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Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz Book Review | SFReader.com
Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz Genre: Dark Fantasy Publisher: Bantam Published: 2003 Review Posted: 6/19/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz
Book Review by Jeff Edwards
Have you read this book?
Peculiar things happen to Odd Thomas. But then, peculiar things often happen to people who can see the dead. Sometimes, the ghost of Elvis Presley visits Odd and listens to music; other days, spirits like young Penny Kallisto convince Odd to catch their killers. When a stranger arrives in town, surrounded by dozens of evil shadows, Odd senses a massive tragedy brewing in Pico Mundo - unless he can find a way to prevent it in time.
In Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz delivers a tale of modern evil tinged with Satanism - part thriller, part dark fantasy. Other than the pairing of machine guns and mediums, plastic explosives and premonitions, there's little in the book that is original. Koontz admits as much when he opens a chapter with that famous line from "The Sixth Sense": "I see dead people." The other problem is that Koontz seems unwilling to fade into the background as he tells his story. Any sense of pacing - especially in the action scenes - is ruined by sentences like, "[T]hough his bared teeth included no hooked or dramatically elongated canines, the rage of a rabid jackal gleamed in his silent snarl." Granted, Odd Thomas purports to be a memoir written by its title character, but this is not the first Koontz novel to suffer from awkward prose.
The story ultimately succeeds because Koontz populates Pico Mundo with a cast of colorful - and likeable - characters. Compared to some of the town's other inhabitants (like "Little Ozzie," a four-hundred-pound man with six fingers on his left hand, or Rosalia Sanchez, a landlady who needs confirmation each morning that she hasn't turned invisible), "Odd" Thomas is one of the more normal residents. His eccentricities ("no car, no life insurance, no more clothes than I absolutely need...no grand ambitions") are actually survival tactics - practical ways of dealing with his strange gift. Odd fills his apartment with second-hand furniture because poltergeists have been known to destroy his belongings; he holds down the uncomplicated job of short-order cook because in other areas of his life, he never knows what each new day will bring.
Despite its faults, Odd Thomas is a compelling novel of good versus evil. After racing through the book to its conclusion, readers will likely find themselves hoping for a return visit to Pico Mundo.
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Iím sorry Dean but this one literally bored me to death! Too much detail in too many subjects will put a reader to sleep! Now I am a huge Dean Koontz fan and Iíve read lotís of his stuff. Some good, some bad. This one just didnít make the grade. Still, in my humble opinion ďWatchersĒ is my favorite book of all time.
Posted by Jeff Edwards on 2/1/2007
Something about the character really resonates with people. Now there's a third book in the series, "Brother Odd"!
Posted by Tim on 12/27/2006
I have been reading Koontz for years and thought at first that this plot was unoriginal. However, after reading further, this may be the MOST original story in a fairly unoriginal genre.
Posted by Jeff Edwards on 5/16/2006
Thanks for your comments, Mary! It's true, the characters make this book work. Have you read the sequel, "Forever Odd"?
Posted by Mary on 3/31/2006
Hey, this was my first Dean Koontz book and definitly my favourite.I didn't care that it was unoriginal, because it's very difficult to make a horror story today without using elements that have already been done.I absolutly fell in love with the characters and especially Stormy and Odd's relationship!It did have parts in it that chilled me and kept me from putting it down. Honestly I liked this book a lot better than "The Sixth Sense".
Posted by Jeff Edwards on 6/24/2005
Thanks, Pete. I am not a Dean Koontz fan, but I try to read his books with an open mind. This one was a page-turner, although not incredibly original.
Posted by Pete on 6/19/2005
Read this recently on the plane -- from the gift shop bargain bin. I had given up on Koontz years ago because "Lightning" was so bad, but this one was a pretty good read, and actually stayed with me. Good review!