Reader Indecisiveness

I am somewhat of a Dean Koontz fan and I have been wavering over reading another book in his Odd Series that started with ODD THOMAS in 2003. I did read the first book and enjoyed it for the most part. It’s about a young fry cook who can see dead people (remember The Sixth Sense?).

Decent enough debut for a new series but… I thought ODD THOMAS had too much of everything bad and not enough of what makes books memorable and entertaining.  I remember too much dialogue and introspection. Too many asides. Some scenes just draaaggggged on forever. But on the flip side some pages were suspenseful and humorous even. The ending was tragic :sigh: but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

This Amazon review on his newest, DEEPLY ODD, just made me laugh as I was browsing. Here is a snippet of it:

That being said, “Deeply Odd” is bad. I don’t know where to start with it, it was that bad. The plot was bad. The characters were bad. The dialogue was bad. The attempted uses at humor were bad. Koontz’s never ending right wing paranoia was bad. The action was bad. Even the rushed and boring conclusion was bad.

Here is what made me have third or fourth thoughts about investing in this series. This is what the reader had to say about the main character, Odd Thomas:

he’s done a complete 180 so fast shows that Koontz is losing his faith in his character.

If that is to be believed (and he’s not the only reader who says that) then that sounds problematic for me. I just hate when a character changes so drastically in the middle of a series like that. The reviews (if they are to be believed) seem to be mixed on the changes between those who love the new gun-toting Odd Thomas and those who miss the lovable, whiny Odd Thomas. I’m stuck in the middle and don’t know what to think.

Will I embrace the changes or hate the changes? Should I just start with the latest book and move forward?  Read them myself and see if I like them or skip them altogether? That is my dilemma and I’ve debated this for about a year. It’s not that I don’t have enough books to read. Trust me, I do. I’ve been unsure about taking up this series again because I did enjoy the first book, for the most part (like I said).

Dean Koontz is really good when he’s on top of his game. I loved LIGHTNING, a book that uses elements of time travel, suspense and romance. I also enjoyed two more titles: DRAGON TEARS and WHISPERS, regular run of the mill suspense with the former adding elements of the supernatural. Didn’t care for PHANTOMS because somewhere along the line, I quit believing in the story ( that’s bad). I still have WATCHERS unread, waiting maybe for a vacation. It’s supposed to be his defining work. Koontz is hard to categorize which is not a bad thing. This post is me thinking out loud. Oh and you can read the rest of the review “Deeply Horrible” that I quoted from if you want.

I did buy the three ODD novellas Koontz did that got some great reviews and I think I will just read those and see how I like them. Thanks for reading if you’ve made down this far. This is just a late afternoon post where you are witness to my indecisiveness.

About avidmysteryfan

I live and breathe crime fiction.
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10 Responses to Reader Indecisiveness

  1. Keishon – You really do have a dilemma there. It’s not an easy decision and I think you’ve done a wise thing to just get the novellas and see what you think of them. Then you’re not out much if it turns out you’re not interested. I actually found this post really interesting because I am sure you’re not the only reader who is wary of major changes in an author’s approach.

  2. heidenkind says:

    I loved Odd Thomas (the first book). The second book was kind of long and blah, and the third book was pretty good. I think I read the fourth book but I’m not sure??? I remember Koontz introducing more of an overarching theme to the series at that point, but it seemed like too little too late, and the novels were really inconsistent in quality. I’d rather have my good memories of the first novel intact than keep reading a series that probably should have never been a series to begin with and have my annoyance overshadow everything else.

    So I understand your dilemma! I guess there’s always the library if you really want to give the next book a try.

  3. Col says:

    You’ve got me started now……leave well alone I reckon. I read Koontz back in the 80’s and loved him, especially Watchers, Strangers and a couple of others. I stopped early 90’s because I felt he’d started repeating himself and had run out of things to say. I read him again a couple of years ago, GOOD GUY, YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME and THE FACE, 1 was ok, 2 were complete and utter tripe. There ought to be a remote island somewhere in the middle of an ocean where old writers and rock stars can be rehomed when they have exceeded their sell by date. I really don’t think it’s fair that they continue to trouble the rest of us with their increasingly puerile output. Don’t do it to yourself, keep the first memories intact!

  4. TracyK says:

    Based on what you say here, I would skip them. Except that reading those novellas seems a good way to test the waters again. The issue I always have is… I have read the first few of a long series (let’s assume I liked them). Do I continue from where I was, or skip a few to catch up? Or just give up because I will never reach the end?

    • Keishon says:

      Hey Tracy, I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been there, too. Usually I like to skip around or skip ahead. I have made it my goal to read all 55 of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct Books. So far I’ve only read maybe four titles. At this rate, I’ll probably never finish reading them all.

      • TracyK says:

        The McBain books I am definitely reading in order, even if it takes forever. The early ones are not too long anyway.

  5. Nish says:

    I haven’t had a great experience with Dean Koontz. He’s one of the most meh writers but I did want to try the Odd Thomas books. Will give them a miss after reading those amazon reviews you posted :)

    About McBain, TracyK, it makes sense reading them in order because you get the thread of events nicely and all the books are very short and quick reads.

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