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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  85,012 Ratings  ·  1,796 Reviews
What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 306 pages
Published June 1st 1991 by Pocket Books (first published May 15th 1987)
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Paul Books don't have age rating in the same way as films and video games do. It was was written for adults, but children have no doubt read it.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
Nov 05, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it
I still don't really understand how the ending of this book worked, and trying to describe the plot would be like trying to build a submarine out of cheese. Instead, I'll just share some quotes from this book that I especially loved, because Douglas Adams is the only author in the history of the world who is capable of creating them.

"'A horse?' he said again.
'Yes, it is,' said the Professor. 'Wait - ' he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate - 'Let it be. It won't b
...more
Manny
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shurrn
I am a firm believer that a bit of British humor is good for the soul...
And I am quite American, in case you did not know...

“Don’t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see?”
Douglas Adams has a highly quotable, laugh out loud writing style which I adore; I seem to remember a blurb describing this book as The Hit
...more
Ian Wood
Sep 22, 2007 Ian Wood rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: douglas-adams
Douglas Adams' underated masterpiece leads Dirk Gently from a search for a missing cat to unlocking the secrets of time travel and saving the human race from total extinction.

I thought no-one could write a better comic novel than 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' until I first read this. I've subsequently re-read this novel countless times and it never fails to entertain, I'm still finding references to literature and popular culture that I've previously missed.

That a novel can be re-rea
...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
Dec 03, 2014 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it really liked it
From the title you would think this is possibly about a detective agency. Well there is an agency but they don’t detect things in the normal matter. You should probably guess that since it is a Douglas Adams book and when has he written anything really normal (I mean that in the best way).

Nope for this book “Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

There is craziness, absurdity, the intercon
...more
Kris Larson
Jun 15, 2009 Kris Larson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
Hysterical. If you liked The Hitchhiker's Guide but thought it could do with fewer spaceships, try this. If you're shaking your head in bafflement, thinking "Fewer spaceships? Do you want to ruin the whole thing, woman?" try this. If you've never read any Douglas Adams at all, try this. If you like things that are good, try this.

On the other hand, I am pretty sure my best friend hated it, and she does often like things that are good, so maybe it's not for everyone. But try it anyway.

"He was rou
...more
surfmadpig
Jun 19, 2011 surfmadpig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-ebook, laughs


I recently watched the pilot episode of Dirk Gently and loved it. So, naturally, I picked up the book. Now this order of doing things is often frowned upon by many people, including me, but sometimes things just happen.

The reason I'm telling you this is that I was slightly let down by the book, having seen (a version of) Dirk Gently in action before reading about him. There just wasn't enough of the detective in the book, while he (both versions) is such an interesting character. And yes, it wa
...more
David
Sep 17, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love this book. I love it far, far more than is in any way reasonable. It is possibly Douglas Adams' strangest work, and it is far and away my favorite. It makes almost no sense unless you read it twice or more. And a good knowledge of the content and composition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is essentially required to understand many of the jokes and much of the plot.

Because, as it turns out, the linchpin upon which history turns, upon which depen
...more
P. Aaron Potter
It's all about the couch.

Allow me to elucidate. Doug Adams book. Funny? Sure. Satirical? Check. But would you have guessed intricately plotted?

Adams, who practically invented the vein of British literary humor now being minted hand-over-fist by Terry Pratchett, is in fine form with this novel, his major work outside the Hitchhiker's universe. We get the same bumbling protaginsts, the gently affable quasi-villain, the apocalyptic-threat-which-is-not-a-threat, the deft one-sentence-paragraph narra
...more
Tony
Feb 01, 2016 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This (and tea-time), all but ruined humour for me. Since my first reading (and I've read it - and tea-time, four times now), it/they have become the measure by which all humour books are measured. Sadly, none have ever measured up; these surpass even the HHG books.

If you're looking for intelligent laughs, this is the place. If you don't read it/them, your life will never be complete.

I'm not sure if that's fucking wonderful, or fucking sad.

