Probably like everyone else on the planet, the first Adams I read was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (even though I read it in my early twenties, it seems that it is a book that teenagers usually pick up) and I thought it was intelligent, funny and addictive. I knew about the Dirk Gently books but I admit that I’ve never really had the urge to read them. To be honest Dirk Gently is not as good, as I expected but there were some surprises.
As with any Adams book the plot is non chronological so you have to piece everything together. A group of aliens crash land on Earth at the beginning of time, thus creating the spark that sets life in action. With the exception of the engineer, all the aliens die and he is a ghost wandering through time finding the right person to posses so that he can be taken back to the past and able to fix his spaceship. He manages to take over Coleridge, in the 17 century and gets him to write an extra verse in the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ which is about this alien’s life story.
We jump to the present and we find out that the head of a computer company is accidentally murdered and his employer is to blame. This is where Dirk Gently steps in and solves this murder by piecing the events of the past, present and future (hence the reason why he is a holistic detective) he finds out the the alien ghost is possessing more people in order to take him to the past, and this is actually managed, until Richard (the employer) remembers that all life will disappear if the spaceship is fixed so they Dirk and Richard go back in time and distract Coleridge so that the ghost wont posses him and thus leaving him stranded in space.
Does it sound confusing – I tried to explain it without giving away too many spoilers but with an Adams novel, it is difficult to leave details out as everything is interconnected, from the smallest detail to the largest. Dirk Gently emphasizes on the fact that the world is linked together very intricately and that one thing develops from another. Apparently Adams was the first person to write about these theories back in the 80’s so this book is ahead of it’s time.
Although I did like the braininess of the book, I couldn’t help noticing that it lacked the zaniness of the Hitchhikers Guide and even stylistically there was a lot of Adams trademark humour in tiny doses nonetheless you will think and smile at how Adams connects many coincidences together.