Review: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently Book 1 of 2)

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams

I liked this a lot more than I expected to.  I had read the author’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about 20 years ago and, while I remember finding it mildly amusing and clever at times, I also found it too unrealistically silly to take seriously and didn’t much care for it.  My memory of that book is too fuzzy for me to say if this book is significantly different in style, or if I’ve just become more tolerant of the type of humor.  I do think Pratchett’s Discworld series taught me how to enjoy silly books now and then.


I really didn’t find this book overly silly, though.  It was very funny and I giggled madly through quite a bit of it, but the humor mostly felt like an integral part of the story.  In the past, I've had more trouble when the story just feels like a vehicle for the humor.  The electric monk was the only part I considered to be completely absurd, but he was funny so I forgave him. :)


This is a science fiction story, set mostly in the present day on our world at around the time it was published in 1987.  A computer programmer named Richard seems to be having a lot of strange things happen lately.  There’s a couch stuck in the stairwell to his flat that nobody can figure out how to move up or down, he has an odd visit with a former university counselor, and a rather shocking experience while he’s driving, and so on.  If I attempt to give any more detail than that, I think it would spoil the story. 


There are a lot of different elements packed into a fairly short book, but it was all coherent and easy to follow for the most part.  I did think the resolution was very fuzzy.  I understood the gist of it, but I think it was stretching things a little and failed to take into account other possibilities.  Overall though, I enjoyed the book and I loved the humor.


Next Book

I have the above book in an omnibus which includes the sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, so I’m moving on to that next.