated to English, I strongly suggest you pick them up and read them in the order of publication - which coincidentally is also the chronological order.

These Are The Order Of The Translated Books To English

A List Of The Non-Translated Books Will Be Given Below

1 The Bat (Harry Hole Book 1) - This is the very first novel written by Jo Nesbo, under the original name of Flaggermusmannen. It was written back in 1997, and translated to English in 2012.

2. Cockroaches (Harry Hole Book 2) - this is the second Harry Hole book, translated quite recently, however, in 2013

3 - The Redbreast (Harry Hole Book 3) - This is the second translated Harry Hole book, however in the actual series it is the 3rd one (the actual second books hasn't been translated from Norwegian yet). Was translated and published in 2006. Original name is Rødstrupe and was initially written in 2000.

4 - Nemesis (Harry Hole Book 4) - The third translated book in the series in in 2008 was actually written in Norwegian in 2002 under the name of Sorgenfri.

5 - The Devil's Star (Harry Hole Book 5) - The Devil's Star is the next translated book in English, but as the original order is concerned, it is the 5th Jo Nesbo book in order. It was translated and published in 2005, however the original one under the name of Marekors was first written in 2003.

6 - The Redeemer (Harry Hole Book 6) - The Redeemer is the 5th translated book featuring Harry Hole. It was published in 2009. The original book has the name Frelseren and it was written in 2005.

7 - The Snowman (Harry Hole Book 7) - The Snowman was the first book I read which hooked me on the series. It was published in English in 2010 and the original book called Snømannen was written in Norwegian in 2007.

8 - The Leopard (Harry Hole Book 8) - The Leopard is the 7th translated Harry Hole novel. It was published in 2011 and the original book with the title Panserhjerte was written in 2009.

9 - Phantom (Harry Hole Book 9) - Phantom is the 8th translated book and it was published in 2012. The original name is Gjenferd and it was merely written in 2011.

10 - Police (Harry Hole Book 10) - The latest Harry Hole novel, with full English translation already available.

Check out all Jo Nesbo books in the series

Harry Hole Books Reviewed

The Bat (Harry Hole Book 1)

This is the very first Harry Hole book, which was translated and published into English very recently, towards the end of 2011. I have already read all the previously translated novels, so I already knew who Harry is and what is his overall style. This very first book tackles the murder of a Norwegian woman in Australia.

As a matter of courtesy, Harry is invited (sent) there to observe and notice without interfering, and he is clearly let know by the local police that his 'involvement' is not encouraged. Of course, this doesn't stop him from going after the killer himself...

Cockroaches (Harry Hole Book 2)

Cockroaches is the second book in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo (originally published in 1998), which was only translated to English last year in 2013. I'm glad that more of the books in the series are getting the English translation, because reading them in the original language, Norwegian, is just not possible for most of us loyal followers.

With this book you're basically traveling back in time to a period when Harry Hole went to Bangkok in Thailand. Here Harry is hoping that by being too drunk, he will not be able to solve the rather sensitive case he was sent for by his bosses. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for us), the turn of events prove him otherwise. He does get drunk, but what follows is another story.

The Redbreast (Harry Hole Book 3)

This is the second translated book in the Harry Hole series. It was also my second book to read, after having read The Snowman. Here we first learn about Harry Hole, a tough police officer based in Oslo, Norway. We also learn that Harry is a depressed alcoholic who still gets the job done. He is a rather sad personality who is extremely intriguing. Not sure why but in a way this complex, lonely character who always solves the crimes reminds me a bit of Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone (which I also adored).

In a rather mundane case that Harry is assigned to, he discovers a plot of assassination going back to WWII. The plot is quite complex and it keeps the momentum going right until the end. My copy of the book has over 500 pages, so plenty of reading to do.

