Review: Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz

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Odd Thomas #1

SYNOPSIS: “The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere. – via Goodreads

So for years I have been meaning to get to these books after I watched Odd Thomas and learned that the movie was based on book. I, contrary to what most people felt, really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was fun. I didn’t see the twist coming. I adore Yelchin, so it all worked. So then I finally got myself together and actually got to reading this the other day and, well… yeah. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. I wanted more from it.

Odd Thomas breezes by. Seriously, it is an easy book to read, and the characters are fun, albeit a little thin. There is the Elvis angle, and then there is Odd himself, who is truly just a sweetheart, simple and pure. There is the whole backstory with his mother that could legitimately be way more messed up than was delivered here (who knows, it might be different in later books), but I just felt it was a little flat, like just glossed over? Plus two, what a hideous woman. His dad, too, was no real great shakes.

I enjoyed the story well enough, and as I said, it breezes by. It was an easy read, nothing too hectic to commit to, nothing too major to sink your teeth into, so that means you feel that you have missed a little by the end of it. It leaves you feeling a little wanting. That being said, I had a good time reading Odd Thomas and will read more of the books at some point, though I won’t be rushing for the next in the series anytime soon if I’m being honest. I suppose Odd Thomas prescribed to the typical Dean Koontz recipe of being entertaining and fun and all that, but not really staying long after as it doesn’t pack a major punch.

Review: The Whispering Room – Dean Koontz

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Jane Hawk #2

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: “No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” 

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun–just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide–and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals–Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue–and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive–in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them. – via Goodreads

I read The Silent Corner a while ago and quite enjoyed it, very different to what I am used to from Koontz. When this became available for request on Netgalley, I just knew I needed to know what would happen with Jane Hawk and her incessant hunt for the truth about a huge conspiracy to control mankind and to avenge her husband.

The Whispering Room picks up almost directly after The Silent Corner, and wastes no time getting the story underway. As with the first novel, it feels like it could have been shorter in some places and felt like it rambled a bit in places, but other than that, barrels along at the speed of light. We have two new characters to sink out teeth into  and enjoy what with Luther and Grandpa Bernie, which is nice. Fresh characters can be fun, and I particularly enjoyed Jane teaming up with Luther Tillman. The man is smart and sharp and brave, too, which works wonders for them in the team.

The story unfolds rapidly, and the conspiracy to take over the world for “peace” and all that throws a few spanners into the works along the way, the theory of what this conspiracy club is doing and how and who is in charge and why keeps changing. The term “play Manchurian with me” becomes a really important part of this book, and it was interesting to also read a bit of the story form the perspective of a woman who “has a spider who lives in her brain”.

I feel that this Jane Hawk trilogy started strongly and has a follow up that is just as good as the first. I am super interested to see the final part of this story to see how Koontz is going to wrap it up and bring it all to a close. Hopefully soon I will know! The Whispering Room provides another interesting, fast read that has a few characters to truly enjoy, though there are places the book could certainly have been tightened up some.

Review: The Silent Corner – Dean Koontz

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Jane Hawk #1

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: “I very much need to be dead.”

These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for—but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demand: find the truth, no matter what.

People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important—so terrifying—that they will exterminate anyone in their way.

But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless—and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love. – via Goodreads

I quite enjoy Koontz, usually his books are a fast read, though their quality is all over the show. Some books are really good, some are mediocre, some are messy, so it is quite the mixed bag. When this opened for request, I figured why not? I did not realise when I began that it was the first novel in a series he has started, but no worries. I found that out right at the end, when I only had a few pages left and wondered how on Earth he was going to wrap this crazy story up with to little time.

The book starts off and hits its flow pretty quickly, though it takes some time to actually figure out what is going on and what Jane’s deal is because everything is really vague, which contributes to what Jane is feeling, and slowly but surely more pieces start to fall into place, to pull you in to see what else is on the loose, and before you know it is a crazy, sci-fi style conspiracy has blown up, and you are in for a wild ride. There are chases and escapes and constant fear and terror for Jane, so the book barrels along. There are some cool characters, too, though they mostly just pop in and out.

I felt that there were places the book could have been tightened up more, but I have also realised that this is also par for course with Koontz. There are sections that just ramble on or go on, and they are a little incongruous to the other parts of the book that just barrel along. But that overall does not detract from the reading experience, just slows you down a little once in a while. The dialogue is also a little stinted at times, and there was not really much of it, which is why it sticks out to me so much.

