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Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Dean Koontz

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7,044183812 (4)196
Title:Odd Thomas
Authors:Dean Koontz
Info:Bantam (2006), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (2003)


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Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
the same name staring the wonderful-died-too-soon Anton Yelchin. I first watched the film version 4 years ago. I can not remember if it was through Amazon or Netflix, but it quickly became one of my favorite movies.

And, after reading the book, I am so happy. The have exact lines from the book in the movie!

Odd Thomas follows Odd, a man who can see ghosts and a little more. His gift has led him down an interesting road, never leaving his small hometown of Pico Mundo and giving him his destiny at 15.

Witty and humorous, this mystery is written a bit flowery (I must write this after speaking with another book fiend who has given up reading Koontz), but it is beautiful and adventurous.

There is enough variety from the movie to make this read worth it. And continues the story that the movie never will. ( )
  Sandeen | Feb 7, 2019 |
I watched this movie on netflix and when I saw that it was a book I was excited to read it. Of course it's way better than the movie. I really got attached to Odd. It end sadly though. I'm looking forward to the next in the series. ( )
  StarKnits | Feb 6, 2019 |
There are many titles by Koontz that I've tried to give a shot and read in the past, but while I never thought he was a bad author, none of his books really interested me much. The fact that he's a "popular author" doesn't help- I tend to fight against trends and pop culture with the understanding that I don't like most people or their tastes in books, therefore my enjoying a "popular series" is exactly as likely as enjoying an unpopular one. I probably still believe this is the case, although lately I've been trying to make the distinction between critical acclaim and general popularity. Worth noting that most literary websites appear not to know the difference either, and their reviewers are just "prolific literature fans" who, because they have no formal education in literature and suffer an extreme lack of professionalism, are the less-effort equivalent of asking some stranger on the street what they like to read and going with that.

All in all, I loved the purity of this series, and in this book in particular. The main character, Odd, is a unique blend of "completely innocent" and "snarky" that feels like it came out of a Dennis the Menace comic. He's bold, intelligent, quick on the up-take, playful, a good judge of character, a virgin at 21 (through choice), and in possession of an ability to see lingering spirits that simultaneously shows him the full breadth of the wickedness in man (which makes him an extreme optimist by nature, that such knowledge doesn't crush him), and proves to him that, without question, an afterlife exists. "Faith" is not a matter of trust for him so much as a proven aspect of existence. He's religious not because he believes in things that he can't see and can't define per-se, but rather as a logical extension of his deeply ingrained pragmatism. He's probably the most pragmatic person I've ever met or read about, and I really like that about his character.

This book has a few flaws. In the first handful of pages, it starts off with a dramatic punch that leave you feeling "yes, this is EXACTLY the kind of book series I wanted". Murderers, serial killers, pedophiles, rapists, and other forms of demons in human skin being caught through communion with the dead? Yeah, it's been done before (to death even, no pun intended), but just the lack of sex and vampires and other trendy crap can really pull a book in a mostly stale genre up to the level of angels. Sadly, that didn't QUITE happen here, because the author just can't seem to decide what he wants to do.

After the high-paced drama ends (page 6), we get hundreds of pages of blatant foreshadowing and "inexplicable weird stuff happening", explanations of Odd's pragmatic (but optimistic) views of himself and the world as a whole, and the uniquely non-Christian views of his true love Stormy, who he's going to marry and live happily-ever-after with (because a cheap fortune telling machine told him so a few years back, and everyone trusts machines that were made in China). Most of the weird stuff appears to have no real direct relevance to the story at all, and in fact if the events described in this book were to happen in a police procedural without the supernatural filler, it would probably have to be forcefully extended to the 42 minute mark in post-production with lots of long transitional scenes. The main character Odd is simultaneously Snarky and Innocent, which is only pulled off at all because the great majority of snarkiness is in writing the story itself, while the innocence is displayed through dialogue. This leads to the illusion of complexity in a character that is, in fact, very very simple. He does what he has to do, when he has to do it, period.

I'm reminded quite often of Jack Reacher in this series, and not just because Reacher is explicitly mentioned in one of the books as a person Odd is "nothing like". Reacher is an ex-MP, six and a half feet tall, well-muscled and intelligent and possessing of all of the qualities we want in a hardboiled ass-kicking detective. Odd couldn't be more different from Reacher, superficially, and yet time and again Odd does whatever it takes to get the job done in much the same explosive way that Reacher does. There are two practical differences: Odd has superpowers, a grace from God or whatever, that enables him to get anywhere just in the nick of time, and Odd bitches and moans about his lot in life and the necessity of killing and blah blah blah while breaking into houses, shooting people in the head, and setting fires. 90% of the books are Odd's moralizing, and his "too pure" character that refuses to carry guns around for the longest time despite putting people's lives (including his own) in jeopardy in the process.

