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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas #1) by Dean Koontz

"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. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst 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. 

   If you are an avid reader (or maybe even not), the name Dean Koontz is quite familiar to you. There is a reason for that, this man is very talented. The man is great with suspense. I was on the edge of my seat from the first chapter of this book. Mr. Koontz, I am happy to report you have yourself a new fan. So happy I finally started reading your work.
   Odd Thomas (real name, not nickname) is about a twenty-year-old guy who lives in a town named Pico Mundo. Odd is actually relatively normal except he can see dead people (an aspect that is totally at odds at what we are use to given the way how movies portray people who see dead people). Thing is, Odd does his best to actually help the dead, not ignore them as though they aren't there, something else I thought was pretty unique. This book starts off with Odd running into a girl named Penny who we find out is a ghost. She can't talk, none of the ghosts can talk. But she shows Odd what happened to her and who killed her. Well psychically speaking she did, even though he isn't a psychic. It was pretty disturbing and gross, but it, surprisingly, it is not the tone of this book.
   We find out that Odd is a cook at a burger joint, he has a girlfriend named Stormy Llwellyn (I love that name), and is friends with bunches of people in his small town. He is followed by some dead people, a man (can't remember the name) who was killed in a car accident (well drowned from that terrible accident) who still has weird sense of humor. Odd is also followed by Elvis' ghost, which is actually not as comical as that sounds.
   Overtime, Odd is asked by one of his many "followers" who believe he is a psychic (which he isn't). This woman, I believe was named Terri (again can't remember name for sure, I know, it stinks), but nonetheless, she tells Odd about a nightmare she had, so Odd being Odd, he tries to help her. Along the way, Odd learns more about the bodachs. They are these creepy, shadow like creatures who show about when there is potential chaos and/or death. Odd ends up finding the main bodach's, Robert Thomas Robertson's (aka Fungus Man) house. Odd finds bunches of creepy things from this "guy" and knows something big will be coming August 14 (3 days after my birthday, not cool) and it is up to Odd to find out what it is before it is too late.
  This was my very first audiobook (that I listened to from beginning to end) and I am happy I finally did. The narrator, David Aaron Baker, was thoroughly entertaining. Really made me smile with the voices he gave the characters. The characters in this books really add a lot to this story and most importantly, they add plenty to Odd's character. The relationship between Odd and Stormy was fresh and fun. Stormy knows all about Odd's abilities ans hasn't ran off screaming and they have a perfect way of understanding each other. I also enjoyed Little Ozzie. He is a 6 fingered, intelligent author who writes detective novels. He definitely helps steer Odd into the right direction for his unoffical investigation..
  Now for a little babbling. For me, what is the most unbelieveable thing about Odd is the fact that he wasn't a psychopathic serial killer and some nutcase born and bred for the insane asylum. And I am not talking about his abilities, I mean on how he was raised. Odd has THE MOST TERRIBLE PARENTS EVER! Actually you can't even call them parents. More like a sperm and egg donor who decided to conceive the traditional way. His dad is a selfish, arrogant, money hungry pedophile. Will only date girls of appropriate age but look younger and would not spare a dime to his son even if it meant life or death (though Odd wouldn't take it anyway).
  Odd's mom might be even worse. She absolutely resents Odd's existence altogether. She said the only reason she didn't have him scrapped out (her words, definitely not mine), was because if she did, she would lose his dad's money. She has even told Odd to his face that she hates him and she tried killing him before and herself. because of him. So this book has made me appreciate my mom even more. Sorry about the tangent about his parents, but I just couldn't believe they were so awful and Odd was so normal and helpful. I mean we don't meet his parents until near the end of the book and I just imagined them to be loving and supportive. I don't think either of them know how to spell the words.
    Overall, this book was pretty amazing and I am happy I started a Koontz series especially this one given they will be making a movie out it. Odd Thomas will be played by Anton Yelchin who has been in some great movies and tv shows, so my hopes shall be high. The storyline was well paced for me, not too slow and not too fast. This book was not insanely scary, but had plenty of suspense and gory scenes to keep your attention. The characters, again, are outstanding. The people that surround Odd are truly the ones that help keep him above water and that is what makes Odd a great hero. If you haven't started Koontz, now is the time.


Rating:


 
 
*This book belongs to the following challenge:
BCC Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011

4 comments:

  1. Great review! I have not heard of a movie that was along these lines...at least I don't think I have, when is it set to be released??

    I completely understand your feelings about his parents (even thought I have not read this book yet) so the tangent was completely forgivable! :-P I have heard so much about Dean Koontz but I have yet to pick up one of his books. My Mom and Dad love his work so maybe I should look into grabbing one of there books by him and checking it out. I love the character names and what seems like a lot of personality coming from them all! I'll have to look into this one. Thanks for the review Diana!

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  2. Thank you hon. They haven't said anything about a release date, but I can't wait. Hope it it will be a good as this book.

    Thanks about my tangent. I just couldn't help it. I had to vent about them a little. I love the names too. None of the, are normal in the book really LOL! I am really happy that I started his work for sure, I see why he is so popular. Hope you start reading his work too. Thank you and you are welcome :)

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  3. I LOVE Dean Koontz! I have not read this book, but will put it on my list to read.

    Since you're now a fan of Koontz, I'll recommend a couple of my favorites:

    "Fear Nothing" -It's one of my favorite books ever. (the sequel "Seize the Night" is almost as good).
    "The Taking", also fantastic.

    "Lightning" This is the first of Koontz's books I read, back in high school, it made me an avid fan!

    Also, a tip, the half price book stores ALWAYS have a few Koontz books in the clearance section!

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  4. @Hey Lady - Oh wow, thank you. I will add those to my Goodreads TBR pile. I have found a few of his books on sale, so I intend to take advantage of that. Those sounds great. Thank you hon :)

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Due to the daily spam comments I have been getting lately and to avoid the annoying word verification, Anonymous comments are no more. I do not want bargains on bags, watches, jerseys, boots and other crap. Geez, they could at least spam me with book and movie stuff, I would be somewhat interested LOL! Thank you :D