The Silent Corner is an interesting read with a pretty cool, creepy concept, and I think that this series could be well worth the read, and I will certainly follow up with the second one when it releases. I could recommend this, especially if you like a fast read and some conspiracy thrown in for good measure, then this is definitely for you.

Review: Hideaway – Dean Koontz

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hideaway cover

SYNOPSIS: He was clinically dead after the accident—but was miraculously revived. Now Hatch Harrison and his wife approach each day with a new appreciation for life.

But something has come back with Hatch from the other side. A terrible presence that links his mind to a psychotic’s, so that a force of murderous rage courses through him. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6.5Alright, so my reading slump is lessening. Not much, not too fast, but I definitely have a whole lot of books I wanted to check out. I stuck with Koontz because, as we have established, they are usually fast, light, decent reads. This one took forever to go anywhere though, and I was getting right annoyed. The car accident, rescue, and hospital revival took 130 pages. That is lunacy! Anyway, while it dwindled and took forever and six days to start catching, when it did, it got interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the last half of the book. The concept was pretty cool, a man resuscitated after being dead for so long, and coming back a little different, with a super creepy connection to a pretty dark dude. Aside from that, it is pretty standard work (Koontz has a formula, or so I have noticed). A balance is struck between telling us the story from the perspective of the good and the evil, and Vassago’s character was interesting, and intrigued when he was given the limelight. I did enjoy the few times we got to read about things from Regina’s perspective, her conversations/prayers were quite amusing. There are quite a few clunky parts in Hideaway, but nothing so bad it couldn’t be read. I liked this, but didn’t love it, though it definitely takes time to get into. Some seem to have been riveted by the opening of this novel. I found it to be tedious though. Quick read, after you get past the beginning, though it won’t be breaking any boundaries of other Koontz books, as far as I can tell. Will see what the next one brings me!

Review: The House of Thunder – Dean Koontz

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the house of thunder dean koontz cover

SYNOPSIS: Susan Thorton awakens in a hospital, after a near-fatal car crash, to see four men lurking outside her door–men who exactly resemble those who killed her boyfriend years before. Can these be the same men? As she tries to uncover the identities of those stalking her, Susan enters a terrifying nightmare–one from which she may never escape. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6I picked this up at the secondhand book sale downstairs from my work while popping out for lunch the other day. I have been in such a reading slump lately, and unable to drag myself out of it with what I had, so I decided to grab something at random, something I knew would be a quick read. Dean Koontz fits that bill: entertaining, quick, and easy. The House of Thunder was no exception. The book seems to meander on, telling us about Susan, her accident, and being in a hospital after awakening from a coma. We deal with her thoughts, her fears, her recover, and the way she falls in love with her doctor. We also follow her through her abject terror when some horrendous men from her past seem to be popping up in her present, men that killed her college boyfriend, men who are dead. This is essentially the guts of the book, the back and forth about Susan’s sanity, the thinking about how things are possible, what the hell could actually be happening. The era that the book was set in, too, is something I liked. SPOILER: The Cold War spin on things is actually something I quite liked, though I can see that it is going to be annoying for some. I was always fascinated by the Cold War, and how insane things were back then. The premise for this is preposterous, but if you let your conspiracy mind take over, you might just have some fun. The House of Thunder definitely has its flaws, the main perpetrator being that it was too long, and wasted a lot of time just going over the motions, never really going anywhere, but even with that managed to barrel along. Not a bad read, though not the greatest, either. It lacks depth, even while it entertains. Definitely helped me with my reading slump, though I am still not totally recovered. Let’s see how it goes.

Review: The Funhouse – Dean Koontz

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dean koontz the funhouse coer

SYNOPSIS: Once there was a girl who ran away and joined a traveling carnival. She married a man she grew to hate–and gave birth to a child so monstrous that she killed it with her own hands. Twenty-five years later, she has a new life and two normal children. But her past still haunts her–and now the carnival is coming back to town… – via Goodreads

