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Pest Control Paperback – March 29, 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A sweetly comic thriller that finally answers the age-old question: What if a sad-sack New York exterminator got his antennae crossed with the professionals who wipe out Homo sapiens? At his wit's (and checkbook's) end after walking off his job killing bugs with lethal cocktails, Bob Dillon schemes at his own unique approach to extermination: breeding predatory strains of insects who'll feast on termites and roaches without developing chemical-resistant new strains of pests or loading the planet with hazardous toxins. It's a plan with all the makings of an American success story, but it spins out of control when Bob's ad falls into the hands of a middleman who brokers assassinations and thinks Bob's sobriquet of ``the Exterminator'' is a veiled reference to his status as a hit man. Getting a faint whiff of the trouble in his future, Bob begs off the lucrative job he's offered. But when the victim is accidentally killed anyway, the middleman, assuming Bob's managed the job with unusual finesse, duly sends him his fee. So far, everything's as innocuous as the endless stream of double-entendres about extermination--except that (1) the UPS package with all that lovely money gets held up en route to Bob; (2) his wife and daughter, impatient with his uncompromisingly idealistic approach to pest control, walk out on him; and (3) the brother and murderer of a Bolivian druglord who wants to cover up his own crime screams that it was the work of the Exterminator and offers a $10 million bounty to whoever kills Bob--attracting all the top exterminators in the field. There's the subtle Chinese knife expert, the glamorous Frenchwoman, the parvenu Cowboy, the transvestite dwarf, and the melancholy, suicidal top man, whose unlikely friendship with his prospective target is the high point of this generally predictable tale. A first novel that's not sharply enough written to offer serious competition to Florida farceurs Hiaasen and Shames, but consistently sunny and good-humored. (Film rights to Warner Brothers) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: WmMorrowPB (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060815302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060815301
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh is a truly wonderful novel. Fitzhugh takes a classic mystery story set in New York and adds a bunch of weird charachters and plot twists. The book is about an exterminator and his family. The exterminator is appalled by the use of pesticides to kill bugs and is creating his own all natural method using his genetically engineered assasin bugs. He quits his job and sees an ad in the paper offering 50,000 bucks for an extermination job. He sends in a resume and is given the job, unaware that his victim is to be a swiss millionaire. The guy dies anyway, and asassins around the world flock to NY to eliminate their new competitor. Klaus, a soft-hearted crack asassin, befriends him, and the rest of the story is a hilarious chase through the big apple. The book is often found under mystery in bookstores, but it is really a comedy. This book is definetly a read for anyone with a sense of humor!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Pest Control" is a hard book to describe. I have to admit there are some truly hilarious scenes and situations in the book, but there are times when Fitzhugh bogs it down with his relentless insistence on letting us know how Bob feels about his work, his wife, and his child. Bob comes across as a selfish, inane, inept, and generally ridiculous man. Each time one of his cross-bred non-pesticide attempts fail, he seems dumber and dumber. But, he's your hero, and you have to wish him well. The assorted supporting characters are wonderful, particularly the suicidal #1 hitman, who befriends Bob; the clothes-conscious Jean, assistant to Marcel, the hit negotiator; and some of the other assassins, particularly the French beauty who has a hilarious moment when looking for gourmet chocolates in a quick-stop place. Another interesting moment occurs when the transvestite dwarf killer comes on to an overweight, underloved woman, who wants to make out while eating peanuts. This is a rather "touching" and poignant moment, almost out of place in this frantically paced novel. Give Fitzhugh credit, though--it's vastly entertaining, and you can forgive it's obvious flaws because it does make you laugh.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
Bob Dillon is a great character and you just can't help but empathize with him. He's like a cross between Homer Simpson and Mister Magoo. On the Homer Simpson side, you have a man who tries and tries to be a good husband and father, but things just never seem to go his way. On the Mister Magoo side, he is a man who sort of blunders along, without ever realizing that there are high-priced hit men trying to kill him, and government agencies trying to hire him.

When someone tries to hire Bob as an assassin, having completely misunderstood his exterminator-for-hire flyers, Bob is never quite able to convince them that he only kills bugs. Then the man Bob was hired to kill goes and drives his car off a mountain road, making it look like Bob has completed the hit. In another scene, Bob is on the verge of proving that his assassin bugs really work, and someone blows up the building in an attempt to kill him, but only succeeds in destroying the evidence of Bob's success. Through a whole series of similar Three's Company-ish scenarios, Bob's name ends up at the top of a list of the best assassins in the world.

"Pest Control" is just one hilarious misunderstanding after another, and Bill Fitzhugh plays it out perfectly. He is funny and witty and has a real knack for metaphors and similes. In one scene, Bob's wife is reading some of the old love letters he wrote while they were dating. He is describing one of his favorite bugs when he says, "it's dark metallic blue and dangerous, like your eyes." I think Fitzhugh is a great writer and I'm a little surprised that I've never heard of him. I'll be on the lookout for his name from now on.

"Pest Control" is the second Colby Elliott narration that I've heard, and I like him more all the time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If Robert Ludlum and Douglas Adams had wild homosexual monkey love (not that there's anything wrong with that) with each other before their individual demises, their bastard love child would have been Bill Fitzhugh.

More succinctly, Fitzhugh's novel Pest Control takes the best thriller elements of Ludlum's memory-addled spies and Adam's irreverent humo(u)r and sensibilities and hybrids them (to verb a noun) like so many assassin bugs in the Bugarariums of protagonist Bob Dillon.

In a world where the top 5 assassins know their individual ranks, and where there are still "exterminations" that need doing, hapless Dillon answers a classified ad in a drunken stupor. An ad to kill a man.

When that man dies, Bob's to blame, and everyone from a transvestite dwarf to the CIA gunning for him.

It's a fast page-turner, with at least one chuckle, smile or groaner on every page. Fortunately, the groaners are outnumbered by the smiles and chuckles at least 3-to-1.

Characters are all unique, in some cases (ok, all cases) bizarrely so, as in the case of Bob's daughter's best friend's mother, who has a circus fetish involving dwarfs, bags of peanuts, and... well, really, isn't that enough?

You have to come into this book with a sense of humor. Perhaps even an advanced sense of humor. Curmudgeons will flee this book faster than an cockroach from a flashlight.
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