Forever Odd, what can I say about you? Dean Koontz was riding high after the success of Odd Thomas, and fans were clamoring for more. Why wouldn’t we? Odd Thomas was the best story/character Koontz had come up with in a decade (other than the Christopher Snow novels, but they don’t count either because Koontz has yet to give us book three, so fuck ‘im). Because none of us would shut up about Pico Mundo’s extraordinary fry cook, Koontz dribbled out a lackluster-as-hell sequel, tea-bagged the puddle, then published the aftermath. Gone is Odd’s sarcastic wit, disappeared is his charm, and vanished is his ability to explain things succinctly. We get Oddie bumbling through city streets, sewers, and then a burned out casino. If those seem like great locations, you’ve been sniffing glue. My point is, every location is gone over in such redundant detail as to make the reader want to shoot the author of said prose with a damned RPG (that’s a rocket propelled grenade to those of you who haven’t played Call of Duty, watched a war movie, or, you know, served in the military). We understand that sewers look like mo’ frakkin’ sewers! We dig the concept of a fire-gutted casino! It’s a casino… that’s been fire-gutted. For fuck’s sake, we know what a row of houses look like! My point is this, Dean Koontz gets away with detail for detail’s sake like no other author. He will spend an entire five-sentence paragraph describing a puddle of water only for the character to step over the puddle and never return to it. Nothing drives me bat-shit like description that doesn’t move the plot forward. And Forever Odd is full to the brim of superfluous gallivanting. (See what I did there?)
The villain is lame. She’s meant to be scary/seductive but she just comes off pretentious and boring, like a Bond villain written by Truman Capote. The two pseudo-zombie henchmen are inane. The damsel-in-distress is a little boy with the same disease Sam Jackson had in Unbreakable. Odd doesn’t really do shit, aside from getting in trouble and being saved by nature. Seriously. It happens. Twice.
Final proof that this book is an affront to the series: Dean Koontz has written seven Odd Thomas books (one split into three parts – Odd Interlude – which is, in my opinion, the best of the series) and several comics based on Odd’s antics. I’ve read them all. The happenings of book two (Forever Odd) are never mentioned again, aside from a quick sentence in Odd Apocalypse about something that occurred in a casino a while back. In every other book in the series, the previous books’ happenings are gone over. Not here. It’s like Koontz is apologizing, wordlessly, for this pile of literary excrement. I’ve seen reviewers call this book “touching” and “moving” and “groundbreaking” but that could only be the case if someone hit you about the head with the hardcover and, when you finally collapsed, you cracked the concrete with your thick skull.
Not many novels make me angry to the point of physical violence, but Forever Odd is one of them. A novel written with the purpose of appeasing the fans until Koontz could write an Odd tale actually worth a fuck (Brother Odd), Forever Odd disappointed me so entirely that I reviewed it twice… Sonuvabitch, did I really?