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At last, a return to form for Dean Koontz
on 20 July 2006
Ever since Dean Koontz's books started being released one every six months instead of one a year, the quality of his work has fallen considerably - not surprising really when you consider that he must be rush-writing to have such a high output.
His recent books have been patchy at best, and at worst they have been almost unreadable (the astoundingly awful "Frankenstein: City of Night" being one of the worst books I've ever read, let alone the worst by this author). One of the few bright moments in his career of late was the thoroughly enjoyable Odd Thomas, and this sequel doesn't fail to impress.
Picking up six months after the events of "Odd Thomas", "Forever Odd" sees Odd in a new and equally unusual situation. Although far-fetched, this book is actually more believable than a lot of Dean's recent output, and the characters are warmer and more engaging, particularly Odd. The new character of Datura is also well-handled and she makes a welcome addition to this story.
In recent years, it seems to me that Dean's books have contained more references to God and more jokes with each passing release. This holds true in Forever Odd. The religious aspects are a touch annoying to your average atheist reader, although they are not over-bearing, and far from evangelical. They just feel a little out-of-place. As a comedic writer, I actually feel Dean is developing quite a gift; this is one of the few ways in which his work has improved in recent years. In this book I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion, whilst still gripped to the storyline and turning the pages at an alarming rate.
All in all, this is one of Dean's finer releases in recent years, alongside the prequel "Odd Thomas". Beyond these two I would recommend going a little further back in his bibliography, and try "Strangers" or "Fear Nothing". This book has restored my faith in one of my favourite authors, just as I was about to give up on him.