Koontz, Dean. In Odd We Trust.

NY: Ballantine: 2008.

After Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” series started to take off, he went back and did a couple of prequels as graphic novels with Queenie Chan (with whose previous work I have to confess I’m not at all familiar). This is the first of those and it’s not terribly impressive, neither the story nor the artwork.

Odd, of course, is a fry cook in the small Southern California desert town of Pico Mundo, and he sees the dead. In particular, he’s sought out by the deceased who need help, usually because they’re murder victims and they want both vengeance and to stop the killer before he does it again. Oddie has a girl friend, Stormy, who’s kind of a hard-core type (she packs a gun), one of his closest friends is the chief of police, and his boss at the diner is something of a mother-figure for him. In this volume, Stormy has a friend who housekeeps and nannies for a couple of families, one of whose young children has been killed in her own kitchen. The friend also has a stalker who leaves her very scary letters. Odd is on the case on behalf of the dead girl and he’s trying to prevent what everyone assumes will be the next death of a child. Of course, it’s not that simple.

The thing is, every time you think, “Aha! That’s a red herring! Something else is going to happen!” or, “This other character is actually the bad guy!” it turns out you’re wrong. The person you first suspect will be the next victim, . . . is the next victim. The first bad guy you come across, . . . is the Bad Guy. Frankly, this is terrible plotting. And the art? Chan obviously has a lot of experience with manga because all her characters have a certain look to them, and all of them are also nearly generic, to the point where it’s difficult to remember which ones are which. (With the exception of Stormy, who is the only one with solid black hair.) Some of the dialogue is pretty good, but that’s not enough to save the book. I suspect this effort would have been more successful if Koontz had simply written it as a novelette with no pictures.

Published in: on 2 November 2013 at 7:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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