Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz [2003]

"There's nothing worse than being alone on the evening of the day when one's [statue of a] cow has exploded"
-Ozzie Boone, Chapter Fifteen

Ever read a book that you just kind of 'fall' in love with? The kind of book that even after you're done, you carry it around, read your favorite parts, and talk about it unceasingly- so much that your friends roll their eyes and plug their ears at the mere mention of _____ by _____ _______.
That was me with Odd Thomas, except that I don't think I rambled about it enough to bug my friends that much. ;)
The thing is, it's a very unique book. It's dark and suspenseful, but there's also a lot of light and idealism.
The story centers around a young fry cook named Odd Thomas, who lives in the California desert town of Pico Mundo. Odd (and yes, that is his real name) can see ghosts, and they often come to him seeking justice. There's also his sweetheart, Stormy Llewellyn. They're destined to be together forever, as states the card they got from the Gypsy Mummy at a county fair.
Yeah, sounds really campy, but trust me, this is a lovely, touching, and very thrilling book. However, it is of the horror genre, and is pretty freaky at times. So, as much as I love this book and it's sequels, I can't really recommend it to anyone, unless I know for a fact that they like books like this, or if they've read and enjoyed other Dean Koontz novels. (I have to say, Stephen King readers might actually find Dean Koontz tame in comparison.)
So. This book is written in the 1st person, and is very well written. It's almost poetic, and puts very vivid mental images into your head. It almost feels like Pico Mundo is a real place!
Something I really like about these books is that they're very fast paced. From the first chapter, things are happening, and they don't stop. That isn't to say it's a non-stop rollercoaster of terror and suspense. This is, as my sister would put it, a book that let's you breathe.
The characters are very interesting. Aside from Odd and Stormy, there's his overweight father-figure, Ozzie Boone- the one who convinced him to write this 'memoir'. There's Chief Wyatt Porter and his wife, and- believe it or not- the ghost of Elvis.
All my gushy praise aside, this book and it's sequels aren't really for everybody. Well, what I mean is that not everyone will like them. They're quite dark and even though there's a lot of humor, some might find it a little droll and off-putting. The inappropriate content is never discussed at great length though, and the books have very stable morals (by Christian and Conservative standards, anyway.).
Admittedly, there are some flaws, I am willing to admit that. ;)
For one, characters just kind of 'show up' when they're needed. This isn't that obvious, but there is one bit that I thought was way too convenient. Oh, Odd has this mystery card with braille on it? Good thing he's got a blind chum who works down at the radio station!
...Yeah, that was kind of pulled out of nowhere. But that's a very small gripe about what is as a whole a very good book.

The Verdict: A
Interesting, quirky, and completely unpredictable, Odd Thomas offers a very memorable and suspenseful story. The horror elements are balanced out by wit and romance, the end result being a very satisfying read. Like I said before though, I can't really recommend this book to anybody unless I know they won't find the horror elements distasteful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have enabled comment moderation, but you have nothing to worry about unless your comment has swearing, vulgar language, or is rude and uncourteous.
Feel free to subscribe to follow-up comments, since I'll probably respond sooner or later.
Oh, and if you're commenting with the anonymous setting, please leave a name or alias at the end of your comment, so that I can have something to call you. :)