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Odd Hours is the fourth book in the series of adventures featuring Odd Thomas, the appropriately-named young man who can see dead people and sense impending doom. To date, the Odd books have got progressively less fun. Although none could be called poor, there's no doubt that the quality is declining. Sadly, Odd Hours continues, rather than reverses that trend.
In Odd Hours, Odd comes across a strange young woman and has a vision of a terrible impending disaster that will cost the lives of millions. Odd has no idea what this event is, just that he has only a matter of hours to stop it.
Odd Hours represents an unsuccessful attempt by Koontz to raise the stakes for Odd Thomas and give his adventures a more epic feel. In previous books, his adventures have mostly occurred in small communities - such as his home town of Pico Mundo or a monastery. This is the environment in which Odd works best. Although Odd Hours puts our hero back into a small town, the plot he uncovers is a far more wide-ranging conspiracy that pits him against a massive, unknown and all-powerful enemy. The plot just feels wrong for an Odd Thomas book. It feels like it is actually the plot for a different book for a different character; as though Koontz got halfway through and then his editor (or whoever) decided to badge it as an Odd Thomas book so that it would shift more copies.
The truncated timeframe of the novel doesn't really work either. Presumably, arranging the plot so that Odd only has a few hours to prevent disaster is intended to introduce a race-against-time element. Yet, nothing is really made of this. The plot meanders along, Odd ambling through as if he has all the time in the world and, apart from the odd glance at a watch or clock, the time element is almost totally forgotten. This means that the book is severely lacking in either tension or atmosphere.
Totally forgotten is also a phrase that could also be applied to some of the characters. Odd himself remains as engaging as ever (although there are some issues) but the rest don't don't work quite so well. Early in the plot, Odd comes across a young woman whom he must help, yet having been briefly introduced, she then disappears until the very end. This is a complete waste of a potentially interesting character and robs Odd of some much needed company. In Odd Hours, Odd is on his own for almost all of the book, which is a shame. A highlight of previous books has been the banter between various characters, something which is sorely missing here.
The rest of the characters really are seriously underdeveloped. They are all slightly lazy, feeling as though they were created purely to serve the needs of the plot and for no other purpose. Characters come and go as the plot demands and then disappear for ever. As such, they feel weak and lacking in personality. The bad guys are particularly sketchy and really give you nothing to be scared of, and because they are so anonymous and bland, there's no real sense of triumph when Odd bests some of them. Worse still, the real bad guys are never properly identified and this leaves a very unsatisfactory, unresolved feeling to the book.
Odd himself also seems to have undergone something of a character transformation, and not an entirely successful one, either. He's changed from a character who gets his way out of peril in all sorts of inventive (and lucky) ways and seems to have turned into Jason Bourne overnight. Rather than bumbling his way along, escaping by the skin of his teeth, he is much more calculating and action driven. This is particularly noticeable towards the end of the book and he suddenly single-handedly takes on a boat crew, despite the fact that they are all stone-cold killers. All of this (including Odd's sudden seeming willingness to kill at the drop of a hat) sits badly with the character we have come to know over the last three books.
Amidst all this disappointment, it's easy to forget that although it's not a patch on the books which preceded it, Odd Hours can still be fun. Koontz invests Odd with a real sense of personality and a very quirky outlook on life. The things Koontz makes him say and think are often wry, frequently amusing and sometimes downright funny. Whilst it might nit be as prominent as in earlier books, there are patches of that amusing banter, particularly later on when Odd bandies words with one of the chief bad guys.
This makes the book at least some fun to read. Although it's standard novel length (around 400 pages), I ripped through it in just a few days because, despite its flaws, it was an easy read. It's not a book you have to concentrate on; it's something you can sit down when you have just a few moments and there's a lot to be said for a book like that. Koontz maintains that fine balance between action, humour and tension/horror. OK, sometimes the mix is slightly wrong, but it's never catastrophic.
The two-star rating perhaps seems a little harsh, as there are bits of Odd Hours which are enjoyable. The reason for the rating is two-fold. Firstly, whilst the fun elements are there, there is an inconsistent tone to the book which mars things slightly; secondly, I'm trying to rate fairly and consistently in relation to the other Odd books. I gave the third book three stars and this was isn't as good as that so whilst two stars might seem a little harsh, I think it's a fair reflection.
