Odd Thomas is the first in a series of now 5 novels, two comics books, a 3 part novella and an upcoming film that details the adventures of the eponymous character.  I read Odd Thomas when it was first published in 2003 and it quickly became one of my favorite novels of Koontz cannon.  Now that a novella in three parts are being published weekly preempting the publication of the 5th novel of the series I decided to reread the series.

Odd, that is his real name, sees dead people; but he does something about it.  This sentence, when I first read it in 2003 bummed me out.  I sat there thinking has my man Dean completely jumped his own shark?  I mean The Sixth Sense had only come out 3 or so years earlier with the first part of that phrase as it’s calling card and pitch.  After reading the book and now reaffirmed with the thought that Dean, like so many other artists saw an idea and said “I can do better with that premise” (again this is a thought, this idea could have been rummaging  in Dean’s mind long before M. Night’s movie became a hit, or he could have just heard the catchphrase and ran with it never having seen the film, I doubt this but what are you gonna do).

Odd is a twenty year old short order cook in a small Cali town.  Only a handful of people know of Odd’s talent of seeing the dead; the town Police Chief and his girlfriend Stormy included.  Among seeing the dead, Odd also see ‘bodachs’, creepy inky shadow like creatures that portend horror and strife on gran scales.  When Odd sees in an inordinate amount of these death-dealing creatures following a creepy man he dubs “fungus man” Odd knows something bad is going to happen, and soon.

With the wonderful characters one can expect with Koontz, the reader is brought alongside Odd (as it’s told in 1st person narrative) throughout his latest adventure (his past is wrought with terror filled experiences).   The tale is told with a light-hearted tone, as Odd is told to keep his narrative light by his friend ‘Little Ozzie” a massive man with six fingers who writes copious volumes of a best-selling series starring a detective who suffers from bulimia .  The tale does get dark and the intensity ratchets up as August 15th (the day whatever is coming is supposed to happen) approaches.

Odd is such a wonderful character, from the first pages you fall in love with him.  When you read the last chapter, you will decide to follow Odd to the ends of the Earth.  Koontz writes Odd with a love that very few authors can truly infuse into strange characters.  Odd is a truly novel character in such that he is almost Pooh bear like; he wants a simple existence and sees the joy in the littlest of things, he brings joy not only to the company he shares in the novel but to the reader.  He doesn’t want to be a hero, but he feels that it’s not a choice.  He just wants to fry (or go into the tire life) and be with his love Stormy (they have matching birthmarks; which just shows that they are destined to be together).

There is definitely the good ole’ Koontz here; the all good vs. the all bad, the quirkiness, the banter and wit.  What is missing is the preaching and the grand standing that I’ve found in later novels.  Here Koontz has yet to fill his books with an anti-science message (it’s there in a few sentences but it’s not soap boxy).  Odd Thomas seems to be, to me anyway, good ole Koontz storytelling, at its honest to goodness fun .. funnest??

I recommend Odd Thomas highly.  I do remember not being as excited with the following novels, but with this rereading maybe I’ll be surprised, who knows?

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