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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

I have mixed feelings about this book, but mostly I just didn't like it. Before I get into it, I'll give you the blurb from the author's site:

"The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

Why didn't I like it? Hard to explain without spoiling stuff. I mean, the writing was mostly okay, and there was some food for thought in there, it wasn't a totally bad experience, I did finish it, after all. I liked the characters we got to meet in the book, maybe that's why I kept picking it back up, because I really did like Odd and his assorted friends. I've been reading it on and off for a week though, and that's not like me. I'd get to a point where I just had to put it down, so I did. And I'd pick something else up and read it for a while before picking Odd Thomas back up. Reading it became a chore. A few times I thought about not finishing it. And now, having finished it, I realize I'd have been better off not doing so. In fact, I'd have been better off to have not picked it up in the first place.

I bought the first two books in this series. I have the second book, Forever Odd, but I'm not sure I'll ever read it.


  1. I LOVED this book. It was one of those that I just had to wait patiently until the end to see how the author finished it, rather than anticipating and rushing to conclusions. But then, I was in my 50s when I read it, and that rather makes a difference in view point.

    Try it again in twenty years or so. It is really good.

  2. In another 20 or so years I'll be in my mid 60's, and I really don't think I'm going to change my mind.

    It just didn't work for me, though I know there are a lot of people who did like it, and who keep reading the new Odd as they come out.

    Variety makes the world go 'round.