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

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  72,253 ratings  ·  1,404 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 May 1st 1988 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
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
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 Hitc
...more
Ian Wood
Sep 22, 2007 Ian Wood rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
surfmadpig


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
Kris Larson
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
David
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
Michael
Aug 06, 2007 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jon
Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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.
Myles
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Ugh
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
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
Wart Hill
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.
Josh
Inexcusably unread for 37.5 years, remedied over a couple of days at the beach.
Mitch
Jul 23, 2008 Mitch rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.)
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.
Ismael Galvan
Weird and weird and British and weird. That's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective. I just finished Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and needed a second helping of Douglas Adams's zany imagination. I looked up what other works he's done and was like, "Holy @%*! Batman, Adams wrote a detective novel!" A trip to the book store later, I held Dirk Gently in my hands.

The beginning has a slow start up. I kept waiting for a story to form. The scenes were nice but where was the plot? And where the hell is t
...more
F.R.
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
James
Dirk Gently, the successful unsuccessful detective. Each case is viewed holistically, and holistically is taken to (and then beyond) the extreme. This case starts as a search for a missing cat but soon expands beyond whatever you were expecting due to Dirk's insistence on using his holistic approach.

Almost classic Douglas Adams I thought, although I read this back in 1988 and I might upgrade it to Classic DA on a re-read. The wit is there, the surreality is there, it just didn't quite hit the ma
...more
Luisa
Kind of crazy... but a tub read nonetheless. Douglas Adams has a way of writing nonsensical things in a way that males them amusing, but this in now 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 o
...more
Beth
I first read this book quite a while ago, probably not long after it came out. A time we could look forward to a Douglas Adams book instead of having to look back to the past. He is missed.

I don't think I got anything more out of Dirk Gently than I did twenty years ago, but that's just fine.

It's funny without being silly, wry without being mean. I love Adams's humor, his turns of phrase, and how everything comes together in the end. Or the beginning. Or both.
Frankie
hilarious and in my view better than "hitchikers..." (but i might be in the minority there...)
Lisa Petrocelly
I loved this book, although it took me awhile to realize it, if that makes sense. I couldn't figure it out at first - everything was so disjointed - but each chapter was so amusing in its own right. I was assured by several people to hang in there, that it would all come together and make sense. And, in fact, it did, in a strange and unexpected way, as the late Mr. Adams was so known for. What a great, quirky story with oddly likable characters (including an elderly professor I very much wanted ...more
Colleen
Having read other Douglas Adams books (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), I was already familiar with his writing style. It's the equivalent of going for a ride with the Mad Matter on the Knight Bus. Sometimes confusing, always funny, and eventually you will end up where you are supposed to go. I love Douglas's snarky English humor. But I would definitely say his works are not for everyone.

Dirk Gently starts out with a series of series of seemingly random people and events that wrap around
...more
Reinhold
Auf den ersten Seiten sitzt man bei diesem Buch und fragt sich, worauf will dieser Kerl eigentlich hinaus. Man versteht nur Bahnhof und erst langsam lüften sich die Schleier. Wie verbindet man einen elektrischen Mönch, ein Pferd im Badezimmer, einen ermordeten Millionär der als Geist weiterlebt aber dessen Leiche verschwunden ist, ein Sofa das im Stiegenhaus steckt, einen versponnen Inhaber des Lehrstuhls für Chronologie (der selbst nicht weiß womit sich sein Lehrstuhl eigentlich beschäftigt) un ...more
Jeremy
Aug 12, 2010 Jeremy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those willing to overlook some major faults for the sake of the great bits.
Recommended to Jeremy by: Arthur Dent
One of the things that confounds me about this book is that the title character isn't even mentioned until more than a quarter of the way through the book, and doesn't actually show up until the halfway point or so. Which is a shame, really, since Dirk himself is so very, very interesting. He reminds me a little of Ignatius J. Reilly in his delusional view of his perpetual correctness and willingness to lie to everyone (including himself) to maintain that view. The biggest difference being that ...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: So about those laughs...*Spoilers* 22 127 Feb 08, 2014 12:36PM  
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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...
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1-5) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2) Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide, #3) So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide, #4)

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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.” 1313 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.” 568 likes
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