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on 10 March 2007
I tried to read this as slowly as possible to prolong the sheer self-hugging joy of it all but, of course,I was unequal to the task. Swept along by the helter-skelter pace of the story line, I paused only to look up all the words and references with which I was not familiar. (Quite a few, as usual, when reading Mr Hill). To describe the plot would probably render me fit only for a Dalzielesque verbal broadside from other readers, so all I can do is recommend it with all my heart.
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I loved this book. I have read every Dalziel and Pascoe book and looked forward to each new one with delight. With Arms and The Woman however I thought Hill had finally lost the plot, and I was so disappointed I have never approached them in the same way since. Luckily this is a classic and a real return to form. Pascoe goes it alone in this one with Fat Andy hovering between life and death caught up in what looks like a terrorist explosion. Having said that, Dalziel dominates the book as usual, leaving Pascoe desperately trying to catch up. Hector gets to shine here too, becoming a much more rounded and interesting character. Fantastic.
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2008
Through a succession of ever-better novels, beginning with 'A Clubbable Woman' in 1970 and culminating (for me) in 'On Beulah Height' in 1999, Reginald Hill estabnlished himself as one of the finest crime writers in the business and his heroes Dalziel and Pascoe as amongst the most believable and likeable detectives. After the superlative 'On Beulah Height', however, subsequent books (and especially 'Arms and the Women') seemed to lose their way somewhat.

Not so 'The Death of Dalziel', which brings a triumphant return of the very best qualities of the Dalziel and Pascoe series - a complicated plot (which I shall not, of course, reveal), well-paced writing, excellent characterisation and a blend of subtle wit and incisive commentary. Where crime novels are concerned, it doesn't get better than this - very highly recommended!
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2007
It's the 22nd installment in the highly successful Dalziel and Pascoe police procedurals by Reginald Hill. Perhaps the title gives it added interest, but "The Death of Dalziel" is perhaps the most absorbing, even mesmerizing, episode in this highly successful series set in Yorkshire. Hill's books sometimes run the gamut, from the highly exciting (such as this one) to some that, frankly, seem, somehow, lacking, to be kind.

Lacking in characterization, however, is not one of Hill's weaknesses, as over the course of this series he's made us comfortable with his unforgettable players, from "the Fat Man" (Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel) and his educated and precise Det. Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe through the regulars, Ellie Pascoe, Sgt., Wield, and Sgt. Hector.

In the latest book, Dalziel lies comatose, following a bomb explosion iN a suspected terrorists house, in which he and Pascoe were called to investigate. Although also injured, Pascoe survives to pursue the case, seconded to the British anti-terrorist unit (CAT). This time the terrorists perpetrating the bombing are a group of loyal Brits who align themselves with the historical Knights Templar, but complete with modern techniques and agendas, using the "an eye for an eye" thinking to fight what they believe is the Islamic menace.

As ever, Hill's storyline is filled with complications (as well as commentary on some of the social events of today). This is no ordinary investigation, although it does carry with it some of the ordinary characteristics: murder, intrigue, duplicity, deceit. And all at a very fast pace. This may not be Hill's best work, although it's one of my favorites (the others being "Exit Lines," "Child's Play," and "The Wood Beyond"), but fans of the intrepid duo (D&P) certainly won't want to miss this one.

Overshadowing all else in the book is the unnerving condition of Dalziel. While not a physical character in the investigation, his presence prevails as the story progresses, from his own unconscious thoughts to his influence over his staff and loved ones. "The Death of Dalziel" is a fitting tribute to the bigger-than-life Dalziel and Hill makes us love him all the more, warts and all.
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on 5 July 2017
Gets better as you get further into the story, not one of his best.
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on 27 August 2008
Here the pairing of policemen Dalziel and Pascoe is broken early as an explosion at a crime-scene puts Dalziel in a coma and in hospital. Pascoe goes solo in his efforts to find out what happened but feels blocked by colleagues in an anti-terrorism unit. The mysterious Knights Templar, Muslim characters and terrorism all play roles.

Hill's trademarks are there : he writes well, builds a sound plot and is good with his characterisations.

The story is interesting without being complex or overly challenging.

I have not read all of the Dalziel and Pascoe books, but I would say that this is on par with those I have read; it falls shy, however, of the standard set by Hill in "The Stranger House" and some of his other novels. 9/10
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on 25 March 2007
Although I've followed the adventures of Dalziel and Pascoe on TV, this is the first Reginald Hill book I've read. It's alleged that, unlike Colin Dexter with John Thaw's Morse, Reginald Hill does not approve of Warren Clarke playing Andy Dalziel in the TV adaptations of his novels (he isn't fat enough to play the Fat Man for a start). Hill denies it, of course (or at least he denied it in a recent interview I read), but his latest book represents a formidable challenge to the TV adapters. For the eponymous hero spends most of the book lying in a coma in intensive care, until finally . . .

Of course Dalziel won't die, you're thinking. Will he? Well, the clue is in the title. I won't give away the ending, but I have to confess I was shocked.

