Jo Nesbo Books In Order – Complete List of Books

Last Updated on May 26, 2023

Reading the Jo Nesbø books in order in English means that we can now finally catch up to all 13 Harry Hole crime novels (they have finally all been translated to English), the 45 Doctor Proctor kids series, and the author’s four standalone novels.

I am really glad that most of his work has been translated, and hopefully, as the Harry Hole series grows, the books will all get the English update as well.

Here are the Jo Nesbo books in order for his two main thriller series and standalone novels.

New Jo Nesbo Book

Killing Moon
Killing Moon (Harry Hole #13), 2023

Harry Hole Book Series In Publication Order

The Harry Hole novels are listed by the original name,  publication order, chronological reading order and the English date of translation for each book.

  1. The Bat (Flaggermusmannen), 1997, translated 2012
  2. Cockroaches (Kakerlakkene), 1998, translation 2013
  3. The Redbreast (Rødstrupe), 2000, translated 2006
  4. Nemesis (Sorgenfri), 2002, translated 2008
  5. The Devil’s Star (Marekors), 2003, translated 2005
  6. The Redeemer (Frelseren), 2005, translated 2009
  7. The Snowman (Snømannen), 2007, translated 2010
  8. The Leopard (Panserhjerte), 2009, translated 2011
  9. Phantom (Gjenferd), 2011, translated 2012
  10. Police (Politi), 2013, translated 2013
  11. The Thirst (In Tørst), 2017
  12. Knife (Kniv), 2019
  13. Killing Moon (Blodmåne), 2023

Blood on Snow Books In Publication Order

featuring hitman Olav Johansen, a ruthless, cold-blooded killer with a softer side

  1. Blood on Snow (Blood on Snow #1), 2015
  2. Midnight Sun (Blood on Snow #2), 2016

Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder Books in Publication Order

  1. Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder, 2009
  2. Bubble in the Bathtub, 2011 (aka Time-Travel Bath Bomb)
  3. Who Cut the Cheese?, 2012 (aka The End of the World. Maybe)
  4. The Magical Fruit, 2013 (aka The Great Gold Robbery)
  5. Silent, But Deadly Night, 2017 (aka Can Doctor Proctor Save Christmas?)

Standalone Jo Nesbø Books in Publication Order

Collections of Short Stories in Publication Order

Who is Harry Hole, Jo Nesbo’s Main Character?

In the murky realm of crime fiction, where the line between heroes and antiheroes blurs, emerges a character who defies conventions and enthralls readers with his complex nature. Meet Harry Hole, the enigmatic protagonist of Jo Nesbø’s gripping crime series. A brilliant, introverted, and obsessively driven detective with the Oslo crime squad, Hole navigates the dark underbelly of Oslo’s criminal world with relentless determination and a touch of cynicism. He has been specially trained in interrogation techniques.

From the moment we encounter Harry in the series opener, The Bat, it’s clear that he is not your typical detective. With his unconventional methods and unorthodox approach, he often clashes with colleagues and superiors, challenging the status quo of the Oslo Police Department. Yet, despite the friction he ignites, Hole’s exceptional skills and reputation as a specialist earn him grudging respect and admiration.

Harry Hole is a man haunted by demons, both internal and external. Throughout the series, Nesbø explores his protagonist’s battles with alcoholism and depression, with a complicated family history, giving readers a raw and honest portrayal of the toll that relentless pursuit of justice can take on one’s psyche. As the crimes he investigates grow increasingly brutal and morally ambiguous, Hole’s mental health suffers, blurring the line between right and wrong.

Critics have drawn parallels between Harry Hole and the legendary detectives of literature—Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Jules Maigret, and Nero Wolfe. Unsurprisingly, Nesbø acknowledges the influence of Michael Connelly’s character, Harry Bosch, in shaping Hole’s persona. Like his predecessors, Harry Hole possesses an insatiable thirst for truth, often delving into the darkest recesses of the human soul to uncover it.

To understand Harry Hole fully, we must explore the events that shaped him. Born in 1965, Hole experienced the pain of losing his mother to cancer at a young age, leaving him emotionally scarred. His complex relationship with his father, Olav, and his deep attachment to his younger sister, Søs, add layers of depth to his character. A few close friends, like taxi driver Øystein Eikeland, provide glimpses of humanity in an otherwise solitary existence.

Set against the vivid backdrop of Oslo, Nesbø’s storytelling paints a vivid picture of the city’s streets and neighborhoods, drawing readers into the gritty reality Hole inhabits. Real locations such as the Oslo Police Department headquarters and the favorite “watering hole” Schrøder’s come alive in the narrative, lending authenticity to the series.