Harper, new edition, 2009
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
This is the fourth book in the Odd Thomas series and after a small drop in quality in the middle two it's a return to form for our fry cook who has to avert an impending major disaster.
It's a terrific novel written at a good pace that keeps the reader involved at all times. Odd is such an endearing character and is almost impossible to dislike so is easy to root for. If you're new to Koontz or to Odd Thomas then you're in for a treat. If you're an existing Koontz fan then this also has hints of a possible connection with Christopher Snow, another of Koontz's creations, with maybe a possible joining of stories for the two in the future.
Terrific descriptive and character writing as per normal from Koontz and a fantastic, slow building story with a great ending too. I can't wait for the next Odd Thomas novel and where the character goes from here.
Author Dean Koontz.
This is the 4th novel in the Odd series and to be honest I loved it, So much so I am definitely going to read the previous three.
We follow the adventure of Odd Thomas who sees ghosts.
That is he sees the spirits of those people who have failed to cross over or who still have unresolved issues here on this plain of existence and simply won't leave until they have gotten Odd to put things right.
He is accompanied by 'Boo' his ghost dog.
Yes I said Boooooo!!!!
This see through pooch pops in and out of Odds life mostly when Odd is in need of a little help.
In this adventure we see Odd having dreams of a blood red ocean and he knows that cataclysmic events are about to unfold unless he acts quickly. He travels to the remote town of Magic Beach and here he uncovers a thermonuclear plot of world changing import.
He uses his other gift of an unreliable physic ability he calls 'psychic magnetism' for finding the people involved in the plot but not always to his advantage and soon people are dropping dead (and coming back to life) all over the place.
No more of the book except to say that it is wonderfully written. With some laugh out loud dialogue and it reminded me a bit of 'Catch 22' in its dry yet intelligently funny wit which runs throughout the entire book.
It is a fast paced beach book that you really will be unable to put down.
Mr Koontz has converted me with this book and I will be looking for more of his material from now on.
Not since 'Cell' by Stephen King have I read, enjoyed and been surprised by how good a book I was reading. I was disappointed only when the book finished and I can't wait to read the next Odd book.
One more thing, Odd was originally to be christened Todd Thomas but due to a miss-print was christened Odd Thomas, who can blame him after a start like that for going on to have an 'ODD' life.
Very Highly Recommended.
Supplementary info: The other 'Odd' Books:
1. Odd Thomas
2. Forever Odd
3. Brother Odd
I have read a few of Koontz's books before and found they generally have a quite good structure, decent enough plot and a twist or two. He is not the best author in his genre, which is thriller come horror come fantasy, but he certainly is not the worst; so I was quite looking forward to reading this.......4 weeks ago. Yep, this book, all 404 pages has taken me 4 weeks to read. Now that not might seem a lot, but I have been known to read a book in a day....why so long? I'll get to that, but first, a little of a taster.
Odd Thomas (yep, that is the name the author has given our main protagonist) is a 'fry/grill chef' by trade, and is the subject of a number of books in this series by Koontz, though this particular book is fine as a 'stand alone' novel.
Anyway, Thomas is currently living with an old (80 to be precise) actor as his live in cook and general assistant. It is a fictitious seaside town in America.
We learn early on that Thomas sees and even talks to ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them. We also find out that he has vivid dreams that are the portent of things to come.
By 'accident' he stumbles across some unsavoury characters who try to kill him after which he realises that he has unwittingly got caught up in a conspiracy of sorts....right, that's it, no more or I will spoil it.
Well, it gets better if you persevere with it, but my goodness, do you have to persevere.
The whole story is told from Thomas's, first person perspective and from the start is a little grandiose and unbelievable....okay, so he can talk to ghosts, but why, of all the dead people there must be, does he get to chat to Sinatra and Elvis?, why not Joe Bloggs down the road?
The writing itself is good and descriptive and there are one or two very tense 'scenes' which are well written and easily visualised, there are also a fair few comedic moments.
