Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pest Control

I just finished reading (or rather listening to) Bob Fitzhugh’s zany “thriller” Pest Control. I would describe it as a cross between Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” and the Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First.” The characters constantly misunderstand one another’s meanings, causing a simple exterminator unwittingly to get involved in the dangerous business of contract killing. Fitzhugh loves to play with words and phrases, especially exploring the variety of idioms used to describe identical situations in various languages and cultures. He also describes various insects and their cousins in excruciating detail, making this book a delight to etymologists and entomologists alike! The Last Word Audio book is expertly narrated by Colby Elliott, whom we had the pleasure of meeting recently.

Synopsis on


Bob Dillon just can't get a break. A down-on-his-luck exterminator, all he wants is his own truck with a giant fiberglass bug on top--and success with his radical new, environmentally friendly pest killing technique. So Bob decides to advertise.
Unfortunately, one of his flyers falls into the wrong hands. Marcel in Paris needs an assassin to handle a million dollar assignment, and he figures that Bob Dillon's his man. Through no fault--or participation--of his own, an unwitting bug-killer from Queens has become a major player in the shady world of contract murder. And now he's running for his life through the wormiest sections of the Big Apple--one step ahead of a Bolivian terminator, a homicidal transvestite dwarf, meat-headed CIA agents, cabbies packing serious heat...and the world's greatest hit man, who might just turn out to be the best friend Bob's got.

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From Library Journal
Fired from his job with a pest control company in Queens, New York, Bob Dillon starts his own business using his environmentally friendly technique: hybrid killer insects that eat cockroaches. Meanwhile, Marcel, a broker who contracts for assassins, is looking for a reliable newcomer to complete a million-dollar hit. He advertises and Bob responds, neither understanding the nature of the other's "exterminating" business. Very shortly thereafter, ten of the most dangerous hitpersons in the world descend on Queens, which is pretty dangerous itself and more than up to the challenge. Broadly satiric, extremely funny, and tailor-made for film (rights have already been sold to Warner Brothers), this is not exactly demanding reading, but it is fun and likely to be popular. A reasonable purchase for most public libraries. Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, Va. Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.