Nemesis (Harry Hole Book 4)

In this third translated book, we find Harry Hole trying to solve the crime of a bank robbery turned to murder, which will then take him to the world of the gypsies. I loved this book, it is quite a strong psychological thriller with a lot of twists and turns, a great plot and the character that it's impossible not to like.

This is a book which has in fact several parallel going plots, so you really have to pay attention to try to keep the plots apart.But that makes it such a great read, as the book is not boring at all.

Having Trouble Spelling Harry Hole The Right Way?

No, it's not spelled like the English word :)

Check the video below to find out!

The Devil's Star (Harry Hole Book 5)

Harry Hole is back, this time trying to solve a new crime along with trying to avenge the death of his old partner. He is still an alcoholic, and he still gets the job brilliantly at that. I loved the many red herrings in this book. Every time I thought I figured it all out, it turned out I was wrong.

Quite a complex story again, this time featuring a serial killer who is leaving bodies of girls with one cut off finger and a red diamond in the shape of a pentagram. As if solving this crime isn't enough, Harry has also to deal with the fact that he is on the brink of being fired by the police department for his heavy drinking...

The Redeemer (Harry Hole Book 6)

The Redeemer is the 4th translated Harry Hole book. A 14 year old girl was raped twelve years ago at a Salvation Army summer camp in Norway. This is what the book starts with, after which we are brought back to today, where a volunteer dressed as a Salvation Army soldier is shot by somebody in the crowd at a Christmas concert.

Harry has to solve the crime and, as usual, he comes up against numerous obstacles while doing so. What makes the story more complex is the weather which is neither on Harry's side, nor on the killer's side who can not fly home to Zagreb after the kill because the airport is closed. However, this is where he hears that the man whom he shot was not his intended target...

So far, this was one of the best Jo Nesbo books in order I have read.

The Snowman (Harry Hole Book 7)

This book was my first contact with Harry Hole, which got me hooked on the series. And this is the very first book to make me scared of snowmen built in front yards. Really. I mean clowns yes, but snowmen?

Of course there is a killer on the loose, but what has this to do with the snowmen suddenly appearing in front of every house where a crime has been committed? It's an awesome read and if you never believed that snowmen-phobia exists, read this book to experience it yourself!

The Leopard (Harry Hole Book 8)

Here we have another serial killer, and let me tell you that some scenes are brutal bordering on horror. Yet they work extremely well in this book. This time Harry is in China trying to shake off some people whom he owes money for his drug addition, and then we have some cases that his older bosses want him back to work on. Once back in Oslo he starts on the case where initially two women who were tortured and killed with a device called Leopold's apple.A very gruesome way to get killed.

Of course there will be much more victims until Harry finds the killer, and the road is paved with gore, horror and lots of suspense. I really loved this book, was in fact much better than The Snowman.

Phantom (Harry Hole Book 9)

I've recently read it and let's just say that it is as awesome as the previous books by Jo Nesbo.

Harry is back again in Oslo and he comes across a seemingly easy case whereby a young junkie gets shot by another junkie.

However Harry wants the case opened and the police force doesn't want to let him. So of course, Harry starts out on his own to solve the murder...

Police (Harry Hole Book 10)

Police is currently the latest published book by Jo Nesbo in his native language (Norwegian) and it is also the latest translated novel. This means that we can now finally get to read all the books in the series in order, without skipping any due to it not being available in English.

In this latest installment, after what happened in Phantom (so I won't reveal the plot for you, as the two follow closely each other), Harry is in Olso, fighting crime and terror in the form of several murders that he now has to solve.

This book seems a bit slower going and probably heavier than the previous Hole novels, however the suspense, twists and turns are still there. Harry is still likable (although Jo Nesbo gives him as usual a major dose of self-loathing) and the writing is just as good - if not better - as before.

Do You Enjoy Reading Scandinavian Crime Fiction?

