Odd Hours--Dean Koontz

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Odd Hours is by far and away my least favorite of the Odd books because I feel that it is too incomplete--it seems like the beginning of something that will be finished in a way that I won't particularly care for. Careful reading of the text suggests that, perhaps, when this was written, the publishers decided that it was too long for one episode and so it would be split into several.

That said, despite these quibbles with some of the mechanics, it is an Odd book, and therefore good reading. If not as good as the first three, still worth reading and worth paying attention to. Koontz continues his themes of Grace in a graceless world and here interjects some Shakespeare (overtly) and some T.S. Eliot (particularly the "Four Quartets,") more covertly--all to effect his end. Additionally, he makes some arguments about the use of force--at one point noting that he is "a killer" but not "a murderer." And they are made well--well enough that a semi-pacifist such as myself could raise no strong objection to them and even saw in them some of the wisdom of the Church. (I suppose one could argue about whether all the conditions for self defense or "just war" are met; however, this is a work of light fiction not a polemic justifying aggression.)

There were some annoying spots in the book--the overly long interrogation in the police station which has an episode of faked (and not convincingly faked) amnesia, the dialogue with the last conspirators at the end. Just too much for the weight of the book--unless, as I suspect, there is more in a similar vein to come.

Loose threads--Annamaria, the coyotes, and the new manifestations of the supernatural, are all left loose, untrimmed, untucked, unacknowledged. But this plot is tidied up and done away with quickly--so quickly indeed that there is none of the personal force of the other books--the threat to too vague, too distant, too massive to really have the impact that some of the others did.

Overall, this is a weaker effort in the series. But even so, there are the episode of the Polterfrank, the golden retriever, the house of the Happy Monster, and other real highlights that make this, while weak, a thoroughly enjoyable half-installment in the series. Given the foreshadowing, warnings, and umbras and penumbras of the beginning of the book, it is clear that this narrative episode is not yet finished, nor is it likely to be wrapped up in the next book. What we have here may be, like a recent Preston and Child endeavor, the beginning of a trilogy within a series. If as successful as that endeavor, we have much to look forward to. If not, we still have the charm of Odd Thomas, and that in itself is sufficient to make any book in the series worth reading.

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oh! i hate to read this because i was actually eager to get my hands on a copy, even in light of the fact that i found the last two to be -- er, somewhat lacking [actually i found the second to be the most icky, if that's the word]. anyway, i think poor odd should have been left to rest in peace after the first one. alas . . .

What you said, in its entirety.

If he ties up the major loose thread properly, I may revise my estimate of this book upward. But at this point it's so major and so loose I'm not sure he can pull it off.

Still, as you say, we have the charm of Odd Thomas.

Dear Smockmomma,

Since you didn't care for the second and third, your decision is a wise one. And the second was perhaps the most horrifying and awful, simply because it was one of the finest depictions of pure evil since Iago.

However, this book is worth your time if you have it . But there's a world of things to read, and this one not be one of the 100 books to read before you die. (Or even 1,000, probably).





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 22, 2008 7:36 AM.

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