In Nesbo’s first book in the series, Harry is sent to Australia to help with the investigation into the death of a minor celebrity. He’s assigned to help an aboriginal detective with the case(a very interesting relationship develops), and they travel all over the country tracking down leads. People’s stories start to unravel, and Harry and the team discover links to a crime spree of great proportions.
Nesbo provides background into his character that may be important for understanding him later in the series, but I don’t think it’s essential to enjoying the other books. Overall, the mystery murder/ serial killer plot line is ok. It is pieced together precariously and definitely seems like an earlier work.
Like others, I don’t think this is the best Hole book by far, but if you’re a completist, it’s good to see where the series starts. The Snowman, The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil’s Star are all very good books I’ve read in the series and would be ok to start with. As a quick aside, I read Nesbo’s stand alone The Son a couple years ago, and thought it was excellent.
Are you a Nesbo fan? What are your favorites?