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Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel and Pascoe Series #22)

Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel and Pascoe Series #22)

4.1 6
by Reginald Hill

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Not for a second did Pascoe admit the possibility of death. Dalziel was indestructible. Dalziel is, and was, and forever shall be, world without end, amen . . .

Chief constables might come and chief constables might go, but Fat Andy went on forever.

Barreling his way into an investigation of possible terrorist activities,


Not for a second did Pascoe admit the possibility of death. Dalziel was indestructible. Dalziel is, and was, and forever shall be, world without end, amen . . .

Chief constables might come and chief constables might go, but Fat Andy went on forever.

Barreling his way into an investigation of possible terrorist activities, Superintendent Andy Dalziel is caught in the blast of a huge explosion at a video shop—and only "Fat Andy's" considerable bulk prevents his colleague, Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe, from suffering a similar fate. Now Dalziel lies on a hospital bed barely clinging to life, while Pascoe remains determined to find those responsible.

But the truth is not always cut-and-dried, and sometimes those who are sworn to terror's destruction are even more dangerous than the foe they wish to annihilate.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Hill delivers his usual bundle of literary treats, from a single fragrant reference to Voltaire to the voluptuous visions of earthly delights Dalziel clings to as he hovers near death. Characters major and minor march boldly through the dense plot, confident of being remembered for their singular personalities and inexhaustible verbal resources, while Pascoe, who catches himself trying to keep his boss alive by assuming his “blunt and brutish” ways, fears he’s losing his own identity.
— The New York Times
Maureen Corrigan
It's proof of Hill's skill as a writer that the reader believes not only that Dalziel's life genuinely hangs in the balance, but also that Hill is not manipulating our readerly anxieties merely to ratchet up the suspense. As Dalziel lingers in limbo, he meditates -- raucously and profanely -- on mortality and the meaning of it all. His ruminations lend depth to this already smart and immensely enjoyable novel.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Hill, who has created and artfully guided the destinies of Yorkshire policemen Det. Supt. Andy Dalziel (aka "the Fat Man") and his DCI Peter Pascoe through 22 remarkable adventures, doesn't give anything away until the very last page of this excellent mystery (after 2004's Good Morning, Midnight). Only then do we learn whether or not the bomb blast that starts the story marks the end of Dalziel's life. As the Fat Man lies comatose in his hospital bed, the shrewd and usually diplomatic Pascoe—who was also injured in the blast, but saved by his colleague's bulk—takes on some of Dalziel's troublesome tenacity (as well as a touch of his saltier language) as he forces his way onto the team of antiterrorism specialists looking into the incident. The terrorists appear to be linked to an obscure branch of the historic Knights Templar, and Hill's perfect pitch (especially for the short, pithy details of dialogue and character description) carries the story through all sorts of villains—some of whom are even directly connected to the cops. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Detective Peter Pascoe is on the trail of the Knights Templar, an antiterrorist vigilante group that bombed a video store and left Peter's mentor, Andy "Fat Man" Dalziel, in a coma. Peter comes into his own: without the help of the indomitable Fat Man, he sets out to track down those responsible for the bombing. When he is invited to join an antiterrorist team investigating the bombing, Peter must work to gain the trust of the group while remaining detached in order to ferret out the team member he suspects of feeding information to the Knights Templar. Cartier Diamond Dagger Award winner Hill's (The Stranger House) book is timely in its examination of societal tensions in the wake of the London terrorist bombings. Followers of the Dalziel-Pascoe series will find it particularly suspenseful as they wait to see whether the inimitably crotchety Fat Man will come out of his coma. A satisfying, well-plotted entry in a popular series; recommended.
—Jane la Plante Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
The title of Hill's latest establishes the fear that the author, with the help of some terrorist bombers, will kill off Andrew Dalziel, the gargantuan eminence of the Mid-Yorkshire CID. When PC Adolphus Hector, unimaginative and none too bright, investigates a disturbance in the Arab-language video shop at 3 Mill Street, and reports that he may have seen a man with a gun, alarms go off for Supt. Andy Dalziel and Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe (Good Morning, Midnight, 2004, etc.). Together they throw a cordon around the shop, and they're both on hand when it blows up, taking several neighboring storefronts with it and sending Fat Andy to the hospital, where he hovers between life and death for 400 pages. Pascoe, meanwhile, is impressed into the Central Antiterrorism Unit, where he rubs shoulders with high-ranking cops, no-name spooks and at least one colleague who's presumably leaking information to the Knights Templar, the home-grown anti-Muslim cadre responsible for the outrage. The will-he-live backdrop imparts extra urgency to Pascoe's tactics, which are fully worthy of the profane mentor he's avenging. At the same time, there are possible dalliances for Pascoe and his wife, Ellie, and many a romp through the comatose brain of the Fat Man. Hill, returning to his long-running series after a crossover break (The Stranger House, 2005), produces a work as richly satisfying as steak-and-kidney pudding.
From the Publisher
“Brilliant. . . . If that Fat Man survives, it will be to face a newer, harsher world, one in which a pint and a bacon buttie aren’t enough to fend off death.” — The Globe and Mail

