Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Book Series: Odd Thomas, Book #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Genres: Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: David Aaron Baker
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins

My Ranking: 

“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.

So ... I finished the book. That wasn't for lack of trying to abandon it on numerous occasions. Mainly because the story had no "oomph." Protaognist Odd Thomas moved slow. The pace of the story moved slow. The killer moved slow. Meanwhile... I tried my hardest not to fall asleep. There was a whole lot of imagery, general musings into the various mysteries of life, and detailed descriptions of the city of Pico Mundo and it's inhabitants, and then, every once in a while - for color - death, destruction and serial killers. But, let's be frank - the latter is what we opened the book for (or spent a Audible credit on...). It's what the book jacket promised. Instead of being captivated, this audiobook played out a little too much like elevator music. The story it was delivered far too slowly to keep me engaged.

In example, it's hammered into your brain that Odd's entire world was to come crashing down on August 15. There even was a countdown. Then midnight rolls around and I was thinking, where's the explosion? Then I looked down at my iPod and there was still 3 hours left on my audiobook ... I was very confused. I was promised chaos. But apparently chaos wasn't scheduled until later on in the day. Shenanigans, I tell you.

Besides the pace of the book, the other issue I had was the character of Odd. I didn't find him that all odd, or all that interesting. I never got a good grasp on his role in the story. Was he supposed to be a paranormal detective? Because if that was the aim, I found that hard to believe, because he too unmotivated and unhurried.

But, these weren't my biggest gripe. I all but stopped listening when it came this doozy. A warning this is a pretty big spoiler. I mention it solely to convey the main reason why I could never love this book. I will try not to completely spoil the plot, it out here it is: if a character thinks that the police will look at them suspiciously from just being in the vicinity of a dead body, the most logical next step is to move the body. Right? And you don't stop at only not moving the body, but you move it and the murder weapon and dump it someplace where it's unlikely to ever be found. Because that's what completely innocent people do - who regularly work with law enforcement. They contaminate crime scenes, tamper with evidence and also throw said dead body out of window. Clearly, none of these actions are either suspicious or asinine ... Yes, this actually happened in the story. SMH and slap it a few times, because this makes no damn sense.

To wrap up my rant, one could ask when I finally came to the end of the book was I more satisfied? No, not really. The story kind of went off into a tangent, giving a great deal of back story on Odd and less on the killer/main plot of this story. Good idea for the series, but bad idea for the flow of the book.

Needless to say, I don't have a strong interest in continuing with this series. But, I've already purchased Book 2 on audiobook. Maybe when my to-read queue is on the downshift. No time soon. 

Not a good start for my first Dean Koontz book.

David Aaron Baker did a good job. He read in a low monotone, which matched Odd's persona. 

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