Adult, Fiction, Paranormal

Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas book cover
Image from Copies Without an Original

Title: Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas #1)

Author: Dean Koontz

Genre: Paranormal

The dead don’t talk, but they do try to communicate – with a short-order cook in a small desert town as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, but Odd tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and his otherworldly tips to the sympathetic police chief can solve a crime. Occasionally, they prevent one. But this time is different. A pale man comes to town with a voracious appetite, files on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him. In less than 24 hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd struggles to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of an unlikely bunch of allies that include his soul mate and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of nightmares – and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

I first read this book years ago, and I loved it. More accurately, I loved Odd. I loved his sense of humor, his refusal to be pessimistic, his genuine caring for people. And I connected with him, too, because I felt we had a similar darkness inside.

I loved Odd so much that I bought the entire series (well, the first four books, which were the only ones out when I discovered it). And recently, I saw them on my shelves and decided to reread.

I still loved Odd. I loved hm, I loved his attitude, his sarcasm and his optimism and his fear and his brutal honesty. And I connected with him still because we’ve both walked through a similar darkness. But the connection wasn’t as strong as before – I’ve found my way out and started on the road to healing, but Odd is still going through it. He goes through it again every time I open the book.

The book is dark. Odd can see the lingering dead, and they call him to confront the worst forms of human depravity. There is pain, there is death. But there are also moments of happiness. Moments when despite threats and danger, all is right with the world. Moments where the little things mean so much. It’s the beautiful moments that make the hard ones bearable.

This review is a little different, relying more on characters and impressions. But I really think the book is about Odd, not whatever plot is being cooked up. The danger is there, the pieces must be put together and the cataclysm must be stopped. But what’s really important is Odd himself – what he does, how he reacts.

I don’t think I’m going to reread the rest of the series. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Odd Thomas the second time around – but I’ve changed since I first loved this series, and the connection isn’t as strong as it used to be. I think I’ll let the rest of the series keep its magic intact.

The Odd Thomas series:

  1. Odd Thomas
  2. Forever Odd
  3. Brother Odd
  4. Odd Hours
  5. Odd Apocalypse
  6. Deeply Odd
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