“Hill delivers his usual bundle of literary treats, from a single fragrant reference to Voltaire to the voluptuous visions of earthly delights Dalziel clings to as he hovers near death. Characters major and minor march boldly through the dense plot, confident of being remembered for their singular personalities and inexhaustable verbal resources, … Death Comes for the Fat Man is far more politically pointed than Hill’s usual witty intellectual puzzles. . . . It does seem, waiting for the fat man to die, as if we’ve come to the end of the civilized detective story, if not the end of the civilized world.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Hill’s novels are really dances to the music of time, his heroes and villains interconnecting, their stories entwining.” Ian Rankin

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Dalziel and Pascoe Series , #22
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Read an Excerpt

Death Comes for the Fat Man

Chapter One

Mill Street

never much of a street

west—the old wool mill a prison block in dry blood brick its staring windows now blinded by boards its clatter and chatter a distant echo through white-haired heads

east—six narrow houses under one weary roof huddling against the high embankment that arrows southern trains into the city's northern heart

few passengers ever notice Mill Street

never much of a street

in winter's depth a cold crevasse spring and autumn much the same

but occasionally on a still summer day with sun soaring high in a cloudless sky Mill Street becomes desert canyon overbrimming with heat

Chapter Two

Two Mutton Pasties and an Almond Slice

At least it gives me an excuse for sweating, thought Peter Pascoe as he scuttled toward the shelter of the first of the two cars parked across the road from number 3.

"You hurt your back?" asked Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel as his DCI slumped to the pavement beside him.

"Sorry?" panted Pascoe.

"You were moving funny."

"I was taking precautions."

"Oh aye? I'd stick to the tablets. What the hell are you doing here anyway? Bank Holiday's been canceled, has it? Or are you just bunking off from weeding the garden?"

"In fact I was sunbathing in it. Then Paddy Ireland rang and said there was a siege situation and you were a bit short on specialist manpower so could I help?"

"Specialist? Didn't know you were a marksman."

Pascoe took a deep breath and wondered what kindof grinning God defied His own laws by allowing Dalziel's fleshy folds, swaddled in a three-piece suit, to look so cool, while his own spare frame, clad in cotton slacks and a Leeds United T-shirt, was generating more heat than PM's Question Time.

"I've been on a Negotiator's Course, remember?" he said.

"Thought that were to help you talk to Ellie. What did yon fusspot really say?"

The Fat Man was no great fan of Inspector Ireland who he averred put the three f's in officious. If you took your cue and pointed out that the word contained only two, he'd tell you what the third one stood for.

If you didn't take your cue, he usually told you anyway.

Pascoe on the other hand was a master of diplomatic reticence.

"Not a lot," he said.

What Ireland had actually said was, "Sorry to interrupt your day off, Pete, but I thought you should know. Report of an armed man on premises in Mill Street. Number three."

