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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Death Comes for the Fat Man

Hill, Reginald. Death Comes for the Fat Man. A Dalziel and Pascoe mystery, the 22 in the series! Another example of Hill's excellent storytelling and wonderful character development, full of all the literary allusions I love. The review, however, is a challenge because of fear of giving away too much.

The Fat Man--Andy Dalziel, that mountain of a man--is injured in an explosion involving terrorist activity. But who are the terrorists? Peter Pascoe is also injured but because the Fat Man was in front and took the brunt of the blast, Peter recovers quickly while Dalziel remains on life support and in a coma.

Pascoe is determined to find those responsible, and in the process, he abandons the diplomatic role he has always assumed and begins to "channel" Dalziel's behavior. The two made a terrific pair, but it was the combination of the brash, aggressive, and irreverent Dalziel and the diplomatic Pascoe that made their partnership successful. Pascoe, without even realizing it initially, brings Dalziel's brash personality into his own sensibility in order to find the culprits.

Although Andy Dalziel is not physically involved in the action, his indomitable personality is present both in his subconscious wanderings as he lies in a coma and in the influence he has on all of the characters who have known him.

Lots of twists and turns, and I really can't say much more because of events that should come to the reader only through the process of reading the novel...without spoilers.

It helps to have prior knowledge of the relationships between/among Dalziel, Pascoe, Ellie, Rosie and Wieldy, but Hill manages to convey most of it even if you don't have that background.

A great read! If you are a fan, don't miss it. If you've not read any in this series, I recommend that you find and read as many as you can. They are more than mysteries.

Fiction. Mystery. 2007. 404 pages.


  1. Oh this sounds good. I just realized that I have read one Hill book before but I believe it was a short story collection. I didn't care for it very much but I get the feeling I missed out a lot of background info. I would like to try this series but I'd probably start from the beginning... I'm kinda picky that way :)

  2. I loved this, I thought Hill was really back on top form and I can't wait for the next one.

  3. iliana -- It isn't crucial to have a background, but on this particular one it helps. Andy Dalziel's huge size (physically, mentally, and emotionally), his brash, insensitive behavior, and the combination of irritation, frustration, admiration, and loyalty he inspires in others is a necessary component in realizing the hole made by his absence.

    I've never read any short stories by Hill, but I wasn't that impressed with Stranger House which was a departure from the Dalziel/Pascoe series. Hill is a marvelously literate man, and I'm always amazed at how widely read he is when I see how easily he slips in allusions, quotes, and references to such a wide range of material.

    Ann -- I'm going to have to check your review. Didn't you find it difficult to say enough without spoilers?

  4. I really, really must read this series. But, I don't think I want to begin if he dies in this one. I guess if a new one comes out, I'll find out, right? :<) I saw a couple of the tv adaptations years ago and liked them a lot.

  5. Nan -- Hill started this series in the 1970's and there are more than 20 so far. He's also written quite a few books that aren't Dalziel and Pascoe. I'd go for the series regardless of whether or not this is the final book in the series (and I'm not telling what happens to The Fatman)!

  6. Oh, okay, I think I can read your subtle message :<) I'll go get the first one.

  7. Nan -- I hope you like the series!