Delightfully Odd & Rich in Character
A couple of summers ago I had the pleasure of discovering one of Dean Koontz‘s true story-telling treasures. His novel, Odd Thomas.
While the book filled bookstore shelves in 2003, I hadn’t grabbed a copy of it until 2007. Had I known what I was missing, I would’ve been the first to pre-order a hardback copy of the book years ago.
Koontz’s first novel in this series is packed with core characters you immediately identify with as a reader. Who could not be compelled to read about a young, short-order cook who can see the dead? Odd Thomas is truly odd. He is frequently visited by Elvis, beloved by his friends, estranged from his loony mother, and he has a keen psychic sense that he doesn’t always understand, but tries diligently to hone in order to help others and in order to try and live some semblance of normal life.
I really enjoyed reading about him and his plethora of friends: the morbidly obese mystery novelist, and closet culinary guru P. Oswald ‘Little Ozzie‘ Boone; his girlfriend,Bronwen ‘Stormy’ Llewellyn; Police Chief Wyatt Porter; Elvis fan, Terri Stambaugh, owner of the Pico Mundo Grille; and Elvis ‘The King’ himself.
Koontz delivers the story elements we all crave, drama, suspense, humor, and chills. This novel is rich with a homey feel, and a powerful sense that something just isn’t right in this oh so normal little town. I devoured it over a weekend, relishing every morsel Koontz fed to me.
Craving such a infrequent delicacy in a fictional tale, I looked forward to the second novel, Forever Odd.
The second book reeled me in from the beginning just as its predecessor had done, but then it seemed to ramble. First person narratives can be tricky. Characters tend to reminisce too much, or babble on about things unimportant to the tale at hand. Too many divergences from the central plot causes readers to lose focus on the story at hand. However, the fault with Forever Odd was not that of master storytellerDean Koontz. It was me, twirling on a bright yellow inner tube, as I floated along the gently flowing waters of the lazy river at my favorite resort spot in Orlando. I must have been a tad distracted.
After setting the book aside for a whole year. I picked it up again this past May and I was immediately reminded of how much I had missed Odd. Like book one, I gobbled up this book in two days, and failed to find section of it where I had originally thought the story meandered away from its central plot.
Characterization has always been the main strength behind Koontz’s most popular novels. His characters pop on the page as alive as your or I. They seem so familiar. They possess character traits we’ve seen in others, our siblings, our spouse, our family members or neighbors. His characters, like the characters in all well written works of fiction, make you care. They make you curious. They possess the subtle quirks that make you giggle or smile. Their depth of character comes across naturally as the story unfolds.
I’ve read numerous Dean Koontz books, I’ve liked most of his characters, both the protagonists and the antagonists, but I truly love Odd and the characters that populate his unique little world.
So, enthralled as I was after reading the first two books and equally disappointed that I had completed them, I immediately went and bought, Brother Odd.
This weekend, while my family is away to the sandy shores of Lake Erie, I will immerse myself once again into all things Odd. I’m sure I will enjoy reading about Odd Thomas’ latest challenges and woes, his minor and major victories. I expect I’ll come away delighted and I’ll be happy knowing there’s yet another book out there waiting to be read. Yet another about koontz’s remarkable young hero, Odd Thomas.
No I haven’t bought that one yet. It’s titled, Odd Hours.
But odds are, I will.
So what have your read lately?
If nothing lately, then find yourself a good book, savor that simple pleasure of sitting down and reading.