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Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh
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Pest Control (edition 2005)

by Bill Fitzhugh

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3621030,006 (3.66)1 / 7
Member:MyBookishWays
Title:Pest Control
Authors:Bill Fitzhugh
Info:Harper Paperbacks (2005), Paperback, 320 pages
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Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A great beach read. Twists, misunderstandings complicate the life of a naive, bumbling exterminator. ( )
  JakeDevlin | Jun 5, 2013 |
Bill Fitzhugh's 1996 novel "Pest Control" is so much fun it's a wonder more people haven't read it -- or even heard about it. But then I always wondered why Donald E. Westlake's comic caper novels were not major bestsellers. Pest Control may not be quite as funny or as good as Westlake's best work, but it's close.

The story tells about a professional pest exterminator named Bob Dillon whose great idea is to breed a new bug that will kill other bugs, as if property owners will pay good money to try to get rid of their roaches and termites by inviting even bigger, nastier insects into their homes and businesses. Through a series of events that almost seem plausible as Fitzhugh tells the story, Bob gets a reputation as another kind of professional exterminator, a hitman. Pretty soon most of the other top assassins in the world are coming to New York City to kill him, both to eliminate one of their competitors and to collect a large bounty placed on his head by a South American dictator.

One of these assassins is Klaus, a man who entered the business to make the world a better place. He kills only people who deserve to be killed, and when he realizes Bob is nothing more than the harmless exterminator he claims to be, he comes to the rescue. Klaus doesn't save the day by himself, however. With his knowledge of New York and bugs, Bob proves very resourceful against the armed killers, too.

Decades ago someone like Don Knotts or Tim Conway would have been chosen to play Bob Dillon in a film version of Pest Control. That casting would not have been quite right, however. Bob isn't so much a klutzy, mindless comic character as he is an ordinary Joe with a one-track mind. He thinks only about bugs. In a flashback we get to read a love letter he wrote to his sweetheart back in college. The letter is filled with bug metaphors. Mary married him anyway, and in the story she leaves him when their rent is overdue and Bob refuses to rely on dependable, if dangerous, chemicals to do his job.

Mary returns to Bob by the end of the novel. She may be the story's true hero. ( )
  hardlyhardy | May 31, 2013 |
Bob Dillon has lived with being mistaken for someone else. Mostly the much more musical Bob Dylan, but more recently for an extremely proficient international hit man, when all he really wants to do is start his own all-natural pest control business by breading a super-effective strain of assassin bugs. Of course, his feel good business plan ignores several realities, such as the problem of having your product be self-replicating. But facts should never get in the way of an action adventure story.

As Bob blunders his way through several attempts on his life on his way to pest-control nirvana, a truck with a giant fiberglass bug on top, he does manage to breed and try out several hybrid bugs, meet a number of interesting people who want to kill him, save his wife and daughter, evade his landlord and eventually escape from New York.

Along the way author Bill Fitzhugh makes a sizable number of song lyric puns and references, mostly to Dylan with occasional other artists like Warren Zevon thrown in. He also manages to convey that he did a lot of research about cockroaches and assassin bugs for this book by bludgeoning the the reader with detailed descriptions of the different species, their appearance and habits. Even so Pest Control is an amusing read, if a little gruesome towards the end. ( )
  grizzly.anderson | Aug 28, 2009 |
Really enjoyed reading this delightfully absurd novel. Bob Dillon is just an exterminator that gets mistaken for the newest assassin in the world, called The Exterminator. Now he has to try to stay alive by dodging the top 10 hit men (people) in the world., avoiding his landlord who wants his $320, and staying away from the CIA agents that try to convert him to their side. All this while starting his own pest control business and promising his wife that he will somehow get the rent money.

Amusing case of mistaken identity.
  aallen66 | Jun 7, 2009 |
Bob Dillon not to be confused with the singer/song writer Bob Dylan is an unemployed exterminator. Now that he doesn't have a steady paying job getting in his way, Bob begins to focus on his all natural, pesticide free form of pest control. Bob dreams of the day when he will own his own truck with a fiberglass bug adorning the roof. His wife Mary dreams of a steady paycheck to pay the rent and to put food on their table.

In a weird series of events, Bob gets mixed up with some shady characters and is mistakenly viewed as an assasian. Some wild events unfold as Bob tries to find himself and aviod being exterminated along the way.

Bill Fithugh's humor is in line with that of Christopher Moore. He creates some strange characters and puts them in some even stranger situations. Pest Control is an admirable first novel and is well worth the few hours it takes to read. Although the ending becomes somewhat predictable the character interactions lend itself to some laugh-out-loud moments. ( )
  Ti99er | Dec 10, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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TO KENDALL, ELEANOR, AND GRANNY.
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR LOVE.
AND TO JIMMY VINES FOR BELIEVING FROM THE START.
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His eyes were metallic blue jewel beetles peering out from underneath a pair of furry black caterpillars.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380788683, Mass Market Paperback)

PROFESSIONAL EXTERMINATOR
FIFTEEN YEARS FIELD EXPERIENCE!
GONE PRIVATE WITH LETHAL NEW
CONCEPT! NO PEST LEFT ALIVE!

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.

PROFESSIONAL EXTERMINATOR
FIFTEEN YEARS FIELD EXPERIENCE!
GONE PRIVATE WITH LETHAL NEW
CONCEPT! NO PEST LEFT ALIVE!

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:04 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Bob Dillon, an unemployed cockroach exterminator in New York answers an ad for an exterminator, only to learn the ad was for a hit man. Before Dillon can back off, the victim dies accidentally and the client, very impressed, sends Dillon the fee. At that, the victim's friends put a bounty of several million dollars on Dillon's head and the world's top exterminators descend on New York. A first novel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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