While Hole’s troubled personality often clashes with authority, he finds solace and trust in a select few within the police force. Bjarne Møller, head of the Oslo Police Department, shields Hole from the consequences of his actions, recognizing his brilliance as a detective. This protective bond fuels Hole’s loyalty and gratitude toward Møller, adding a touch of complexity to their dynamic. Additionally, friends like Beate Lønn, Bjørn Holm, Katrine Bratt, and Gunnar Hagen become pillars of support amidst the chaos.

Hole’s connection with Rakel Fauke stands out in the realm of personal relationships. Their love affair faces trials and tribulations, further complicated by Hole’s own demons and traumatic experiences. His relationship with Rakel’s son, Oleg, adds a paternal element to his character, demonstrating a tender side he guards fiercely.

The series takes readers on a turbulent journey, as Hole grapples with his own self-destructive tendencies, seeks redemption, and battles against the allure of the dark world he inhabits. With each installment, Nesbø peels back another layer of Harry Hole’s psyche, exposing his vulnerabilities and testing his resilience.

Why Should We Read the Jo Nesbo Harry Hole Books in Order?

The Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo is a compelling and widely acclaimed collection of crime novels that have captivated readers around the world. Here are several reasons why you should consider reading the series in order:

  1. Engaging and Complex Protagonist: The central character, Harry Hole, is a deeply flawed and intriguing detective. Following his journey from the beginning allows you to witness his character development and understand the complexities of his personality, making for a more immersive reading experience.
  2. Rich Character Gallery: Nesbo creates a diverse range of supporting characters who have their own stories and motivations. By reading the series in order, you’ll become invested in their individual arcs and relationships with Harry, adding depth to the overall narrative.
  3. Intricate Plot Threads: Nesbo’s storytelling is known for its intricacy and layering. Each novel builds upon the events of its predecessors, weaving a complex web of interconnecting plotlines. Reading the series in order ensures you don’t miss any key details or connections, enhancing your understanding and enjoyment of the overarching story.
  4. Continuity and Evolution: As the series progresses, Nesbo introduces recurring themes, subplots, and ongoing storylines. By following the order, you’ll witness the evolution of these elements, allowing you to appreciate the narrative continuity and the author’s skill in crafting an overarching story arc.
  5. Psychological Depth: Nesbo delves into the psychological depths of his characters, particularly Harry Hole. Reading the series in order allows you to witness the exploration of Harry’s psyche and the various psychological challenges he faces. This provides a deeper understanding of his actions, motivations, and inner struggles.
  6. Subtle References and Easter Eggs: The author occasionally includes subtle references and connections between Jo Nesbo’s books that can be easily missed if you skip around in the series. Reading in order allows you to pick up on these hidden gems and appreciate the author’s attention to detail.
  7. Series-Specific Storylines: While each book has its own self-contained story, there are overarching storylines and developments that span multiple novels. These overarching elements, such as Harry’s personal life, relationships, and career, are best experienced by reading the series chronologically.

Reading the Harry Hole series in order provides a comprehensive and rewarding reading experience. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in the intricately crafted world, unravel the complex mysteries, and witness the growth and evolution of the characters as the series unfolds.

Jo Nesbo Biography – About the Author

Jo Nesbo Harry Hole books in order

Jo Nesbø is a Norwegian author best known for his Harry Hole mystery series.

Born in 1960 in Molde, where he also grew up, he attended the Norwegian School of Economics from where he got his degree of Economics and Business Administration.

While he grew up in a family of readers, his first passion in life lay elsewhere: he wanted to become a professional football (soccer) player.

However, his dream, along with his cruciate ligaments, got shattered at the age of 18.

He could no longer play football, so he had to look elsewhere to continue his life. Because of soccer, his grade suffered, so when he finished school, several career paths were closed off to him.

So he instead enrolled in the army spending his next three years not only learning to fight but also learning self-discipline and the high school curriculum. After the daily exercises, he would spend his nights studying.

When he eventually got his high school diploma, it was a piece of paper he could be mightily proud of: his grades were excellent.

Sometimes when suddenly many doors open up in front of you, the choices are overwhelming and you can choose to go through the wrong door. This is what Jo experienced as well.

He was not sure of the career path he wanted to follow, so he enrolled in a prestigious school with a long, established tradition in Bergen. But when you are not fully committed to the path in front of you, distractions will happen.

While still studying, he became part of a band of rock musicians called De Tusen Hjem. He was the band’s guitarist.

