Review: “Odd Thomas,” Dean Koontz

Pros: Earnest, whimsical, delightful
Cons:
Rating: 5 out of 5

 

When I read review books they’re less consistently good than ones I’ve picked out and bought myself, because I didn’t pick them out to match my tastes. So before surgery I picked up 20+ books by various authors I already like and in series I want to complete. Why 20+? Well, I’m four days in including the actual day of surgery, and I’m already through four books.

For now my laptop is on the dining room table instead of in the living room, because it’s a hefty laptop and at the top edge of the amount of weight I’m allowed to lift right now (oops). Not the most ergonomic setup, so my reviews will be more sporadic than the rate at which I’m reading. I’m taking plenty of notes, though, and here’s the first of those reviews.

 

Odd Thomas is a young fry cook who sees dead people.

Sometimes the silent souls who seek out Odd want justice. Occasionally their otherworldly tips help him prevent a crime. But this time it’s different. A stranger comes to Pico Mundo, accompanied by a horde of hyena-like shades who herald an imminent catastrophe. Aided by his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn, and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Odd will race against time to thwart the gathering evil. His account of these shattering hours, in which past and present, fate and destiny, converge, is a testament by which to live–an unforgettable fable for our time.

 

I happened to see the “Odd Thomas” movie recently, and it was so strikingly unique that I had to read the books next. Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas (from The Odd Thomas Series 6-Book Bundle) is whimsical, endearingly earnest, and yet quite dark. The first-person narrative voice is lovely, gorgeously communicating the one-of-a-kind personalities that inhabit Pico Mundo. The book is also incredibly quotable–my poor husband had to put up with me reading him all sorts of hilarious, bizarre, unusual quotes from the text.

The plot is fascinating and includes a number of wild twists and turns. The movie holds surprisingly well to most of the events of the book; mostly it’s missing extra characters and character background (which are well worth exploring). I even cried at one point.

One plot trope I’m not overly fond of these days is the one where a character ‘earns’ a girlfriend–as though she’s some sort of object/prize to be won. Therefore I just love that Odd starts out dating his soulmate, Stormy. They have a fantastic relationship with a great deal of strength from both of them. He’s an awkward, oddball character and yet he starts off with the girl. Yay!

The paranormal milieu of the Odd Thomas books is unique and unusual. Odd Thomas sees dead people but he can’t hear them; he helps them move on to the next world. He can hold a person in his mind and start wandering, and he’ll find them via his ‘psychic magnetism’. He also sometimes sees bodachs, creepy bogeymen who presage disaster. The number of bodachs showing up in little Pico Mundo means he has only a little time in which to avert a lot of deaths, and he is just a fry cook, after all. Luckily he’s helped the police chief before, meaning that the chief trusts him and his abilities–but the rest of the police department finds his involvement in so many crimes to be just a tad suspicious. It’s going to take all of Odd’s intuition and resourcefulness to track down the bad guys, figure out what their plans are, and save the town!

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