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Odd Girl Out (Quadrail) Mass Market Paperback – November 3, 2009

21 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Quadrail Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mysterious deaths, encounters with oddly named aliens, chases and shootouts form a skeleton of a story that never quite gets fleshed out in Zahn's weak third Frank Compton adventure. Former spy and planet-hopping PI Compton, worn out by the events of 2007's The Third Lynx, gets home to find a woman in his apartment. She needs help rescuing her little sister, Rebekah, from the group mind that Compton just got back from battling. After he turns her down in classic cynical-hero fashion, she's promptly killed. Compton, framed for the crime, acquires a new identity and heads off to find Rebekah with the assistance of ex-Marine ex-bounty hunter Bruce McMicking. The usual sort of mayhem leads to Rebekah's rescue, the discovery of her secret and a classic confrontation/explanation scene with the mastermind, who asks, How did you learn this? Clumsy back-references and a blatant setup for the next book will thoroughly discourage new readers. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Good thriller, full of red herrings, blind alleys, and rising tension.” ―Booklist on The Third Lynx

“An inventive plot...Zahn's strength is hard science fiction, and he excels at technical description. The comic-book-like nonstop action will attract fans of the genre.” ―Romantic Times BOOKReviews on Night Train to Rigel


Product Details

  • Series: Quadrail (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reprint edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765356708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765356703
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Timothy Zahn is the Hugo Award-winning author of more than a dozen original science fiction novels and the bestselling Star Wars trilogy Heir to the Empire, among other works. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Baslim the Beggar on November 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is some truth to the complaints from other reviewers that there is a lot of backstory thrown into this one. To some degree, this is necessary as the nature of the conflict between the Modhri and Compton's employers changes in this story.
Harriet's review says nothing of the Modhri's fear/anger over what it calls "The abomination". That fear leads the Modhri to try to persuade Compton to help the Modhri get rid of the abomination. Of course, Compton is too cagey for that. The Modhri shows increasing cleverness in its use of "walkers" and some interesting new capabilities. It is also good at using the legal process to try to slow Compton down. Fortunately, he has Bayta, and McMicking to help. The latter is especially useful. It also appears that Compton is warming up to Bayta.

A lot of action happens here. It is clear though that this war needs several main actors. Compton inflicts damage, but it takes time to get to different places on the quadrail, giving the Modhri time to create new situations and countermeasures. McMicking helps significantly, but it's still too limited a force.

A good read with lots of twists and turns and new developments.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Garrison on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The first two books of this series were clearly film noir homages. Not only did they follow many of the noir conventions, but for good measure it was established that many of the main characters were fans of classic noir films.

But Odd Girl Out seems to have shifted gears a bit. It starts with another one of the noir tropes, where the pretty girl asks a detective for help, he turns her down, and then she gets murdered. So now he's on the case, needing to redeem his hardheartedness. Plus, she's murdered with his weapon, so that makes him the prime suspect.

But somewhere along the line, the background story of the Modhri and the Spiders starts taking over the tale. By the end of the book, much of the noir feeling is gone, or at least subsumed. Instead, we are set up to expect that the next book will be more of a straightforward battle. Noir is all about atmosphere and style and misdirection, but now it seems this may be replaced with something more direct. The detente between the Modhri and his foes (including Compton and Bayta) appears to be over.

In a sense, that's too bad. I was enjoying Zahn's flirtation with the noir conventions. But it couldn't have gone on forever, for the same reason noir films generally didn't have sequels. You can only carry a noir story just so far -- after that the suspension of disbelief snaps.

I felt that Odd Girl Out started to lose its way as the story progressed. Zahn started caring more about the greater war than about the little skirmish that Compton once more found himself fighting. And the book suffered a bit because of this. Neither fish nor foul, it ended up feeling more like a transition than anything else. Perhaps you could call it "middle of the trilogy" syndrome. It's not as fresh as the earlier books, but it still doesn't conclude anything.

I think I'd like to read more books about Compton and Bayta. The problem is, however, that I'm getting tired of the Modhri.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bryan on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gad ! What an awful book. I am a fan of Timothy Zahn, and I stuck with it, but after 80% into the book, I still did not give a damn about the characters or the outcome.
I found myself flipping pages ahead, just to see if he would commit the ultimate sin of leaving you hanging, with the `answer' in the next book.
To his credit he did not, but the whole story was so plastic (hero resuces resucee without knowing why, except that the bad guy wants her), plastic characters (the hero's `right hand girl' was so paper thin a character, take her out of the story entirely and in my opinion an improvement, the second character cohort, although more interesting, appears a number of times, showing up to help rescue the hero, and then after the scene is ended, disappers from the story (until the next time), plastic villians (one person, taking over the known universe via coral, yes coral, implanted in innocent aliens and humans, in order to take control of them as needed to control their actions, without their ever knowing), plastic universe (aliens including, spiders who run trains, yes trains, to different planets, the only way for interplaentary travel, horse headed aliens, and stinky, from what I gather `chickens'!), and a plastic boring ending (I will not give away the ending, but suffice to say the hero resuces the poor resucee so that the bad guy, may, or may not, find her again).
It was like a short story outline, the hero is..., the cohorts are..., the rescuee is..., the bad guy is...., the universe is..., and the book was given to some student to write... badly.
Sorry, I like Zahn, but the `universe' and premise, was beyond weird, I just could not get into it. The characters were thin plastic, and read like a big awful chase scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Lee on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While not Zahn's best work in my opinion, it's a great follow-up to the series that started out with such a bang. Zahn knows how to hook and entertain, and Odd Girl Out is no exception. I recommend this read to anyone with a fancy for fiction, sci-fi or not!
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been a fan of Timothy Zahn's writing when I was first exposed to his Star Wars novels. I did read The Third Lynx and gave it mixed reviews based on the extended descriptions and excursions on the Quadrail making it seem reminiscent of an old western involving a who-dunnit on the Orient Express. I can't speak for other Sci-Fi fans, but a story that takes place on what seems like a futuristic version of the Orient Express is not my idea of great science fiction. Back to The Odd Girl Out, Zahn improved on this with limited forays into the Quadrails although he does utilize their design as a plot device. Compton learns something new about the Chahwyn towards the rather anti-climatic end, leaving the series wide open for another book. This was an extremely quick read since I was able to finish it in less than a days worth of reading and the biggest gripe I have is with the rather boring end. Perhaps I had to read the story prior to The Third Lynx, but I didn't really feel the same emotion Compton felt about the Chahwyn's new plans. It also seemed like Compton was some omniscient super spy that is able to defeat Halkas (which I pictured to be brutish bulldogs) using pipes and parts taken off a Harley Davidson motorcycle (yes, there was one being shipped on the Quadrail) when he didn't have access to his HK or Glock pistols loaded with "snoozers" (tranq darts?) or thudwumpers (ballistic ammo). Overall, Zahn's writing is excellent as always and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book!
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