Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

Odd Apocalypse (Odd Thomas, #5)Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The basic setup:
Once presided over by a flamboyant Hollywood mogul during the Roaring ’20s, the magnificent West Coast property known as Roseland is now home to a reclusive billionaire financier and his faithful servants. And, at least for the moment, it’s also a port in the storm for Odd Thomas and his traveling companion, the inscrutably charming Annamaria, the Lady of the Bell. In the wake of Odd’s most recent clash with lethal adversaries, the opulent manor’s comforts should be welcome. But there’s far more to Roseland than meets even the extraordinary eye of Odd, who soon suspects it may be more hell than haven.
I love the Odd Thomas books overall. However, what this book showed me above all is that I love the first trilogy of the Odd Thomas books. (Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd). Each of those were written as complete stories showing sweet, gentle but capable Odd Thomas fighting evil supernatural for the good of the innocent who were threatened. They have beginnings, middles, and ends ... or at least resolutions of an evil situation with Odd sometimes on the road to find somewhere that a simple fry cook can earn a living.

The second trilogy, as I've come to think of them since seeing another book, Deeply Odd, is on the way, are told in a completely different fashion which I find ultimately unsatisfying. Beginning in Odd Hours Koontz just drops us in the middle of the action, a la a thriller where we learn the back story later after having begun with a pulse pounding chase. I actually could forgive that if there ever seemed to be resolution to the story. There is a resolution to Odd's current predicament, however, nebulous hints about the "big meaning of things" are all we get, despite all the action. Ho hum ... and they drive off into the sunset ...

Odd Apocalypse picks up about a week after Odd Hours ended, we are finally told after a thoroughly confusing intro where we've been dropped into a series of very odd events (ha!). Poor Odd is put through a series of gyrations and problem solving tasks because no one can give him a single straight answer. Now, I expect this from the bad guys. But for Annamaria, his mysterious companion picked up in Odd Hours, to do the same is just annoying. She may have a mystical hold on everyone she encounters, but I am mysteriously untouched by it. Odd Thomas tells us this is a haunted house book but for my money it gets a toehold in the Lovecraftian universe before settling down solidly into H.G. Wells country. I won't say which book so as to avoid spoilers but it becomes very obvious toward the end.

Koontz seems to have just thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this book without remembering to give us what was so satisfying about the first three books. An actual story.

I will read the next one simply to see if this ongoing murk ever clears up, but at this point feel it will be more from a sense of duty than anything else. And to give Koontz a chance to pull it all together in a way that makes me like all three of the second trilogy in a "really one book" sort of way.

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