Saint Odd

Odd­ball but en­ter­tain­ing end­ing

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Re­lease Date: 15 Jan­uary

442 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Dean Koontz Pub­lisher: HarperCollins

Dean Koontz’s orig­i­nal

para­nor­mal pot- boiler, Odd Thomas, ar­rived back in 2003 and be­came an in­stant best­seller. Since then there’s been a spin- off novella, a hum­drum Hol­ly­wood movie, a tril­ogy of graphic nov­els and a se­ries of se­quels – of which Saint Odd is the sev­enth. This is also, ap­par­ently, the fi­nal in­stal­ment.

A wryly para­dox­i­cal con­clu­sion is in­dica­tive of the sort of wit that fans of the fran­chise will prob­a­bly come to miss the most. Odd Thomas him­self, how­ever, is not given the breath­less send- off one might hope for. In­stead, a con­sid­er­able bulk of Koontz’s lat­est book is spent with the like­able psy­chic mak­ing a slightly me­an­der­ing re­turn to his home­town of Pico Mundo, Cal­i­for­nia, and grap­pling with the loose ends of pre­vi­ous ad­ven­tures. The desert set­ting pro­vides a fit­tingly claus­tro­pho­bic back­drop to Thomas’s alien­ation and lone­li­ness – and cre­ates a dry sense of fore­bod­ing – but there’s lit­tle here to make the reader feel un­easy. It’s told in the first per­son, un­fold­ing as an in­ti­mate and de­tailed trav­el­ogue, and the au­thor knows how to make his pulpy sub­ject mat­ter seem ur­gent, but a gen­eral sense of sus­pense is miss­ing.

The text might threaten “sex, sav­agery and sa­tanic cer­e­mony” but any such trans­gres­sion is given lit­tle de­tail. This is un­for­tu­nate be­cause, the­mat­i­cally, a bit more grit would have com­ple­mented the “all or noth­ing ” sense of Thomas’s ul­ti­mate chal­lenge and search for in­ner peace. More­over, de­spite some in­ter­est­ing en­coun­ters, from car chases to rav­en­ous coy­otes and creepy cultists, an over­rid­ing sense of lovelorn de­spair oc­ca­sion­ally makes Saint Odd some­thing of an en­durance test.

Per­haps to keep the sense of mys­tery lin­ger­ing, Koontz hangs al­most ev­ery chap­ter on a cliffhanger – of­ten with the prom­ise of forth­com­ing an­ar­chic chaos. Un­for­tu­nately, the big­gest mys­tery is why it takes so long be­fore the re­ally in­ter­est­ing oth­er­worldly insanity of this se­ries be­gins to kick in. By this point, there seems to be lit­tle point in be­gin­ning the ac­tion with such a re­li­gious sense of re­straint. That said, though, this is still Koontz on fine form – and the fi­nal pay­off for his most en­dur­ing cre­ation is pos­i­tively saintly. Calum Wad­dell Also out: “You Are Des­tined To Be To­gether For­ever”, a short ebook which looks back to where it all be­gan for Odd and Stormy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.