The trouble is, it is so damn slow to start with and very complicated in a daft way....it all seems to 'convenient', so as we start to try and work out the twists, Koontz serves them up on a big platter of obviousness.
The ending chapters are much better paced than the beginning chapters, and I nearly stopped reading this several times. Not only is it slow it lurches from one bit of unbelievable nonsense to another. To me, to make a thriller credible there has to be something we can relate to. So how does a fry chef know how to use several different guns, pilot a large boat? .......and these are just some of the issues.
I did not really like this book, but found myself liking one or two chapters, I did not like the plot, but found myself liking the descriptive writing and comedic moments.
I will not be reading any more books in the 'Odd Thomas' series, a one star effort for me. Four weeks to read a book is just too long.
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz is the fourth book in the Odd Thomas series, previously we had Odd Thomas, Forever Odd and Brother Odd which relayed the experiences of Odd Thomas who can see the dead, sense impending disaster and tries to help.
Alot of my friends who read Dean Koontz aren't keen on the Odd Thomas books as they don't feel it's usual Dean Koontz style but I find the fry cook from Pico Mundo thoroughly endearing.
In Odd Hours Odd has been compelled to go to a small town called Magic Beach on the California coast, he doesn't know why except something bad is going to happen. He finds a job as a cook for a retired movie star with OCD and waits to find out why he is there.
As he waits he has a recurring dream about a red tide and a woman and the woman in the dream is finally revealed as real. Once he strikes up a conversation with the woman, who is as strange as Odd, things all start to happen.
A group of thugs try to kill him, the local authorities seem to be in on it and Odd has to discover the meaning of his dreams and what he can do to prevent the disaster. Along the way he meets some good people too who help him in small ways and he has to become a killer to save the day. Also a starring role for the deceased Frank Sinatra makes this a brilliant read!
Odd Thomas is a thoroughly likeable guy, he sees the dead but they can never speak to him. Odd doesn't know why they can't speak but he assumes it's because they know things about life and death that the living should not know. He travels to places that draw him and awaits the explanation why.
Once I picked this up I couldn't stop reading, a common fnding with anything by Koontz. Odd has become like a friend after 4 books and his personality never wavers. The other characters in the book range from eccentric to pure evil to impossibly optimistic to as odd as Odd!
Annamaria is the woman from the dreams and she seems to know things Odd doesn't and also things about Odd only his lost love Stormy knew which works well to keep Stormy's presence in the book. Anyone who read the first book will remember Stormy was Odd's soulmate who didn't make it through the first disaster Odd had to stop. The fact Dean Koontz often refers to Stormy throughout so we don't forget her makes me think she will play a large part in the final Odd book.
The retired movie star, Lawrence Hutchison, provides some great opportunities for comedy with his confusion between real life and the movies he's starred in.
Odd, as usual, has some great one-liners and some help from a ghost dog called Boo and Frank Sinatra.
The entire book is packed with action, comedy, sadness and supernatural happenings. There's a poignancy about the Odd Thomas series that is always present as each book written by Odd is supposed to be published only after his death so I think we all know how it's going to end for Odd Thomas.
Thoroughly enjoyable, this book will make you wish for friends as real as Odd's and wonder how a young man who's a fry cook with aspirations to go into tyre sales can save the day!
Each book can be read as a stand alone but it's better to read them all in sequence to understand more about the character. I've heard there will be six books in this series but frankly I could read about Odd forever!
My copy was a gift and is hardback but this is now available as a paperback at £4.49 from Amazon or £3.75 from Amazon Marketplace.
ODD HOURS is the third sequel to the highly successful ODD THOMAS written and devised by master storyteller, DEAN KOONTZ. Koontz has claimed that the series will number six novels in total and, as well as the four books we have seen up until now, there has also been a MANGA style graphic novel that acts as a prequel.