All of that said, I didn't dislike this book- on the contrary I enjoyed it quite a bit. I can't in good conscience give this book less than 4 stars, because 4 stars indicates pretty well the amount of enjoyment I had reading it. A "pure" main character, a level of clever snarkiness in dialogue that rivals The Dresden Files, interesting characters, and supernatural elements that push the story along rather than smothering it. The complaints I have here are small when it comes to this book in particular- the reason why they don't SOUND small is that I've now read up the fifth novel in this series and it gets progressively worse as it goes. A dozen small cuts are insignificant, but when the number gets up to a few dozen and you've had them for hours and hours without the wounds closing, then suddenly you notice you're having trouble staying conscious.

While I can't give this book less than 4 stars, I also can't ignore that this is the first book in a SERIES that I don't like (overall). If others are drawn to this title without proper warning, I will also feel I've done them a disservice. The christian themes of this book get far heavier in the following titles until they're almost overwhelming. It's sad because any book that's not just religious but HEAVILY religious, in which one or more characters have a "direct connection to God", inevitably end up being "the future is set in stone" drivel.

In this particular instance, Odd can't see the future himself, but his "gift" pulls him toward events and the conspirators of said events that haven't even occurred yet, as if God in all his omniscience is playing a near-constant game of Hot or Cold with one of his agents. It's well-disguised in an attempt to maintain the illusion of free-will early on, but when a prophetic character is introduced in a later novel, even that pretense is thrown out the window. I have no interest at all in that kind of thing, and I think that it's false-advertising rather than good authorship that it takes so many books to transform itself into that kind of series.

A lot of this complaining is probably just disappointment that it starts relying so heavily on the "chosen by god / fate" tropes. I think this series didn't just have the potential to be fantastic- it started fantastic on top of having the potential to be even more fantastic, but Koontz has to realize that logically every mention of some future event is minimalizing the choices Odd makes the struggles he overcomes. There's only so much smoke you can throw at that fact- free will cannot truly exist in a deterministic system.

Maybe I'm giving it a hard time prematurely (this is definitely "pet peeve" territory), but every time mentions are made of events that haven't yet occurred but HAVE to happen, I literally cringe away from the novel. I'll update this review when and if I'm able to finish the series. ( )
  LysanderMSND | Jan 19, 2019 |
Let me preface my review by saying that I saw the movie a few years ago and enjoyed it very much, so I fully expected to enjoy the book. And I did. However, I couldn't stop picturing Anton Yelchin as Odd and it made me very sad. That being said, the movie was a pretty fair representation of the book. Minus the parts with Odd's insanely bad parents. OMG they were terrible, horrible people!

The story is told by the protagonist, Odd Thomas, who can see the dead...and other otherworldly things. He lives a life of simplicity as a fry cook in a small town and wants nothing more than to settle down with his soul mate, Stormy and maybe get a job selling tires...eventually. He does his best to help the dead settle whatever business they still have on this plane so that they can finally cross over to the next.

But that all changes the day the Fungus Man comes into the diner where Odd works. This man is the precursor to the tragedy about to hit Odd's town. Odd is then in a race to figure out what horrible thing is about to happen in his town, learn what the Fungus Man has to do with it all, and keep as many people safe as possible.

Having enjoyed the movie so much, I kind of expected the book to blow me out of the water. It did not. It was good, very good even, but not great. The story was very sad really. Learning the way Odd and Stormy grew up, the burden of his "gift", the ending. I'm a little hesitant to continue with the series, but really, I need to find out what happens to Odd next.

Even though it didn't knock my socks off, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's into the supernatural. ( )
  Virago77 | Sep 17, 2018 |
Re-read: 5/9/2014: 4.5 stars

4.5 stars ( )
  mitabird | Jun 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Koontz, Deanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, David AaronNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caminiti, AnnabellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsson, PederTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duzee, LucienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gulstad, ThomasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kleinschmidt, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langer, KimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nowakowski, WitoldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salminen, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Hope requires the contender
Who sees no virtue in surrender.
From the cradle to the bier,
The heart must persevere.
To the Old Girls: Mary Crowe, Gerda Koontz, Vicky Page, and Jana Prais. We'll get together. We'll nosh. We'll tipple. We'll dish, dish, dish.
First words
My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553384287, Paperback)

“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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Dead people try to communicate with a short-order cook, who serves as a small desert town's reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy with a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill, and he is rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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