Sunday, July 30, 2006

Book Review - Dean Koontz - Forever Odd

A few months ago, I wrote about how Dean Koontz has really hit his writing prime. Novels such as The Taking, Velocity, and Odd Thomas were some of the best horror/thrillers I have read in years. I want to say that Koontz fails to keep the rally going with his sequel Forever Odd, but that would be overstating the problems I had with the work. It's not that Forever Odd is a bad story, it just does not live up to its predecessor.

Forever Odd continues the story of the ghost communicator, trouble magnet, and fry cook - Odd Thomas from the earlier novel. In this one, Odd's friend has been kidnapped and he must use his special skills to track down the young man and rescue him from some pretty tough and psychotic customers.

Koontz has two ways that he (most of the time) paces his novels. The first is the break neck speed of Intensity and Velocity. We meet the main character and ride along while they are tossed around by forces beyond their control. The other is slowed down. The reader still rides along in linear time, but the narrator slowly creates the scenes and the action. The Taking and Odd Thomas are more in this vein. Both work well for their respected stories.

This being said, I felt that Forever Odd was a break neck paced story when it should have been slowed down a little. Sure, it's a sequel, so we know more about the character and long descriptions of his powers or his past might be tedious, but the interesting bits of Odd (his relationship with his parents, the events of the first novel, how his abilities affect him) are what made the first work so wonderful.

Forever Odd feels like Koontz's editors (I always want to blame the editors) told him to write a novel that was 40% Odd Thomas/ 60% Velocity. And though the story is interesting enough to keep the pages turning, I felt that I was reading about a minor tale in the larger epic of Odd Thomas' life.

Maybe that is it, and the third book in the series, Brother Odd (to be released in Nov.) will better bridge the gap between suspense and thriller.

So, I wouldn't say Forever Odd was the best Koontz I have ever read, but I am really looking forward to visiting the character again.


At 2:28 PM CDT, Anonymous Flick Masters said...

I totally agree with you. I have enjoyed everything Koontz has written over the past three years, with the exception of this novel. I hope the third book is better.

Koontz is in his prime, but I still prefer his novels from the late 1980s (Watchers, Lightning, etc.)

At 2:59 PM CDT, Blogger buck said...

I loved Watchers. Haven't read Lightning, I'll have to hit the used book stores and check it out.

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