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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2011
An amazing novel by probably the best science-fiction comedy writer of all time. This review is alas, however, for the Kindle edition, which is riddled with errors brought about by its direct OCR translation to digital format, which evidently never underwent anything as elaborate as a once-over proofread before it was released.

Some of these errors diminished understanding of the text altogether. For example, at a pivotal point during the novel, "a book fell out of the pocket" reads "a hook fell out of the pocket," in this edition. The non sequitur caused a cognitive paradox which tore the fabric of the universe around it, and kept me awake for an hour researching wherefore a hook should fall out of any bloody pocket in this novel in the first place.
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on 4 March 2003
After having read Adams's 'Hitchhiker' series, I then wished to read the recently published posthumous compilation of his works, 'The Salmon of Doubt'. Yet after viewing the back of that particular book, I realised that I would benefit from reading his two preceding Dirk Gently novels beforehand. The first, 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency', is hilariously written, with characters that compliment each other perfectly. Dirk Gently himself outranks Sherlock Holmes and Dick Tracy, in every manner but conventionality of methods, and it is his theory of the 'interconnectedness' of all things that gives the entire novel its sharp and refreshing originality. If read over a prolonged period, the ending may prove a little confusing; but if closely followed, the intelligent climax will be appreciated. Read this book, then read the others!
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on 13 August 2001
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is yet another example of the genius that brought us the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. A plot line with as many twists as...something twisty, and as much chaos as the average family household. It's filled with Adams-esque humour, which is subtle enough not to look silly and obvious enough that even *I* get most of the jokes ;o).
Most people see the Dirk Gently novels as secondary to the Hitchhikers series, but in my opinion they approach, and in some places exceed, Hitchhikers. There is something endearing about Dirk Gently, perhaps it's his oddness that most of us can relate to in some way.
If you like slightly insane humour, or any of Adam's other works (which include several Dr. Who scripts as well as the hugely popular Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), you should definitely read this book!
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on 4 January 2004
Obviously the name Douglas Adams is always going to mean 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', but for those who have only got that far, there are even greater delights to be found between the covers of 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'.
Few books can survive multiple readings, but 'Dirk Gently's...' is one of them. The more you read it, the more there is and the more you realise what a genius Adams was.
It's not worth outlining the story or picking illustrations of the writing, suffice to say that this book is quite simply Adams at his brilliant best.
Buy it and read it until it falls apart. Then buy it again. You will NOT be disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2006
As a novelist the only time Douglas Adams managed to break free of his Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy universe was with his two Dirk Gently novels, of which this is the first. One’s appreciation of this novel will ultimately depend on whether or not you are familiar with Douglas Adams’ work as a scriptwriter for Doctor Who in the late 70’s. If you are not (though for heavens sake why not?) you can instantly add another star to the rating I have given this book, as this novel is an amusing and intelligent read. As with Hitch-Hikers, Douglas Adams is still firmly in comic science fiction mode, and Dirk himself is a hilarious character, a detective who’s insane methods bizarrely seem to have successful results. The only slight quibble here is that Adams seems to be much better at introducing his many ideas (over a third of the novel is gone in a blizzard of Oxford dons, mathematical music, Electric Monks, and a wandering ghost, before Dirk himself is even introduced) than bringing them to a satisfying conclusion (the ultimate dramatic threat of the extinction of humanity is finally raised and instantly resolved in a couple of pages in a very anti-climactic fashion), but as fractured and bitty as this novel is there is plenty to enjoy.
However, while it may all seem fresh and new to some readers, for those familiar with Douglas Adams work on Doctor Who this novel will ultimately turn out to be a rather unsatisfying re-hash of old material. Douglas Adams famously suffered from writer’s block, and looking back one can see that while he initially produced a staggering amount of ideas during the period when he was simultaneously working on Doctor Who and the Hitch-Hiker’s radio series, he then had many rather bare years as a novelist: ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ was a re-write of an old unused Doctor Who story idea, and ‘So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish’ was a virtually plot-less romance novel. ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ itself is a re-write of two of Adams old Doctor Who scripts, ‘Shada’ and ‘City of Death’, and frankly it’s not an improvement on the old material. Inevitably Adams has to do some pretty heavy rewrites to disguise the material, but Dirk himself is such an obvious eccentric Doctor substitute that it becomes increasingly difficult not to visualise Tom Baker in the role when reading the novel. There are still enough asides and new material to make this an interesting read, with the material on the mathematics of music and the tale of a man who suddenly finds himself a ghost being particularly enjoyable, but ultimately this is an inferior re-hash of two superior scripts.
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on 15 April 2013
This book is, erm, very Douglas Adams!

I'm a fan of Hitchhikers Guide, and also enjoyed the TV adaptation of Dirk Gently starring Stephen Mangan. so when this came up as a recommendation I thought I'd give it a try. It's very disjointed to start, and seems to take a long time to get going. Perhaps the only bad thing about a Kindle is seeing at the bottom of the screen how far through the book you are... I was 50% through before Dirk even came into the frame! It felt more like in Life, The Universe and Everything, where the Guide seemed to lose its way too. It did, however, pick up very quickly, and was much more like the sharp humour of the first two Hitchhikers books. If you're expecting the same as The Guide, you may be disappointed, but if you pick it up with a clear head, you'll enjoy once it picks up.

Overall an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure it's one I'll be reaching for again any time soon.
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on 10 January 2016
If you have read any to Douglas Adams other books and not read this then read it. If you have not read any Douglas Adams books then I would highly recommend them. The characterisation is wonderful, the humour is whimsical, wry and gently mocking and the fantasy is delightlfully strange but somehow real and possible. Read the books-you'll see what I mean
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on 24 February 2013
I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy in 5 books, and if anything the Dirk Gently series is even better. This one and it's sequel, The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, are weird & wacky reads in which Dirk Gently, a generally unpleasant and selfish PI, solved mysteries based on the interconnectedness of all things.

I've read this book several times over the years and enjoy it every time. Definitely worth a read.
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on 26 December 2010
Great writer, great (short) story, confusing conclusion BUT the Kindle version is strewn with typos and other errors. Makes it hard to follow the complex plot. Amazon needs to tighten up on the proof reading of these electronic books. JP.
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on 20 February 2015
Another of the Douglas Adams fanciful tales. I just wonder what he might have produced if he were still with us on this plain. Dirk Gently does it again: solves the impossible: explains the improbable: and generally makes his own type of mayhem whilst doing it! How can you describe someone's mind and thought processes that are so alien to ones own every page brings a new twist to reality as one knows it. An enjoyable and absorbing read.
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