The story isn't your usual police procedural type of tale. It is a story with a complex plot about an extremist plot against extremist plotters, with a multi-layered counterplot. The introduction of the Security Services adds to the mix and takes the story off in unexpected directions. It's a book about belief (in truth, in God, in self, in right and wrong) and about identity and division (Yorkshire/Lancashire, Anglo/Asian, Christian/Muslim, cops/spooks). The novel is perfectly structured, but it's the development of the characters (especially Peter Pascoe without the support and guidance of the comatose Dalziel) that brings the story to life.
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on 18 August 2010
NOTE: This book was published in North America under the title, "Death Comes for the Fat Man". Buyer beware!

Reginald Hill is a highly-skilled wordsmith and Fat Andy Dalziel (a name pronounced, of course, in no rational manner) is so strong a character that there is always some joy to be found in one of Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe novels.

Not all D&P books are of equal joy, however. Dalziel is always an appealing and appalling delight but Pascoe, his junior partner in the series, is correspondingly and even insistently bland. Worse, he is married to Ellie, one of the most singularly dreary female characters in all of literature, a feminine blight almost as horrendous as the ghastly Susan Whats'ername in the American Spenser series.

"Death Comes for the Fat Man" has its virtues but, as Dalziel is effectively out of the main lines of the plot and action, lying in a coma, the story is perforce carried by Pascoe. And yes, in the absence of his coarse, blustering, overweight mentor, Bland Peter assumes some of Dalziel's characteristics out of sheer reaction, but it's a matter of too little and too late. And--could it be doubted?--Ellie inevitably rushes in to fill the vacuum of Fat Andy's absence, not so much in wordage as in her sheer, glum, annoying, whining, fault-finding, grumbling, unsupportive, unforgiving presence.

Hill is a highly successful commercial commodity. I think it is safe to assume that his publishers are so happy to have his name on a manuscript that they have foresworn such trifles as editing to tighten up his work or suggesting that his plot devices are downright idiotic. The particular idiocy in this book is in the author's choice of villains: a coven of right-wing, murderous prats who fancy themselves the Knights Templars reborn while messily doing away with British Moslems who have incurred their knightly ire for one reason or another. That even Hill is unable to take them seriously is evident in his comparisons of them to the boys' school desperados of Kipling's "Stalky & Co."

Hill is also back on one of his hobby-horses, an old favorite that has turned up with increasing frequency in his more recent books: the deviousness, duplicity and sheer dangerousness of the right-wingers who run Britain's security services. Ha, considering the track record of those services, such a vision of their competence is one that only a dedicated and terminally fretful left-winger could hold.

Despite the faults of "Death Comes for the Fat Man," Reginald Hill is still enough of a writer to make it worthwhile for a reader to put down a little hard-earned cash for the privilege of reading his book. The book's good enough, but it certainly is no equal to the earlier and much tighter members of the series. I give it four weak stars.
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Reginald Hill's "Death Comes for the Fat Man" is a highly literate and thoroughly engaging story that grabs the reader from the first page. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the witty, insightful and very credible dialogue that takes place between all of the characters involved in the story--not just the principals. His development of the relationship between several couples in the book is wise and so believable. He is a total master at using his characters' words to carry the plot line. Narrative is used sparingly, though also effectively.

In "Death Comes for the Fat Man," a life-threatening event puts Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel out of action until the last few pages of the book. His partner, Pete Pascoe, is on his own in resolving crimes--committed and planned--by right-wing fanatics galvanized into acton by events in Afghanistan, Iraq and closer to home in racially ambivalent Britain. While physically absent (more or less), the legendary Dalziel continues to be a central player in the story by dint of his larger-than-life personality and influence on all who have worked with him. Kudos to author Hill for successfully bringing off this artifice in the book.

Mystery fans will also appreciate the lack of transparent direction in this book. Resolution comes only very late in the story and it is a clever and non predictable ending. This is a great read by an author at the height of his talent.

NOTE: This book was also published as "Death Comes for the Fat Man".
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on 9 May 2008
Andy Dalziel (usually pronounced Dee-elle), a large "common man" type detective and Peter Pascoe, his better educated (and it's presumed, classically better looking) subordinate are two characters that Reginald Hill has used in a number of murder mysteries. He usually uses them in a way that allows him to make clever digs about class and education, while they solve crime in the UK.

This book is slightly different. Dalziel is severely wounded (and spends the remainder of the book in intensive care) when an Muslim run videostore is blown up. The deaths of the people inside are followed by the deaths of a number of high profile radical British Muslims, but Pascoe has to investigate all the deaths on his own (in conjunction with the Anti-Terrorism Squad), because Dalziel is otherwise engaged.

I'm not sure about this book, because the typical central dynamic that allows the story to rattle along isn't there. It flows along at a decent enough pace, but it doesn't work as well I don't think, because that central focus of most of Hill's stories isn't there.

You'll probably enjoy it, but don't come in expecting what you've got in previous books or what you get in the TV series.
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