The first of Holt's books I read was "Expecting Someone Taller", which I thought was brilliant. "Only Human" and "Falling Sideways" were enjoyable, if nothing to write home about. Now I've read "Wish You were Here", and I'm going to give up on him - this book was just too disappointing.
The book starts off engagingly, if confusingly, with a number of weird and amusing characters, involved in bonkers and increasingly interwoven plot lines. The plot ticks along very nicely, with great pace and humour... until the middle of the book, when it frankly starts to get tedious. We get a number of further plot developments and new characters which feel like too much of the "same thing" (if you can say that of his surreal plots and characters). I had to really push myself to keep going... until the last few chapters, when Holt appears to have woken up and started writing more engagingly again.
I was pleased that the book looked like finishing on a high - but what a disappointment! I will not give away the ending, but it was utterly uninspired. It was way too easy, requiring absolutely no imagination on the part of the author. Not only is the ending device about the oldest in the book, it did nothing to develop any such meaning or philosophy as the book might have been developing. "Expecting Someone Taller" wasn't just a good, funny read - it actually had something to say. I had the sense that in "Wish you were here" Holt had run out of time (some sort of publishing deadline?) and ideas, and had just thrown something together to get it off his hands.
If you really only like Holt for the comic writing, and aren't worried about the excellence of the plot, much less any deeper meaning, you may well still enjoy this book. But if you're the sort who likes Terry Prachett and Robert Rankin because they write novels that are more than just funny, then you will probably find this book a disappointment.