After graduating from the university with a diploma in BA, he moved to Oslo where he started working in finance as a stockbroker, writing songs by the side.  Someone heard his compositions and offered him the opportunity to start a new band together.

The band they created was called Di Derre, a rock band, where he is the main vocalist, a rock star, and it turned out to become quite popular in Norway.

Working a regular job during the day, Jo Nesbø was playing during the night. He would not commit to ditching his daytime job because it was one thing to play as a part-time hobby, and another to fully commit to it, which might mean becoming burned out.

And eventually, he got burned out by everything in Jo Nesbo’s life, so he decided to take a sabbatical and moved for a while to Australia. While on the plane, he started working on his very first novel, which would become his first Harry Hole book as well.

When he returned from Australia, the book was almost done. After he finished writing it, he sent it to a publisher under a pseudonym, since his name was pretty well known in Norway.

The first Jo Nesbo book was published in 1997 under The Bat. It soon won two awards, the 1997 Riverton Prize for Best Norwegian Crime Novel and the 1997 Glass Key for Best Nordic Crime Novel.

In 1998 Jo moved to Bangkok for a while, where he worked on his second novel called Cockroaches. And so a new famous novel star, Harry Hole, was born.

In October 2017, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Charlotte Gainsbourg starred in a film adaption of The Snowman, the 7th Harry Holle book.

Macbeth, published in 2018, the author’s rendition of the Shakespearean story is a bloody crime noir. In an interview, the author himself mentioned that the book is a “thriller about the struggle for power” taking place “in a gloomy, stormy crime noir-like setting and in a dark, paranoid human mind.”

The story is still set in Scotland, as per the original Shakespeare, but the time setting is different. The Jo Nesbø Macbeth novel is set in the early 1970s instead of the 11th Century.

Overall, Jo Nesbø wears many different hats, including that of an author, musician, economist, reporter, former soccer player, and lately also TV producer.

Jo Nesbo Awards and Nominations

  1. The Bat – The Riverton Prize 1997 for Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year
  2. The Bat – The Glass Key Award 1998 for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year
  3. The Redbreast – The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize for Best Novel of the Year 2000
  4. Nemesis – The Mads Wiel Nygaard Bursary 2002
  5. The Redbreast – Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written awarded by the Norwegian book clubs in 2004
  6. The Devil’s Star – The Finnish Academy of Crime Writers’ Special Commendation 2007 for Excellence in Foreign Crime Writing
  7. The Redbreast – Shortlisted for Duncan Lawrie International Dagger 2007
  8. The Snowman – The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize for Best Novel of the Year 2007
  9. Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder – Shortlisted for Ark’s Children’s Book Award for Best Children’s Book 2007
  10. The Snowman – The Norwegian Book Club Prize 2008 for Best Novel of the Year
  11. Headhunters and Doctor Proctor’s Time Bathtub – Nominated for the Norwegian Bookseller’s Prize 2008
  12. Nemesis – Nominated for the Edgar Award 2010
  13. Awarded the Norwegian Peer Gynt Prize 2013
Like these books


  1. I am a big fan of Joe Nesbo’s books. I have read many of them. At the moment
    I am reading The Stalker by Lars Kepler.
    Pretty good…but love all of Nesbo’s books.


  2. If I had read The Bat first I doubt I would have read another of the authors books. It wasn’t until The Redbreast that I believe the author hit his stride. Since then I have been Hooked!

  3. THANKS!!!
    It’s great to finally find all the titles in the right order. For me it’s not just that novels crime story but the detectives life story I like to follow and it helps if I read in the right order. Love the stories but a character as carefully created as Harry Hole is I don’t want to miss any part of his life story
    Thanks for this now I can fill in the gaps and look forward to number 11

  4. Harry Hole books ,as good as Michael Connolly Books

    however ” The Son” a fantastic read.
    looking forward to reading Blood on the Snow.

  5. Thanks for this helpful list. I’ve come across a problem with the Harry Hole series order, since I must listen to audio books. The man who reads Book 4 is difficult to listen to. Many reviewers on Amazon feel the same way. So I skipped “Nemisis” and went on to “The Devils’s Star.” At least I had some background from reading the first 3 books, and I thoroughly enjoyed “Star.” Robin Sachs, the usual reader is excellent!

    Also, those of us who borrow from libraries must wait for the next book in the series to become available. But this gives me an opportunity to listen to other greats like Henning Mankell’s “The Man from Beijing.” This was written after the Wallender series and is quite gripping. The book involves Chinese history, takes place in Sweden, China, Europe and the US and also involves Chinese-African relations. Fascinating! Hopefully, he’ll write more about the judge featured in this book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *