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

3.7 out of 5 stars 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.

Review

“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

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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
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Book three of the Quadrail series. Frank and Bayta are once again at odds with their mysterious hive-mind enemy, the Modhri. I really like the beginning of this one, it starts out in classic Noir style with a tired detective who doesn’t even want to take the case until he’s framed and must clear his own name. This series feels like a classic Bogart movie, if he had made science-fiction films aboard space-trains with hybrid aliens and shape-shifting companions against sentient coral which is spreading like a virus trying to infect earth. It’s a cool compilation of ideas that I haven’t come across before and each book brings further complications and revelations, getting better as they go.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and was excited to start on the third. Unfortunately I'm getting tired of it and I'm only about 2/3 of the way through. The predictable shinanagans of the enemy Modhri are becoming a drag. And my suspension of disbelief is waning after yet another unbelievable "deal" with the Modhri. You'd think he'd learn by now and just kill the protagonist and get it over with. It's just not worth keeping him alive no matter what potential information the Modhri could glean. You'd think after the body count that follows our protagonists around that someone would be asking more questions!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Timothy Zahn has written some great books - but this isn't one of them. I found it very difficult to engage with the story. The story begins with a girl showing up in our hero's room and she points his own gun at him and then asks for help. He says no and throws her out. She gets killed almost immediately afterward. A real Throw-Away character.

His cold hearted actions are not really consistent with our hero's previous behavior and his whole performance is so frozen as to make you want to yawn as you turn the pages. I kept turning the pages to see when the action would get going. The story still revolves about the mind eating coral that wants to conquer the universe but this time it's almost boring. The first couple of stories in this series crackle with energy and suspense but in this one the pace is so slow and the plot makes no sense and you end up wondering - what was he drinking when he wrote this. It's not awful, just bland. The next book in the series (the Domino Pattern) is considerably better and you can skip this one in my opinion and not miss much.
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