I stayed up too late last night reading Dean Koontz's Forever Odd. It isn't that the book is that compelling. It's good and I'm enjoying it, but not in the way that I've stayed up later reading other books. What it is, is different.
After almost 40 years of fiction reading, I think I've become somewhat jaded, particularly in my genre reading. Hard to get excited about just another mystery or just another fantasy. Seems like I've seen it all before, and while certain authors can still write with enough panache to hold my attention, the list gets smaller every year.
But I have noticed that the books that I have enjoyed most in the last couple of years have had one thing in common and that's that they have nothing in common. I am looking for something different it seems. Doesn't even have to be new. Just different. Take Jack Vance's Dying Earth, first published in 1950. Never read a fantasy like it. Or the first of James Patterson's Maximum Ride books. An original point of view in a different kind of story.
The Odd Thomas books don't fit into the rest of Dean Koontz's output. I mentioned in a previous post that all of his earlier books had begun to feel the same to me. The plots, characters, and situations had a certain sameness after a while. Odd Thomas, with his disarmingly genuine narration and his faith in his friends and in life in general makes for a very different kind of protagonist. And of course his ability to see the dead, though not to actually speak with them, makes for some interesting developments.
Of course there are four Odd books out now, with a projected seven according to a recent interview with Koontz. I have to wonder how many of them I'll read before they too begin to seem too similar. I will say this. So far, about two thirds of the way through Forever Odd, the plot of this one is absolutely nothing like the plot of Odd Thomas, the first book in the series. If Koontz can keep that up, maybe I'll make it through all seven books without them becoming tired and too familiar. Guess we'll see.