Look What I Read!: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
I've been a huge fan of Douglas Adams and his The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Trilogy (in five parts). In Hitchhiker's, Adams demonstrated a mastery over blending legitimate science fiction with absurd comedy. He's been a key inspiration to me as I've developed the Far Out Chronicles series.
For a multitude of reasons I can't recall, and even if I could are probably not worth mentioning, I'd never read his other famous work, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Last week, I finally did.
It was incredible! There's mystery. There's magic. There's time travel. There are ghosts, both human and alien. There are quirky characters and hilarious banter. There's the fact that the titular character doesn't appear until the second half of the book. There are poorly-explained loose ends that force the reader to struggle with understanding exactly what the hell happened. Everything you'd expect from Douglas Adams.
In addition to weaving together an enjoyable novel using a bundle of bizarre, seemingly unconnected story elements, Adams demonstrated his mastery over the craft of writing. From the first line till the last, I found myself in awe of how he well each sentence, each chapter, was crafted. Concise, precise descriptions. Varied sentence lengths. Excellent rhythm of focus in both sentences and the chapters as a whole. Little to no excess. Natural, hilarious dialogue that seamlessly moved the story along. After reading Dirk Gently #1, I stand by my superlative that Douglas Adams is one of history's greatest of British authors (somewhere just below Shakespeare but miles above Neil Gaiman).
For anyone who's enjoyed the Hitchhiker's Trilogy (in five parts), or even for all the poor souls who've never even heard of it, I highly recommend diving into the first Dirk Gently book. Go forth and enjoy a classic science fiction comedy!