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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review Day: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

One of my best friends and critique group buddies game me an old ARC of this one. She wanted me to read it because I was writing The Botanist at the time (slated for release 2014) and I've never read Dean Koontz and she thought I'd enjoy it. After that, it sat on my shelf for about a year, but I finally got around to reading it.

And I'm so glad I did! I totally loved it! The narrations was so great! The character of Odd Thomas (that is actually his name) is totally neurotic and eccentric, but also a good enough guy that you totally root for him.

We learn on something like page 2 that he sees dead people--in a very Haley Joel Osment sort of way. They are all people who've died locally and ask for his help in bringing them justice. The funny thing about Odd is that, even though he does it, it all feels very run-of-the-mill. All in a days work. Then he goes to his day job as a short order cook at the local grille.

He also sees dark spirits which he calls bodachs. They have no substance and no one else can see or feel them (except perhaps animals) but they gather at scenes of violence, so when Odd sees them, he knows violence is not far behind. 

Then one day he sees dozens--perhaps hundreds--of them gathering in his neighborhood. They seem to be centering around a particular man who may or may not have a serial killer obsession, and Odd is having dreams about a gruesome massacre in a bowling alley. Basically, Odd is trying to prevent the pending tragedy in order to save literally dozens of his neighbors. But when the man the bodachs are centering around turns up dead himself, Odd realizes there's another player that's not on his radar, and things are about to get bloody.

Odd Thomas is narrated by the man himself in the first person. And he's hilarious! He does talk to the audience every so often, but it's done so smoothly that it doesn't pull you out of the story at all. Quite the opposite. He's one of those guys that has constantly has funny commentary about things happening around him and hysterical comparisons, but they're all expressed almost as afterthoughts, which makes them even funnier and Odd seem even odder (but endearingly so).

He says things like this:

"Although I didn't find anyone lying in wait, I flushed a frightened rabbit from a lush bed of liriope, and when it shot past me, I achieved a personal best in the vertical-jump-and-gasp event." (pg. 216)

And this:

"I made faces at them through the triple-insulated view window between the third-floor hall and their electronic aerie. After conveying by hand gestures that I should copulate with myself, they gave me the okay sign, and I continued along the hall to the door to the broadcast booth." (pg. 280)

See what I mean? This is funny stuff. :D

The only real complaint I have was the ending. Without giving spoilers, I'll just say that something terribly sad happened that I didn't want to have happen. The way Koontz writes it, though, it was totally a surprise and I totally had an emotional reaction to it, so I suppose you could say he did his job. I just felt like throwing the book against the wall. I'm sure you all know the feeling?

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more of Koontz's work.

Has anyone else read Odd Thomas? Or any Dean Koontz in general?


  1. Every now and again I'll pick up a bestselling book to read, just to see what makes the author so dang popular. I did this with a Koontz book once. His books are totally outside my genre preferences and I was fully prepared to not like the book. I was wrong. I couldn't put it down. After, even though I'd still say it's not my favorite genre, I understood completely what makes him so well-liked.

  2. He is an amazing writer. That line "should copulate with myself" had me laughing Liesel.