Review: “Forever Odd,” Dean Koontz

Pros: Amazing narrative voice and sense of the absurd
Cons:
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

I’m continuing my foray into The Odd Thomas Series 6-Book Bundle with Forever Odd.

Odd Thomas is a fry cook who sees restless dead people–but can’t hear them. They come to him for justice, closure, and the ability to finally move on to the next life. Not long ago Odd saved many lives in a shooting & bombing–but he doesn’t feel like a hero. Not since he lost Stormy, his best girl, and eighteen other people he feels he should have saved.

Now people know his name. They know his face. And a few of them even know about his strange psychic abilities. When his childhood friend is kidnapped, he begins to suspect it isn’t about his friend at all–it’s about him. He finds himself matching wits with a cunning enemy who wants more from him than he may be capable of giving. He’s going to have to be at the height of his game if he wants to save his friend, save himself, and stop some very evil people from hurting anyone else.

 

Forever Odd has a very different plot than that of the first Odd Thomas. I tip my hat to Dean Koontz, who makes each volume about something entirely new. This book has a more intimate view of evil than the last book had. The luscious narrative explores much of Odd’s views on this world and the next, through wild adventures and unique characters. Koontz’s trademark pacing shines here, turning what could be a fairly boring exploration of subterranean tunnels into a tense ride that just ratchets up the tension for the next, face-to-face confrontation. Once again there was a point that made me cry, which is always a great sign that a book is pulling me into its pages. Alternating with the tension and fear are some wonderfully tender and moving moments.

The prose is appropriately purpleish–it works beautifully with the mystical, whimsical, earnest tone of Odd Thomas’s tale. Odd has an incredibly strong narrative voice that makes everything shine. I could feel his personality in every paragraph, his fantastic sense of the absurd.

There is one deus ex machina–not in the main plot itself, but in the details following the main plot. I’m avoiding saying anything more direct since I don’t want to spoil the events. Having read the next three books as well, there’s never an explanation–not even much in the way of speculation–regarding this odd convenient event. So, while the occasional deus ex machina isn’t entirely out of character for this sort of whimsical paranormal tale, it also never really sets well either.

Other than that, however, I found Forever Odd to be nearly as excellent as Odd Thomas, and I’m looking forward to reading more of the series!

[T]he heart cannot flourish on logic alone. Unreason is an essential medicine as long as you do not overdose.

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