ODD HOURS sees something of a return to form for Odd after his misadventures set in a monastry in the last installment of the series. A month after hitting the road again in search of the Destiny that will lead him back into the arms of his lost love, Odd finds himself drawn to the seaside resort of Magic Beach for reasons he doesn't yet fully understand. Accompanied now by a ghostly pet dog and the lingering spirit of Frank Sinatra (in place of Elvis who has finally moved on), Odd's dreams are full of a mysterious woman he sees locally and visions of a deadly crimson tide that forewarns him of danger in the quaint, little town. It is not until he is approached by three menacing figures with an unhealthy interest in Odd and the woman in his dreams though, that he finally begins to realise why his psychic magnetism has brought him to these shores. Something bad is coming to Magic Beach and Odd has less than 48 hours to stop his nightmare dreams from becoming a reality....
This is perhaps the weakest of the series so far to date though it is still relatively enjoyable if not a little frustrating at times!! The plot gets going fairly quickly, from the first chapter in fact, and the relentless pace never really lets up but halfway through I did begin to wonder if perhaps instead of Koontz I was reading an episode of 24!! I'm not going to reveal any plot details but for someone who has an aversion to guns, Odd does get a little trigger-happy at times. It is not that we haven't seen him forced to defend himself before (because we have on more than one occassion) more that here, his personality seems to have undergone a transplant into a gung-ho hero. Also we get a lot more of those "Odd anecdotes" that seem to crop up in each successive novel along the lines of the time he was chained to two dead bodies and dumped in the local lake or was hung up on a hook in a meat fridge by an angry chiropodist, without any further explanation as to the background of these events and if Koontz will insist on keep bringing them up, he could at least do the fans the service of providing them with a little more enlightenment. There is only so many times they can be brought up before they begin to get boring and Koontz is in real danger of alienating his fans if he doesn't give us even a few answers...
ODD has become a major franchise for Koontz with all his adventures either already in print or promised that they are forthcoming. Odd even has his own little section of the DEAN KOONTZ website and his own 7-part webisode set between ODD HOURS and BROTHER ODD- and thats without mentioning all the Pico Mundo merchandise you can also buy now as well.....
It is a shame then that with ODD HOURS that the series feels perilously close to losing steam. With mentions of WYVERN and THE MAGIC TRAIN, it seems as though the long-rumoured cross-over with the JONATHAN SNOW novels may well be on the cards (Snow appears in the Koontz books FEAR NOTHING and SEIZE THE NIGHT) but whether this attempt to link several of Koontz's titles together will be a success (the JONATHAN SNOW novels themselves have close links to an earlier Koontz novel, WATCHERS) remains to be seen. Stephen King attempted to cross all his major novels together with THE DARK TOWER series and whether or not that actually worked still divides fans long after the series has come to a close.
Don't get me wrong; ODD THOMAS was an amazing book and Odd is a truly wondorous character but there is such a thing as stretching a story to far and I think Koontz needs to pull a few tricks out of the bag if he wants fans to continue to go with this one. Certainly the main plot is only part of the story here and, rather than the other novels which could be read as stand-alones, this latest offering leaves many questions unanswered leaving many fans on tenderhooks. Who exactly is Annamaria? What is her connection to Stormy Lleweylen? How are their destinies intrinsically linked together and what danger lied beneath the sewer system of Magic Beach? These are just some of the frustrating questions YOU might find yourself asking once you reach the climax of this book (which feels too much like a filler-novel, an interlude before the next big traumatic adventure in Odd's life, to be truly satisfying).
There also appears to be some kind of a very subtle, possible link to a really early Koontz novel, TWILIGHT EYES, which many newer fans might easily miss when Odd's eyes are drawn to a lightning bolt etched as part of the design on a man-hole cover. Didn't the "Goblins" from that novel use the lightning bolt as a logo for their organization? I'm not sure- its been a long time since I read TWILIGHT EYES- but it seems as though the evidence exists that Koontz is possibly intending to link more than one of his previous books together?
One things for absolute certain, Koontz has long promised a third Jonathan Snow novel and it seems relatively clear now that the final part of his trilogy may well be the concluding sixth book of the ODD THOMAS series also......
I give this 4 stars....simply because its not totally awful and the wonderful character of our tragic hero, ODD THOMAS, kind of makes up for everything that is bad about this book- but please Mr.Koontz take a hint..... wrap this up quickly, return Odd to Pico Mundo and give the fans something new yet just as pleasurable and heart-warming as the original ODD THOMAS was. Otherwise this series could become your swan song.......