From Publishers Weekly
Besides having an unusual moniker, 21-year-old Odd Thomas (whom readers first met in Koontz's 2003 novel of the same name) has some very unusual powers, chief among them his ability to see the dead. He can see, feel and talk to them, too (though they don't talk back: "Perhaps they know things about death that the living are not permitted to learn from them"). These days Odd is still hosting the ghost of a morose Elvis Presley, still grieving for his dead girlfriend, Stormy, and still worrying about his very fat friend P. Oswald Boone, whose cat, Terrible Chester, likes to pee on his shoes. Late one night, Odd is summoned by the ghost of Dr. Wilbur Jessup to the Jessup home, the site of a gruesome murder. Dr. Jessup is the father of Odd's best friend, Danny, who is afflicted with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bones. Odd finds Dr. Jessup's body, but Danny is missing. Since Odd has what he describes as "psychic magnetism," he can follow an invisible mental trail, which in this case leads him to his endangered friend. After he finds Danny in a spooky, burned-out Indian casino, it is Odd who becomes the quarry. The beautiful and stunningly evil Datura, aided by two frightening minions, wants to use Odd for his supernatural abilities—and then kill him. Odd's strange gifts, coupled with his intelligence and self-effacing humor, make him one of the most quietly authoritative characters in recent popular fiction. (Nov. 29)
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Grieving the loss of his fiancee, killed during the climax of his eponymous debut despite anything he and his supernatural intuition could do, Odd Thomas returns in a more suspenseful but less piquant adventure. Only a year older (21), he feels almost ancient and more rueful than ever about his gift for seeing ghosts, Dr. Wilbur Jessup's in particular. The loving stepfather of Odd's brittle-boned friend Danny was alive yesterday, so Odd investigates, as the "psychic magnetism" that attends his ghost-seeing compels him to, and finds the physician brutally murdered and Danny missing. Odd tracks Danny and his abductors to an abandoned casino-hotel, closed by an earthquake that killed dozens five years ago. It's a trap. Danny is bait to draw Odd to Datura, a spookily self-absorbed, wealthy porn entrepreneur and New Age nut, who, obsessed with violent death, wants Odd to make ghosts visible to her. He can't, but there are eight ghosts in the casino, one of whom comes in handy when Odd escapes Datura and her two gorillas, rescues and hides Danny, and engages in the protracted, lethal game of cat-and-mouse that makes the novel good-to-the-last-page enthralling. Quite apart from Odd's moroseness (understandable given his circumstances and endearing youthfulness), the tale's stranglehold suspense allows for less of the offbeat humor that lightened Odd Thomas
(2003). Datura is a creation that allows Koontz some sledgehammer polemicizing against alternative religion and spirituality, which additionally darkens things. Not to complain, though. This is only slightly less than top-drawer Koontz. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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