Forever Odd * Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz

The heart is an artist that paints over what profoundly disturbs us, leaving on the canvas a less dark, less sharp version of the truth.

This is a good, if quieter and slower-paced read than ODD THOMAS. We still have Odd with his dead-seeing power and his good heart that wants to help, even if it puts him at risk. This time, rather than major bodach-thrilling carnage, we have someone Odd cares about deeply in trouble–kidnapped by one whack Voodoo-ish skanky beauty. Danny suffers from a condition that makes his bones brittle and with the thought that his psychopath biological father has abducted him, it is vital that he is found soon. When Odd, with his unique powers for finding individuals, sets out he will find himself up against a twisted evil far greater than he could have imagined.

“Get out of here while you can. She’s crazier than a syphilitic suicide bomber with mad-cow disease.”

Well, the evil girl in the story, Datura, is not an exceptionally cunning and fearsome enemy. You know what she is? Crazy. Not schizophrenic, bipolar, manic depressive or mentally unstable. This chick is simply nine cents short of a dime. And just let me add, worse character name ever. Well, second worst.

“She might have been born this way, without an empathy gene and other essentials. In that case, she would interpret any kindness as weakness. Among predatory beasts, any display of weakness is an invitation to attack.”

“I remembered reading that the sweat and breath of certifiable psychopaths have a subtle but distinctive chemical odor because of certain physiological conditions accompanying that mental disorder. Maybe her breath smelled of craziness.”

One thing about Odd is how peaceful he is to be around. Even when he’s disarming a terrified friend or confronting armed thugs.

“Daily I walk a high wire, always in danger of losing my balance. The essence of my life is supernatural, which I must respect if I am to make the best use of my gift. Yet I live in the rational world and am subject to its laws. The temptation is to be guided entirely by impulses of an otherworldly origin-but in this world a long fall will always end in a hard impact.”

What I found unfortunate was that Forever Odd seemed stitched on to the first book in what I felt was a forced way. I couldn’t escape the feeling that Odd Thomas was intended to stand alone, and these sequels were only drafted in response to the character’s appeal. True enough, that’s no reason to hate the book, and I don’t – I just wish there were a few things that tied the plot more to the first book.

Odd, we know (as the series continues) will overcome, but as in all things, it’s the how, the pace, the suspense, the characters, the why that makes stuff interesting. Koontz can write, so that’s not even an issue. Koontz can plot, so we know it will have escalating danger and a ticking clock.

No degree of prosperity can be sufficient to eliminate all misfortune, and sloth is impervious to opportunity.

One quibble: If this Danny was such a dear, close, valuable friend, how come he was, like, not around in the first book? I know, I know, authorial license to add and enrich a character who continues in a successful series, but I had a hard time accepting this guy was like “a brother” when he’s dumped on us out of the blue.

Questions that evil makes us ask. I really thought Koontz did a great job of anchoring the metaphysical with the physical. He’s great at metaphors, so no surprise. Anyway, by the end of this part of his story, Odd comes to some serious cosmic recognitions. As his writer pal says: He already knows. He must just recognize. After facing another example of human evil, Odd faces the truths he already knew. And that many of us readers know, too.

“Odd: I wish I could believe in reincarnation.
Chief Porter: Not me. Once down the track is enough of a test. Pass me or fail me, Dear Lord, but don’t make me go through high school again.
Odd: If there’s something we want so bad in this life but we can’t have it, maybe we could get it the next time around.
Chief Porter: Or maybe not getting it, accepting less without bitterness and being grateful for what we have is a part of what we’re here to learn.”

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