Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book review: 'Odd Thomas' by Dean Koontz

Synopsis from Amazon: “The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Meet Odd Thomas, the unassuming young hero of Dean Koontz’s dazzling New York Times bestseller, a gallant sentinel at the crossroads of life and death who offers up his heart in these pages and will forever capture yours. 
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 destined to rank among Dean Koontz’s most enduring works.

Koontz is by far one of my favorite authors. I read his writing like a sugar fiend devours hot, chewy chocolate chip cookies. I've had this book on my shelf for ages, but I kept putting off starting the series because I had a feeling nothing else would exist in life thereafter. Now, here I am, hungry for more and indulging full speed ahead.


What I loved the most
Despite what I thought was a slow beginning, the story picked up quickly and I forgot all about that. I loved Odd from the start. The way Koontz describes him and gradually builds up his character before the readers' eyes was perfect. There was an onslaught of TMI, you had to keep reading to get more, learn more about Odd and his gift. 

His love for Stormy is overwhelming but in a good way, the way that causes the desire for more. Their funny and touching interactions were loaded with wit and sincerity. It made me appreciate my own such connection because I viewed it was realistic. She was a feisty, smart, loving, and morally driven character who had a immense influence on Odd. 

His relationship with Chief Porter, Mrs. Porter, Little Ozzie, and Terri Stambaugh, were represented so vividly as strong and meaningful. I loved the way he had Chief Porter in his back pocket. Odd could follow up ghost leads that took him straight into crime scenes and dangerous places in which he shouldn't be, and one phone call to the chief would erase his steps and take his involvement out of the picture, off the records. Forgot ghostwriter, he was a ghost investigator (pun intended) on many levels. Mrs. Porter treated him like he was her own, so nurturing. Terri, the same. I found myself admiring the bond between fictional people, wishing I had friends like that who'd stick their necks out for me, never let me down, let me borrow their cars, give me cookies, and who'd hold my secrets so dear. 

When Odd described seeing Elvis in so many states of mind, like constantly crying, it made me laugh, and I actually pictured it happening. The guy ghost at the tire shop with the severed limb was gory, but Koontz managed to sprinkle humor on this gruesome specter. Little Ozzie was enjoyable at every mention. The eccentric personality of this fictional celeb was well done. When he was mentioned at the start, I first thought I wouldn't like this character, assuming he was some kind of thug. Oh, was I wrong!

Scenes that moved me
When I realized a certain potential villain Odd was after was actually a ghost, that screamed awesome writing. I didn't see that coming. Chief Porter's unfortunate hospitalization, ouch. What a blow to Odd. The coyote incident had me very worried, and I assumed Odd would come out of that with some severe injuries. His way out wasn't what I had expected. And lastly, what happened to Stormy literally broke my heart. 

I went to bed thinking about all of this, like it was a real-life news story I had just read or watched. When a book does that to me, I know it's worthy of every skipped heartbeat. A masterpiece by Koontz, and I regret that it took me this long to dive in. 

Now, on to Forever Odd. 

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