DNA, you're sadly missed. Come back to life and write som
...more
Erma Talamante
Dec 05, 2015 Erma Talamante rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A confusing story that wraps up toward the end, but isn't that just like life? You can't make heads or tails of what's happening until towards the end. And by then, it's too late. But the beauty of a book, is you can go back and read it all over again.

The individuals involved - Reg, Richard, Gordon, Susan, and Michael - all have roles to play in a wildly complicated mystery that pre-dates human life - in fact all life on the planet, and it takes Dirk Gently, aka Svlad Cjelli, to solve it, with
...more
Michael
I read the prologue in a bookstore when it came out in 1987 and had to have it immediately. Adams just has a way with words that produces great comedy and irony.

This is a wacky romp with so many plotlines and ideas, very few authors would be able to tie it all together. But Adams does it with style and humor, and you will be left with a true awe of "the interconnectedness of all things".

Reread 1/30/2014: Just as brilliant as I remember. I actually had forgotten that some of the themes regarding
...more
Rory
Aug 06, 2007 Rory rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: British comedy fans
I recently re-read Dirk Gently, since the first time I read it was in the seventh or eighth grade, and so I really didn't remember much of it. I must say it is absolutely fantastic. It is one of the few books which as I read it I was imagining what you could do for a film version. I think it would be a fantastic work to bring to the big screen, particularly after the modest success of Hitchhiker's...

That said, I love Douglas Adams. The man was a genius at creating characters, and the Gently seri
...more
Jon
Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Douglas Adams fans
Adams' first fiction foray into a world other than the one(s) created for the Hitchhiker's Trilogy is a treat: a detective story filled with the same bizarre happenings and twists, described and narrated in Adams' inimitable comedic style. Unlike the Hitchhiker's books, however, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was written to be a stand-alone story, with a definite beginning, middle, and end. In many ways, this was Adams' first attempt at writing a proper novel--and he succeeds wildly. I ...more
Nikki
Jan 21, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it
One of the most annoying things about reading the Kindle edition of this book was the fact that popular highlights show up and you can't turn them off, at least not easily. It drove me mad. It was inevitably the parts that you'd pick out as funny for yourself, not anything surprisingly good...

Anyway, I grew up with Douglas Adams' work in the background, on the radio while we ate or while me and my sister played after dinner and my dad tried to relax. He's a big Douglas Adams fan, though he stick
...more
Becky
Probably 3.5 stars for this one.

As usual, I quite enjoyed Adams's humor and brilliance, but this one, to me, isn't his best work. It seemed rather... erratic in the beginning and then a bit hurried at the end. It was very speculative, and very contemplative and assumed that the reader (or in my case, listener) was keeping right up, but I don't fault Adams for that. I don't want the book to dumb anything down for me. Although, if it dumbs things down for a character in the book, that's perfectly
...more
Kim
Not as light as the early Hitchhiker books this book is a lot heavier and grimmer though the humour of Douglas Adams shines through from time to time. Written with all the confusion I expect from his work this an interesting, twisted story. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as the Hitchhiker books but it wasn't too bad.
Josh
Aug 13, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: laffs
Inexcusably unread for 37.5 years, remedied over a couple of days at the beach.
Myles
Mar 23, 2011 Myles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, mystery, humor, the-list
I wish I could say I enjoyed this more, but reading it reminded me of all the reasons why the Hitchhikers series, though good, never felt like enough. And not in a good way. A lot of that has to do with the serial nature of his writings, Adams never really ended his books and stories, and when he did have an Actual Occurrence he didn't hesitate to change it all back. Earth destroyed? No it wasn't!

He's a clever and funny writer; he comes up with the most absurd similes and characters imaginable a
...more
♥Xeni♥
May 28, 2011 ♥Xeni♥ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all sci-fi fans... and humor fans... and paradox fans!
What did I think? Hmm... I thought that this book was amazing. Mainly because I totally sync with the author's writing style, but also due to the plot, the characters and the subject matters he deals with in this book!

