I see dead people. That’s actually a lie, I can’t and I don’t. I will leave the seeing of the dead to Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense and of course the hero of the book I am currently reading – Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Odd Thomas is the first book in the paranormal Odd Thomas series – there are 7 novels in the series as well as a novella, special adventure and graphic novels.
I see dead people!
Odd Thomas is, to the say the least, a very odd name, but it is the proper name of the main character and hero of the story of the same name. No, it is not a nickname, Odd was the name given to him at birth. And he does live up to his name, he is rather odd. Odd in the fact that he can see the ghosts of the restless dead and tries to help them find peace. He can often be found in the company of the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley. If that wasn’t enough, he can also see dark shadows that preclude acts of violence, they seem to feed on death and destruction committed by others.
Odd Thomas, a 20 year old short order cook (fry cook), lives in the small town of Pico Mundo in California. He is humble, kind, caring, compassionate and completely in love with his girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn. But he has a dark, complicated past and can see the dead, some of who seek him out to help them get justice and help them to move on. But then there are the Bodachs, dark fluid shadows that only he can see that preclude brutal acts of violence and murder.
The small, sleepy town of Pico Mundo is now crawling with the mysterious Bodachs, surrounding a man with a very hearty appetite, a man he calls Fungus Man. His death radar kicks in and he is worried that something very very bad is going to happen, and soon! It falls on Odd to try and find out what Fungus Man is up to and what deadly act he might carry out, and then to try and stop it. He soon discovers that on Wednesday 15 August murder on a grand scale is going to devastate his hometown. Is there anything he can do to stop it?
Overall, Odd Thomas is a thrilling paranormal novel packed with suspense and creepiness. Mixed with the horror of the mysterious Bodachs, impending murder and catastrophe is also a heartwarming tale of a young man who tries to help the dead find justice and peace.
The story is narrated by Odd Thomas and is a creepy tension packed tale of love, loss and murder. It has plenty of twists and turns, shocks and surprises along the way, and also has enough humour in the right places to relieve some of the tension. And, of course, there is the exciting build up to the horror of the main event to come.
The story is very much a character driven story and there are some excellent unique and quirky characters (where else are you going to find a silent crying Elvis?). Odd is the brave hero and is a unique and unforgettable character. His oddness makes him a likeable, simple yet complicated character and his backstory is slowly revealed throughout the pages. An amateur detective with an strong sense of responsibly and doing the right thing. Then there is his soulmate, Stormy Llwelleyn, who are destined to be together forever, who is feisty, strong and down to earth, an excellent counter for his oddness.
But the book isn’t just based around Odd and Stormy, the supporting characters are excellent as well. Everybody from the Chief of Police, Odd’s not so invisible landlady and the blind DJ all add in their own uniqueness to support and enhance the story.
Odd Thomas is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Whilst it is a thrilling story of death, destruction and one man’s fight to prevent the worst from happening using some unusual and unique gifts, it is also a love story, a story of destiny and explores themes around free will, sacrifice, faith, adversity and pure evil. It looks at life after death and why do bad things happen to good people. It will leave you asking questions about what happens after people die.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Odd Thomas and would recommend it to anyone that loves not just paranormal thrillers or horror but to anyone that enjoys a good creepy story with many layers. It travels along at a reasonable pace, building Odd’s backstory slowly and racking up the tension before exploding into its shocking finale. It has enough shocks and surprises to keep you guessing and the characters are unique and enjoyable, even Fungus Man and Chester the cat.
An excellent tale of good versus evil, told with some unique and quirky characters. A fantastic read based on the very real horror that people are capable of, blended with the paranormal. It can be slow and repetitive at times, not often enough to ruin the story, but it is an excellent story that you won’t be disappointed in.
RRP: £19.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £3.99 (Kindle)