See results

Jo Nesbo's Standalone Thriller


This is a book that I've picked up after having finished with the currently published Harry Hole books. It is a stand alone thriller which has completely different characters. To be honest, the book is just as good as the previous ones I've read. The plot is complex, the suspense is there and the character, the headhunter Roger Brown is just as likable. Oh and did I mention he's also a sociopath and an art thief? And still, you can't not like him, I dare you to!

Have You Read Any Jo Nesbo Harry Hole Books?

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    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Cyprus

      Andres Roslund is a new author to me, thanks for the recommendation!

    • profile image

      Alan Braswell 

      4 years ago

      I enjoy Joe Nesbo stories. Read the Redbreast and currently reading The Snowman.

      Other authors I enjoy from that region of the world are Camilla Lackberg and Andres Roslund who writes with Borge Hellstrom.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have read all of them, and cannot wait for the next in the series!

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I started with The Snowman and went back in the series to read The Devil's Star. I wish I'd started at the beginning. I'm now reading The Redbreast, further back still and still wish I'd read in order because of the character development.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I haven't read any of his adult books (didn't even know he had any), but my sister and I love his Doctor Proctor series for kids. If you have any kids, pick up those books for them. They got my little sister into reading more.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @Marja79: Wow Marja, any good recommendations that you can give me on them? It's a shame really because I'm also European (Hungarian, so somehow 'loooooosely' related to the Finnish, so it's a great oversight from my end to not have included any really.

    • Marja79 profile image


      5 years ago

      I am a big fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, of course, I am from Scandinavia tho Finland is not officially included but we use it. ( we were a part of Sweden) So it kinda twists my heart a bit when talking about Scandinavian authors and not mentioning great Finnish authors nor Icelandic. Anytime Finnish authors can do the same than the others. Unfortunately I see many great books translated to other languages but English.

    • Fridayonmymind LM profile image

      Fridayonmymind LM 

      5 years ago

      I am a Jo Nesbo fan. I went to a couple of talks he gave last yer at our local Writers Festival. Entertaining, informative and jusr plain old interesting. Love his books and loved the move Headhunter also.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Cyprus

      @anonymous: The Bat is the first book written by Jo Nesbo, sadly it hasn't been translated yet, hence I put it in the second section of "The First Two Not Yet Translated Jo Nesbo Books In Order".

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the order, but where does the Bat fit in? Is it #!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for putting this in such an organized manner. I hate to read a series out of order and your article by far laid it out in a nice simple format with summaries of each book. I also appreciated the explanation about the untranslated books. Great job!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      I love jo nesbo, and have not read his books in order, I have read them as i wanted, and loved everyone of them!

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 

      5 years ago from Earth

      I just realized how many of your book lenses I have read! I am an audiobook listener and when I find an author I like I often go back to listen to all their books - and these lenses have helped me to listen to them in order!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      How interesting to be introduced to Scandinavian thrillers like this. Thanks so much. I really should put the laptop aside and go back to reading.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have read all ~ except Redbreast ~ and am waiting for the first two to be translated in English ~ more please :)

    • Paul Ward profile image


      6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      I had it in mind to write a lens on this and saw yours in a related lens section. Plan B ...

      I reviewed most of these on my blog and did mention that they can be read out of order but it's better to follow the order if you can. Why the US publisher chose such a strange publishing pattern, nobody knows.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just finished my first Jo Nesbo - was given the Leopard for Christmas - and am looking forward to reading another. I was thinking of reading them in order (going back to the first written) - but I didn't know that the first two haven't been translated yet - so I'll go for the Snowman! Great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Read all of them so far...and just picked up The Phantom via Amazon UK since it was just released in the UK...and couldn't wait for it to be released in the US. Good synopsis of each book!

    • Camden1 profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm not familiar with this author, but I definitely want to check these out after reading this!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      So many interesting book choices! Great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I enjoy reading the devil's star :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to admit that Jo's work is new to me! Thanks for the great intro!

      Yeah! Password below ses: eggnerd! I must be one egg-headed nerd - not to have come across this work before! :))


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