Entertaining. Koontz's fans will gobble this one up.

ODD APOCALYPSE

Koontz (Odd Hours, 2008, etc.) drops Odd Thomas, likable fry cook and spirit-sensing savant, into Roseland, a castle near Montecito, Calif., a place “one hundred stops beyond Oz on the Tornado Line Express.”

Roseland was built by Constantine Cloyce, newspaper and film mogul. Think Hearst and La Cuesta Encantada. The estate is now owned by hedge-fund rich Noah Wolflaw. Wolflaw has invited Odd to take refuge, but only because the odd one is accompanied by a soul as prescient as he, Annamaria, a young, pregnant woman Odd met, who tells him soon the hours will “test your will and break your heart.” That, Odd knows, for he’s met a spirit on the estate reluctant to move to the Other Side, a murdered woman riding a giant Friesian stallion. From her, Odd learns that her son is in danger at Roseland. Odd explores the estate, encountering obscure security guards, a scarred and combative ruffian named Kenneth Randolph Fitzgerald Mountbatten, and “red-eyed demonic mutant somethings” intent on mayhem. The Koontz cadre will be familiar with the motif, and new readers might be charmed by the Odd, first-person narration, sarcastically humorous, yet gentle and whimsical. Odd explorations reveal the giant mansion and extensive grounds have only two women and one gardener on staff, and yet it remains dustless and immaculately groomed. Annamaria rests in the “guest tower,” offering Delphic pronouncements. Ever-imperiled by the mutant monsters with “large flat heads…blunt fleshy snouts…sharp tusks…and bodies recast in rough primate molds,” Odd does the dirty work, discovering 34 bodies of young women in a subbasement filled with steampunk contraptions designed by Nikola Tesla. Add Aleister Crowley, bondage games, combat shotguns, Beretta pistols, the membrane of time and the Hong Kong wealthy Chiang Pi-Yu, and it’s no wonder that Tesla’s ghost demands Odd pull the Master Switch.

Entertaining. Koontz's fans will gobble this one up.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-553-80774-5

Page Count: 370

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2012

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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KILLING FLOOR

From the Jack Reacher series , Vol. 1

Welcome to Margrave, Georgia—but don't get too attached to the townsfolk, who are either in on a giant conspiracy, or hurtling toward violent deaths, or both. There's not much of a welcome for Jack Reacher, a casualty of the Army's peace dividend, who's drifted into town idly looking for traces of a long-dead black jazzman. Not only do the local cops arrest him for murder, but the chief of police turns eyewitness to place him on the scene, even though Reacher was getting on a bus in Tampa at the time. Two surprises follow: The murdered man wasn't the only victim, and he was Reacher's brother Joe, whom he hadn't seen in seven years. So Reacher, who so far hasn't had anything personally against the crooks who set him up for a weekend in the state pen at Warburton, clicks into overdrive. Banking on the help of the only two people in Margrave he can trust—a Harvard-educated chief of detectives who hasn't been on the job long enough to be on the take, and a smart, scrappy officer who's taken him to her bed—he sets out methodically in his brother's footsteps, trying to figure out why his cellmate in Warburton, a panicky banker whose cell-phone number turned up in Joe's shoe, confessed to a murder he obviously didn't commit; trying to figure out why all the out-of- towners on Joe's list of recent contacts were as dead as he was; and trying to stop the local carnage, or at least direct it in more positive ways. Though the testosterone flows as freely as printer's ink, Reacher is an unobtrusively sharp detective in his quieter moments—not that there are many of them to judge by. Despite the crude, tough-naif narration, debut novelist Child serves up a big, rangy plot, menace as palpable as a ticking bomb, and enough battered corpses to make an undertaker grin.

Pub Date: March 17, 1997

ISBN: 0-399-14253-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1997

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