Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan

This kind of manga is much more to my taste than One Piece; it is complete in a single volume and the artwork is easy to decode. An additional bonus is the complexity of plot and characterization. (To be fair, maybe I would have got these from One Piece too, if I had started with volume 1 and then stuck with the series, instead of starting at vol. 19. But I doubt it.)

In Odd We Trust is my first-ever Dean Koontz. Why have I stayed away so long? Mostly because the horror genre is even less appealing to me than romance. What a nice surprise to discover Odd Thomas. He's a fry cook with a strong moral compass and a kind soul. He's also the only one in town who sees dead people. Koontz has written four other novels about him but this is the first in graphic novel format. It was created in collaboration with mangaka Queenie Chan from Australia.

A seven-year-old boy is murdered and his killer appears to have other child targets... or is it the nanny who is a risk? Odd Thomas tracks the culprit with help from the spirits and his feisty girlfriend, Stormy -- and the police, of course.

There is very little blood (in b&w) or violence depicted and the bad guy gets his comeuppance. Edmonton Public Library has catalogued this in adult fiction (with the rest of Dean Koontz) but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to readers in Grade 7 and up who are looking for suspense.

Extra material at the back includes a sample chapter from Odd Thomas. Here is an example of his lyrical language: "Like a pair of looms, using sunshine and their own silhouettes, two enormous California live oaks wove veils of gold and purple, which they flung across the doorway." Writing like that sucks me right in. I plan to read the rest of Odd Thomas and I hope that it won't be too scary.

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