Saturday, August 9, 2014

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

First, I feel I must begin with some sad news:  my book club is dead.  After nearly everyone moved out of town, it became too difficult to conduct the group via Facetime or Skype and the two or three members left in town weren't able to keep up the motivation.  We thought briefly of adding new blood to the group, but we agreed that is a difficult thing to do.  I can't really tell you how sad I am.  The good news is that I have found a new book club on Facebook and hopefully it will introduce me to books I might not have read otherwise.  It won't be the same, but it will be something.  Book clubs are a delicate thing, I think.

And now to this post:  Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz is the first book I am reading for this new online book club.  It definitely qualifies as a book I wouldn't have picked up if not for book club.  I used to love Dean Koontz.  In middle school, I devoured his books.  "Middle school?" you're asking.  "Isn't that a little young for some of his material?"  Why, yes.  Yes it is.  I don't remember how I got into it, but I loved it.  Until I didn't.  At some point I just decided that his books had become too formulaic for me.  I always knew that some traumatic event would occur at this certain point in the story.  Then about three quarters of the way though, the reader would think she had it figured out, then with two pages left, a startling reveal.  So it was with Odd Thomas.

Odd Thomas is the first and last name of the main character. He sees dead people.  He can't speak with them because they don't talk, but he has regular interaction with the spirits of people who have passed.  As the book opens, Odd solves a murder when one ghost leads him to her killer.  As the day progresses, however, Odd becomes aware that something truly terrible is about to happen.  He grasps on to every aspect of his gift to understand what will happen and how he can prevent it.

I really like the concept of a character having access to the knowledge of the recently departed.  I enjoyed the scenes when Elvis visits.  I just don't care for the horror genre as a whole.  A ghost leading him to her killer is one thing; I just don't really want to read about every minute detail of her terrible death.  And why do Koontz's books always seem to have a violent sex scene?  I realky don't want to read about that.  Thankfully it was very minor and in flashback in this book.  I kept reading because it was such a page turner.  I wanted to know what would happen, but all the way through the book I couldn't quite decide if I was enjoying reading it.  Having tried it again after so long, this is likely my last in this genre.  I just don't care for it.

How about you?  Are there certain genres or authors you avoid?

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