I have a teeny confession to make.
I’m in love with Odd Thomas.
Now, that might seem like an odd statement if you have no idea who Dean Koontz is, nor are familiar with his Odd Thomas series.
Let me ‘splain. Odd (his real, given name) Thomas is a delightful young man who sees the ghosts of the dead. They come to him seeking justice for their deaths, or help moving on to the next world. He also sees spirits which he calls bodachs which thrive on bloody mayhem. He is driven to try and give the dead their justice, and to stop evil from happening. He feels overwhelmed by this task and therefore simplifies his life to Spartan bareness. He is humble, with a self-deprecating humor that I find positively enchanting. He feels no need to prove himself, no need to better himself, no need for the spotlight. He just wants to make it through the day with his honor intact, saving the world if at all possible.
Very few people know Odd’s secrets. His friends are devoted to him, and the public at large generally see him as a heroic figure at best, an unusual person at worst. His childhood was horrific, but instead of making him a twisted soul, it seems to have purified him. This makes him a very compelling character.
As much as I love Odd Thomas’s character, I love the lyricism of Koontz’s writing. Let me give you an example from Odd Hours:
“In moments of stress, my imagination can be as ornate as a carousel of grotesque beasts, standing on end like a Ferris wheel, spinning like a coin, casting off kaleidoscopic visions of ludicrous fates and droll deaths.”
That paragraph was then followed by this:
“As I confronted the rat, I saw in my mind’s eye a scenario in which I startled the rodent, whereupon it raced toward me in a panic, slipped under a leg of my jeans, squirmed up my calf, squeaked behind my knee, wriggled along my thigh, and decided to establish a nest between my buttocks. Through all of this, I would be windmilling my arms and hopping on one foot until I hopped off the beam, and, with the hapless rodent snugged between my cheeks, plunged toward the sea just in time to crash into the searchers’ boat, smashing a hole in the bottom with my face, thereupon breaking my neck and drowning.”
See what I mean? Beautiful images followed by a farcical one that had me laughing out loud. (He doesn’t die at this time. I’m explaining to you because you look nervous.) (10 points for that movie reference!)
My advice? Try Odd Thomas. If you can get past some of the weird afterlife theology, it’s certainly worth the read. If you like it, polish off the rest of the series.