Odd Girl Out is the first of Zahn’s “Quadrail” novels to disappoint me a bit. The first two, Night Train to Rigel and The Third Lynx, paired the unusual setting (railways between the stars) with nods to classic noir detective fiction. Both had one major plot “twist” I saw coming from miles away, but The Third Lynx had another that blindsided me. The novels have also nudged a slowing-brewing romance between two of the recurring characters along a bit.
Odd Girl Out drops the detective elements almost completely in favor of action-adventure, which is less to my personal taste. Even more unfortunately, it more-or-less reprises a set piece from an earlier books (there’s even some dialogue along the lines of “remember the last time we had to fight in a baggage car?”). Once again, I saw the big reveal coming way before agent Frank Compton figured it out. Rather bafflingly, the stage was clearly set for another twist, but the penny was never dropped. And although Odd Girl Out certainly advances the overall plot arc, the characters are more static than in the previous novels.
I still enjoyed it, and I will get around to reading the recently-published fourth volume sometime. But I worry that the schtick may get exhausted — or my patience with it, anyway — before the story is concluded.
needs more demons? maybe.