GRADE 6.5So this was one of the novels I picked up on sale the other day, and started it one quiet afternoon at work, and breezed through it and was done that evening. It was a fast read. I understand that this was initially released under a pseudonym (Owen West). I haven’t actually really read any Koontz novel aside from The Bad Place, and I thought this was not the worst place to pick up after that (though I am gearing up to get to the Odd Thomas books). Reading The Funhouse, the novel never really gives too much meat to anything, which is alright. This doesn’t come across as a heavy read. It is entertaining, and keeps you engaged, and flows well, and when I read the afterword the style totally made sense to me (seeing how it was a novel adapted from a script for a movie). I cannot say that I was a fan of Liz’s character at all, she grated on me, and there weren’t any characters you really rooted for. It’s like you feel sorry for Amy, but she made her choices. I think the one character that does stick with you is Joey, and that is due to the immense amounts of pity I felt for that kid. Shame. I loved reading about the carnival, I always find it fascinating, and wish there was more of that. However, as I understand it, there is another novel from Koontz that focuses more on that, so I will have to get my hands on it. There was nothing revolutionary about the characters, and I liked how the whole story wasn’t really revealed, just enough, though I really would have appreciated more of a wrap up at the end of it all. I see the book gets a lot of flak, which I don’t get, because it is just a breezy, fun, quick novel to take in. I suppose if people went in expecting more bang for their buck, they would be disappointed. But really. I must say, that while the book barreled along and it was unbelievable yet entertaining, I was really disappointed by the rush job ending that was tacked in here. I mean really, things had been alluded to and this epic conclusion was building, and it was handled in a few pages. I knew it couldn’t bode well when all the dramatics were in full swing and there were only a few pages left. Oh well. There were plenty little things that I could quickly and easily refer back to other horrors, but like I say, this isn’t a read that needs to be taken too seriously or thought on too much. It feels like a long short story, if you catch my meaning, so not everything is as fleshed out as it could be. Just go with the flow, and you will have a quick filler read.

Completed Book Challenge 2014

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completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

 


 

That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

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the bad place dean koontz cover

A man wakes up in an area he doesn’t know, knowing he is being chased. He cannot remember a thing about himself, but he knows that he needs to get away from wherever he is. Going on the run and checking the items he has with him, he makes the discovery that his name is Frank Pollard. He has way too much cash on hand, and two different passport documents, meaning he is more confused than ever. A supernatural being shooting blue chases him, and Frank is desperate to survive, though he has no idea what is really going on. As if being chased is not bad enough, Frank is having issues sleeping. Every time he does, something is wrong when he wakes up – unknown money has appeared, or worse, he is covered in blood that is surely not his own.

Bobby and Julie Dakota are happily married private investigators with their own firm. Taking on cases and living mostly frugally, the two are working toward The Dream. Julie’s brother Thomas has Down Syndrome, and is living in a home, though he is happy there. Julie resents that Thomas is not with her or Bobby, but their irregular hours will not allow it. Thomas knows that something bad is coming for Julie, but doesn’t know who or what it is. Sending warnings to Bobby that Julie is in danger, Thomas hopes that Julie will be protected. Thomas may have some health drawbacks, but he is smarter than even he realises.

Frank Pollard goes to see Bobby and Julie in a desperate attempt to find out who he is, where he is from, what happens to him at night, as well as who the hell is hunting him and why. Initially Bobby, in his boyish and excitable ways, cannot wait to take the case, even though Julie is reluctant. However, shortly after Frank shares some news, it becomes evident that Julie is very interested in taking the case, though Bobby is sure that something bad is going to happen, and tries to tell Frank to go somewhere else. Julie wins the argument, and they take Frank’s case, because he is a likable guy and they feel sorry for him. Checking him into a hospital, they have an employee watching over him. When Frank magically disappears in the middle of the night, it appears that there is more to the case than meets the eye.

Who is hunting Frank? Why are they so intent on finding him, and what do they want from him? Is Julie in danger? What about this case is so twisted that it have left ripples in their lives? Who is Frank, where does the money come from, and what on Earth is happening to him at night? What abilities does Frank have?

GRADE 7.5Well, that was unexpected. I really, really liked this book. It took me a while to embrace the supernatural and inexplicable side of this novel, which is weird, because I can usually slip into that pretty quickly. Maybe it had to do with the fact that everything started so exceptionally normal (mostly) and then just jumped into that rabbit hole. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. The writing flowed, and there was a large array of characters to like and root for as well. There was some great humour, too, which I enjoyed. Reading about Thomas and how he thought really crushed me, so I thought Koontz did a great job writing about a character with Down Syndrome, it was really sad, but what a beautiful character. The book has a steady and solid pace, and reveals the secrets to you every now and then, nothing too fast, but never drawing the suspense out long enough to frustrate the hell out of you. The explanation for everything that came about was a pretty damn disgusting ordeal, I will not lie to you there. Nasty, nasty! Initially the chapters start off as really short and quick, just a few pages at a time, making for very fast reading, and nearing the end of the book they get a bit longer. It was so interesting chasing down the case with the Dakotas, and Frank’s desperation was almost palpable. You couldn’t help but worry about not knowing much about him, but get drawn in by his bizarre circumstances, and he came across as a really genuine guy, which helped his plight to entrance you even more.