Then a pause as if anticipating a response.

The only response Pascoe felt like giving was, Why the hell have I been dragged off my hammock for this?

He said, "Paddy, I don't know if you've noticed but I'm off duty today. Bank Holiday, remember? And Andy drew the short straw. Not his idea you rang, is it?"

"Definitely not. It's just that number three's a video rental, Oroc Video, Asian and Arab stuff mainly . . . "

A faint bell began to ring in Pascoe's mind.

"Hang on. Isn't it CAT flagged?"

"Hooray. There is someone in CID who actually reads directives," said Ireland with heavy sarcasm.

CAT was the Combined Antiterrorism Unit in which Special Branch officers worked alongside MI5 operatives. They flagged people and places on a sliding scale, the lowest level being premises not meriting formal surveillance but around which any unusual activity should be noted and notified.

Number 3 Mill Street was at this bottom level.

Pascoe, not liking to feel reproved, said, "Are you trying to tell me there's some kind of intifada brewing in Mill Street?"

"Well, no," said Ireland. "It's just that when I passed on the report to Andy . . . "

"Oh good. You have told him. So, apart from not feeling it necessary to bother me, what action has he taken?"

He tried to keep the irritation out of his voice, but not very hard.

Ireland said in a hurt tone, "He said he'd go along and take a look soon as he finished his meat pie. I reminded him that three Mill Street was flagged, in case he'd missed it. He yawned, not a pretty sight when he's eating a meat pie. But when I told him I'd already followed procedure and called it in, he got abusive. So I left him to it."

"Very wise," said Pascoe, also yawning audibly. "So what's the problem?"

"The problem is that he's just passed my office, yelling that he's on his way to Mill Street so maybe I'll be satisfied now that I've ruined his day."

"But you're not?"

A deep intake of breath; then in a quietly controlled voice, "What I'm not satisfied is that the super is taking what could be a serious situation seriously. But of course I'm happy to leave it in the expert hands of CID. Sorry to have bothered you."

The phone went down hard.

Pompous prat, thought Pascoe, setting off back to the garden to share his irritation with his wife. To his surprise she'd said thoughtfully, "Last time I saw Andy, he was going on about how bored he's getting with the useless bastards running things. He sounded ripe for a bit of mischief. Maybe you ought to check this out, love, before he starts the next Gulf War single-handed. Half an hour wouldn't harm."

None of this did he care to reveal to Dalziel.

"Not a lot," he repeated. "So perhaps you'd like to fill me in?"

"Why not? Then you can shog off home. Being a clever bugger, you'll likely know number three's CAT flagged? Or did Ireland have to tell you too?"

"No, but he did give me a shove," admitted Pascoe.

"There you go," said Dalziel triumphantly. "Since the London bombings, them silly sods have put out more flags than we did on Coronation Day. Faintest sniff of a Middle East connection and they're cocking their legs to lay down a marker."

"Yes, I did hear they wanted to flag the old Mecca dancehall at Mirely!"

Death Comes for the Fat Man. Copyright © by Reginald Hill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Reginald Hill is a native of Cumbria and a former resident of Yorkshire, the setting for his novels featuring Superintendent Dalziel and DCI Pascoe. Their appearances have won him numerous awards, including a CWA Gold Dagger and the Car-tier Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award. The Dalziel and Pascoe stories have also been adapted into a hugely popular BBC TV series.

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Death Comes for the Fat Man (Dalziel and Pascoe Series #22) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
another great story in this series
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Samantha-Issac More than 1 year ago
I know this is a popular author for mystery fans, but I just didn't care for the lead character. I didn't care if he lived or died or got his man. The writing style doesn't appeal to me. I won't be keeping this book in my library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reginald Hill is truly smooth in Death Comes for the Fat Man. All his characters are maturing beautifully and work together in wonderful harmony. This book is better than any reviewer has said - a shade better than his previous best, Pictures of Perfection. The sun was warm and the ground fertile, and the result is exquisite.