By Dean Koontz (Bantam, 355 pages, $28)
Koontz brings back one of his favorite characters: Odd Thomas, the mild-mannered fry cook who has the ability to communicate with the dead. But like many of us these days, this time Thomas finds he has to do a lot more in less time. His tasks? An apparition on a black stallion appears and calls on him to save her son, who is imprisoned at the estate where Thomas and a friend are guests. Standing in his way is a horde of pig-like, smelly creatures who don't talk much but want to destroy everything in their path. And that's the easy part. He's also up against the billionaire owner of the estate who may be a rapist/murderer, has several dastardly cohorts working with him, and who has access to a machine that allows him to go back and forth in time. And one more thing -- the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock wants a meeting! Thomas goes from one dangerous, harrowing situation to the next with barely time to catch his breath and with little help. But the tough little fry cook finds a way to soldier on.
MILFORD REID, SPORTS DESIGNER
HERE I GO AGAIN
By Jen Lancaster (New American Library, 307 pages, $25.95)
Let's be honest: Who among us wouldn't like to go back and undo some things we did in high school? That's exactly what happens to Lissy Ryder as her 20th reunion approaches. Lissy, the most popular girl in her class, has hit some hard times: Her marriage is on the rocks, she's lost her job, her friendship with her bestie is strained. She gets to turn back the clock to senior year and adjust her karma. We all knew girls like Lissy -- head cheerleader, leader of a band of wannabes, judgmental and openly cruel to those she deems unworthy. In fact, she is so insufferable, you will be tempted to put the book aside after the first few pages; who cares what happens to such a despicable ... er ... witch? Stick with it, and you'll be rewarded with an entertaining diversion. Great literature this isn't, but it's a pleasant read just the same.
JUDY ROMANOWICH SMITH, NEWS DESIGNER