Monday, August 04, 2008

"Odd Hours" by Dean Koontz (pub. 2008)

Here it is the 4th installment in Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series. Odd Thomas, yes that's his name (it seems his parents were cruel in many ways), is in all practicality just your average late teens teenager, except that he can see the dead. Odd sees actual ghosts of the recently departed. Usually they appear to him so he can solve the circumstances of their death or so Odd may help them to "move on" and fully depart the living world. Recently Odd helped the King of Rock-n-Roll Elvis Presley to move on. In past books Odd has stopped terrorist-like activities on his home town of Pico Mundo, been lured to help a voodoo priestess attempt to achieve immortality, and saved some "special" children who were in danger from a dark evil at a monastery.

Odd Thomas' only "powers" are those of seeing the recently departed, premonitions of future events, and psychic magnetism. Let me explain these a little further. Seeing the recently departed is just that, seeing, they cannot talk and cannot affect the living material world, unless they have rare poltergeist abilities. The premonitions are often in Odd's dreams and are never explained and are slowly unfolding enigmas. And finally psychic magnetism is a form of Odd just thinking about who he wants to see and by just wandering he ends up meeting them. The magnetism can backfire and lead to those he doesn't want to see. Other than that he's pretty normal.

In this book Odd's psychic magnetism has led him to the small California coastal town of Magic Beach. Something big is about to happen thanks to a premonition coming to Odd in a dream. Odd has found employment with a retired actor who goes by Hutch, and had his heyday in film back when Hollywood films were filled with silver screen icons like Barbara Stanwick, Humphry Bogart, et. al. Odd takes care of Hutch by cooking for him.

Odd Runs into Annamarie, a pregnant woman in Odd's vision, on a pier and is immediately sucked into the action. Odd and Annamare is threatened by 3 thugs; 2 redhead brothers (one with "meth-teeth") and a large thug with a chin beard. When the large thug touches Odd, Odd's vision is passed on to to him and he asks Odd, "Who are you?" At which point odd realizes these guys are not friendly and escapes by jumping off the pier after Annamarie heads to a crowd. He evades them with the help of his dog, Boo, by the way Boo is a ghost dog who only Odd sees.

After Odd escapes he finds his way to Annamarie's home where she presents a strange proposition to Odd which she asks if Odd would die for her. He answers without hesitating in the affirmative and then he and she both get a "feeling" which they must both leave immediately. The three thugs show up at her door and the chase is on. After sending her to a safehouse Odd proceeds to find out what is going on. Soon he is picked up by the local Sheriff in which all is made clear.

Odd must then stop the importing of Nuclear weapons to Magic Beach. The weapons are part of a plan to create a New United States and Odd must fight terrorists and maybe give up his aversion to guns. With the action of a Bruce Willis action film and the teen angst of a Spider-man Comic book, the unlikely hero of Odd Thomas must take on the worlds woes. Also at the same time he has to help the spirit of "The Chairman of the Board" Frank Sinatra, to move on.

Great book, great read, great characters, Dean Koontz has continued with the winning formula that is Odd Thomas.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:10 PM Comments: 0

Friday, February 09, 2007

Brother Odd (Book 3 of the Odd Thomas Novels) by Dean Koontz

Book three of the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz has lived up to the greatness created in the first of the series. In the first book, "Odd Thomas," we are introduced to the dynamic character of Odd, the young fry-cook that can see dead people. Odd uses his gift/curse to help the lingering dead move on by usually solving the puzzles of their deaths. He also has the gift of what he calls "psychic magnetism," which is a form of intuition which will always lead him where he needs to be, so he’s never lost.

Assisted by the ghost of Elvis (yep, Presley, the king of rock) Odd Thomas has some interesting adventures. In this adventure/episode Odd has taken up residency in a monastery. No he hasn’t become a monk, he’s just a guest. At this monastery only the Mother Superior and a few Brothers and the Abbot know of his special talents. He has also been given a master key which will allow him into any area of the monastery. This was given to him because the monastery has a poltergeist. A Brother who was believed to have committed suicide in the bell tower, and takes to ringing the bells at various times of the day.

This monastery is also home to a large number of children that have been "forgotten" by society. These are orphaned children that are "damaged." Most are what are called "crack-babies" others are just orphans from very bad home lives. Another resident-become-monk is a brilliant physicist that has endowed the monastery with over 400 billion dollars to take care of these children. Brother John has taken all his vows to become a full fledged monk, but has a dark secret. This secret could lead to the death of the children, the monks and the sisters of the monastery, unless Odd Thomas can do something to help.

Odd is aware of the impending doom by the sudden arrival of bodachs, a dark paranormal creature that is another thing that Odd sees which no one else can. When bodachs arrive there is always trouble, which in all cases means large disaster, looming. Odd follows the bodachs to try and find what may be the disaster. In following, he comes across an entity of which the likes he’s never seen. This new entity is as dangerous as it is mysterious. It is constructed of what appear to be a cacaphony of bones but with multiple types of joints that allow flexibility unlike anything seen in this reality.

Once again Dean Koontz weaves a tale of horror, mystery and even fun that is just a great read. Oh yeah and the moments of poignancy are back in this book so be prepared, just a few tissues are needed, but in various parts of the book, not just the end as in book one.

I’m moving to a sci-fi mode for my next few books if you want to know what’s next click here:

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:01 PM Comments: 0