Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


Being a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy it was natural to pick up the Dirk Gently series. It’s recognisably Adams, but focuses on subject matter less relating to space travel. There is an element of time travel though.

It’s a bit of an odd book, coming in at under 300 pages it’s pretty short, yet the titular character doesn’t make an appearance until mid-way through. The first half presents us with a series of introductions to seemingly disconnected characters performing actions that appear to have nothing to do with the plot.

That is, of course, an example of ‘the fundamental interconnectedness of all things’ on which Dirk Gently’s investigative services are based and they are slowly woven together.

It’s hard to criticise someone of Adam’s caliber, but the pacing of the book felt a little off to me. It seems to take a long time to get going, with random threads popping up without introduction, making it quite confusing (on top of the usual asides expected in Adams’ work). Then, as things start moving, it gathers immense pace.

The ending also seems to fizzle out. The entire of humanity is on the line yet it’s handled without any fanfare and a quick summary. It’s like he was told he only had a set number of pages and, realising he had nearly reached it, suddenly had to tie it all up.

That said, it is filled with the bizarre, slightly insane, yet utterly brilliant ideas which the author is best-known for. On the one hand they make you chuckle, and yet there also seems to be some sort of truth at their core. The tone makes the work sound like satire of its genre, yet the author clearly loves it.

Not for everyone I’m sure, but if you enjoy the zany then it won’t disappoint.

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Reviewed: 12th November 2016