REVIEW: In Odd We Trust by Koontz and Chan

Thursday, December 11, 2008 1:00
Posted in category Review

Book CoverGwen’s review of In Odd We Trust (Odd Thomas Series) by Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan, illustrated by Queenie Chan
Paranormal fiction graphic novel released by Del Rey 24 Jun 08

I have a deep and abiding love of graphic novels, manga, and anime.  It stems mostly from my almost slavish appreciation for good art.  These “new” images (what I believe stem originally from ukiyo’e) can be mind-bogglingly beautiful images.  When the drawing is done well, a good story is a bonus to me – I’m just there to soak up the images.  What I’m saying is I don’t need much plot to enjoy a good comic strip or cartoon if the art is good.  With this first Odd Thomas graphic novel, I can see aspirations, but I’m not sure if the delivery is there.  Read on to see what worked, or not…

I have never read any of Koontz’s Odd Thomas books.  The premise is interesting – he’s something of a male “Ghost Whisperer” with an edge and a spatula.  I can’t decide whether the Odd books are YA, though; based on this graphic novel, it feels like one.  The plot is a little simplistic – girl in trouble with a stalker, Odd saves her and puts the guy in jail.

However, the delivery of this thin plot is left even more anemic with the art.  In a manga/g-novel, quite a lot of emotion can be conveyed in a character’s facial expressions, but Chang’s characters seemed oddly wooden.  Their expressions seem to sway between amusement and a weird stunned expression.  That’s about it.  It’s a shame there wasn’t more variety.  And I could have wished more time had been spent on the backgrounds. It would have been nice to see the houses and environs of Pico Mundo a bit more stylistically rendered – it was all so up and down with no interest.

It also felt like large parts of the story were edited out of the g-novel for purposes of space or pacing.   Something else that left it a bit on the weak side.

So, in all, I can’t say I recommend this graphic novel to fans of the series. I think you’ll be disappointed unless you’re a diehard fan and just want to buy everything you can that’s Odd Thomas or Dean Koontz related.

faye.jpgGrade: D

Summary:

“Meet a young man named Odd . . . who helps the dead get even.”

From the infinite imagination of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz comes the suspenseful graphic-novel debut of a natural-born hero with a supernatural twist.

Odd Thomas is a regular nineteen-year-old with an unusual gift: the ability to see the lingering spirits of the dead. To Odd, it’s not such a big deal. And most folks in sleepy Pico Mundo, California, are much more interested in the irresistible pancakes Odd whips up at the local diner. Still, communing with the dead can be useful. Because while some spirits only want a little company . . . others want justice.

When the sad specter of a very frightened boy finds its way to him, Odd vows to root out the evil suddenly infecting the sunny streets of Pico Mundo. But even with his exceptional ability-plus the local police and his pistol-packing girlfriend, Stormy, backing him-is Odd any match for a faceless stalker who’s always a step ahead . . . and determined to kill again?

Read an excerpt (scroll down to the thumbnails).

Other books in the series (mass market release dates where available):

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

P.S. Yes, my avatar is a graphic of a portion of Faye Valentine‘s face – some of her hair, her right eye, and right eyebrow.  I realize it looks a little like a Rorschach.

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