I saved so many quotes to my iPhone while reading this... my poor Notes app is overfilling! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First off, Adams is just a genius writer. I do believe that everyone can agree with that sentiment. His Hitch Hicker's Guide to the Galaxy series is on
...more
F.R.
Jul 07, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ll be honest with you, I’m not particularly fond of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ novel. The first radio series I love, but the novel fails for me because the best bits in it are just taken from the radio series (which, of course, the novel is an adaptation of) and it doesn’t have a proper bloody ending. As a teen I greatly preferred the world of Dirk Gently, and on re-reading the first of those novels – having forgotten pretty much everything which takes place between its covers – I ...more
Stacia
Jun 25, 2015 Stacia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, 2015
Smart, mind-twisty, & fun. Just a really enjoyable book to read! I enjoyed this one much more than Hitchhiker's Guide. (I know that's sacrilege in some circles, but there you have it.) Hitchhiker's Guide didn't live up to the hype, imo, while this one seems to be an under-appreciated gem. Recommended.
Luisa
Mar 26, 2016 Luisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of crazy... but a fun read nonetheless. Douglas Adams has a way of writing nonsensical things in a way that makes them amusing, but this in no way compares go the wonderfully entertaining Hitchhikers series. Richard is not really a character that I loved. Dirk thinks too highly of himself and the final solution seemed too simple and easy in my opinion. However, Reg is an adorable old man, even if a little loony.
I guess the ending really felt like a bit of a let down after I had found all of
...more
হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
ডগলাস অযাডামসের গদযশৈলী খুবই চমৎকার। কাহিনীর নতুন একটা অংশ শুরু করার ভঙগিটা উপভোগয। গলপের মোচড়গুলো উপভোগয ছিলো। সাড়ে তিন। ...more
Ugh
Dec 23, 2009 Ugh rated it really liked it
I hadn't read any Douglas Adams before. The first few chapters, I thought "This writing isn't all that great, and I'm not sure what's going on", and that was about that. Then, after a few chapters, I started to be charmed a little, and the plot started to suck me in. For the first half of the book, that's pretty much where I remained: fairly interested and occasionally amused. Then, around halfway through, things started coming together, and I realised that although Adams may not have been among ...more
Wart Hill
Dec 03, 2014 Wart Hill rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
That was completely, wonderfully, masterfully ridiculous.

Douglas Adams takes the most ludicrous ideas and turns them into plausible, engaging stories that not only keep you laughing your ass off, but also keep you on the edge of your seat, trying in vain to guess just what precisely is going to come next.

On top of that he brings to life a cast of colourful characters (alive, dead, and Electric).

That was so much fun. I look forward to the rest of the series.
Zorena
This is in reality a reread and I'll stand by the original four stars that I gave it. It entertained me and made me smile just as much as the first time I read it. I felt I had to read it again as I have the second book now and wanted a quick refresher.

I have also recently read Anubis Gates which also involves both time travel and the poet Samuel Coleridge. These two books are as different as can be and are both two of the best books I have read.
Mitch
Jul 23, 2008 Mitch rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone.
While I have read more 'important' books that I feel like I should say are my most favorite book ever... I won't.
This book is my favorite book.
Its so funny, spooky, well written.
I have read this one maybe 10 times.

(Side note, I think that would be a useful way of rating books, how many times you read them.)
Glynn
Jun 14, 2015 Glynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I got this book years ago as a birthday present because I am a big fan of Douglas Adams. I read it back then but didn't remember anything about it. I re-read it for the Time Travel group and now remember why I don't remember anything about it. It just isn't that memorable. There are a few clever bits in it and I would suggest reading The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridgebefore reading this but it won't help much. I know there is a sequel of sorts, The Long Dark Tea-Time of ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Probably best to already be a Douglas Adams fan before trying this one. You have to appreciate his absurdity and accept that much of the story won't make sense in the traditional way of a novel. Parts of this are pretty darned hilarious, and the characters are memorable.
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Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was comp ...more
More about Douglas Adams...

Other Books in the Series

Dirk Gently (3 books)
  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2)
  • The Salmon of Doubt (Dirk Gently, #3)

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“Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” 3122 likes
“Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don't expect to see.” 681 likes
More quotes…