From the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series: a sequel to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (not reviewed), in which our laid-back, freethinking detective arrives five hours late for an appointment with his client (he's been decapitated in the interim), suffers a broken nose at the hands of an adolescent TV addict, and gets trapped in his living room by a large and evidently demented eagle. Before all this, however, a passenger check-in desk at London's Heathrow airport mysteriously explodes in a ball of orange flame. An act of God, the authorities deem--but which God? wonders Dirk Gently, having become connected with the incident (he's a holistic detective, remember), and why? What God would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch a plane to Oslo? What's the connection with Mr. Odwin, the fearful, one-eyed gentleman in the luxury research hospital, whose twin obsessions are sleep and clean linen bedsheets? Or Odwin's loathesome, dwarfish gofer named Toe Rag, and his sidekick, green, horned, and swinging a mean ax? And why is it impossible to get pizza delivered in London? Fear not, Dirk Gently will eventually piece together the multiple puzzles--except, perhaps, that involving the eagle. Eccentric--bizarre--unquantifiable: these go without saying. Some oddly solemn, purplish passages and chunks of rather mechanical burlesque intrude into the weirdly comic goings-on. Adams isn't particularly funny here, but he's often fun--and there's the built-in appeal of Dirk Gently II.