Review: “Odd Interlude,” Dean Koontz

Pros: Fascinating plot
Cons: Not as quotable as the first two or so books
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Odd Interlude: A Special Odd Thomas Adventure (from The Odd Thomas Series 6-Book Bundle) is the fifth book in the series. While it isn’t as good as the first two, it’s certainly better than the fourth. It has a bit of an odd science fiction feel to it, given that the series has been mostly paranormal/horror up until now (a very small bit of SF implication was present in book three, but it didn’t have that genre feel). I gather that Odd Interlude was originally published as a three-part digital enterprise. It does have a feeling of being an ‘interlude’ in the series. Annamaria, who joined the cast in book four, doesn’t have much of anything to do in this volume. The genre alteration also contributes to this feeling.

 

Odd Thomas and Annamaria, as well as their golden retriever and their ghost dog, Boo, make a stop at a quaint little town called Harmony Corner. It doesn’t take long before things get weird: a local goes from friendly-but-melancholy to hostile in a heartbeat. Odd starts looking into the Harmony family and one of them furtively asks for his help, afraid that her daughter will be killed soon. When one of the family takes on the personality characteristics of the second, hostile personality from before, he knows there’s something truly weird going on. Another member of the family saves him, escorting him to a bizarre underground facility nearby, and he promises to free her family from a dangerous man who holds them hostage.

 

Annamaria is barely an afterthought in this volume. While I thought that was attributable to the interlude nature of the installment, she doesn’t have much of a role in later books either. While her place in those books seems limited to that of a plot device, however, she’s just sort of irrelevant here. Jolie–the girl who helps Odd–is a great new character, and I enjoyed getting to experience part of the narrative from her perspective. Given that narrative change, however, I would have expected her to become an ongoing member of the cast of characters, which she does not. There aren’t as many great side characters as in the first three books, but definitely more than in book four.

Odd Interlude isn’t as beautifully quotable as the first two books in the series, but it pulled me in much quicker than books three and four. (It didn’t tug on my emotions enough to have the teary tidbits from the first two books, but it was still quite good.) The tension and pacing were enjoyable, and the details of the plot had enough complexity and interest to them to drag me along quite readily. The genre change was executed skillfully, such that I didn’t feel wrenched out of the immersion.

While Odd Interlude isn’t the hilarious, whimsical, beautiful thrill ride of the earliest books (Odd Thomas and Forever Odd), it’s absolutely a return to better plotting and pacing from Odd Hours. It’s about equal to Brother Odd in plot depth, but better in terms of pacing and tension.

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