Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz (2012)
I still have not figured out why I am a Dean Koontz fan. His books can be manipulative and his themes repetative. Somehow they work for me. His character Odd Thomas, fry cook extraordinaire and defender of the innocent, rings looud and clear.
The rambling narrative of the book reflects Odd's talent of psychic magnetism. Odd can find just about anything or anyone; he places an image in his mind and begins walking in any direction, his subconscience eventually leading him to the object or person he was seeking. As he narrates this book, Odd slowly discovers his purpose within its framework. And Odd himself tells us that his writer friend Ozzie Boone has told him to keep his stories light for, if he did not, his adventures might be to horrible to read. These to factors combined may be off-putting for some readers but, as I said, they work for me.
Odd Apocalyse starts soon after the events in the preceding book in the series, Odd Hours. Odd and Annamaria, the strange pregnant woman he met in Odd Hours, are stating in the guest house on Noah Wolflaw's vast estate, Roseland. Wolflaw has an undefinable fasciniation for Annamaria. Roseland, built in the 1920's by a newpaper mogul who had switched to producing silent films, has an unusaul aura about it. The house and grounds are both in perfect condition and remain so, even though there is no evidence of anyone maintaining the property. The half a dozen members of the estate's staff seem to go through the motions of their duties without ever performing them.
A woman's ghost tries to communicate with Odd. She is a beautiful nightgowned blonde on a black stallion, a bloodied gunshot wound plaining visible over her heart. Odd can see ghosts of the lingering dead -- those who, for some reason, cannot travel on. The ghosts, however, are always silent and Odd's task is to find out what they want from him. Slowly he learns that the ghost had been Noah Wolflaw's wife and that her ten-year old son is in danger.
Soon reality is shifting around Odd. People -- not ghosts -- appear and vanish without warning. Night comes at midday. Giant, mutated, deadly hog-like creatures invade the estate. Leathery bat-like monsters swarm the sky. Odd stumbles upon dead women, thirty-five of them, all appranetly freshly dead, visciously slain and laid out nude in obscene poses, the last -- the only one not nude, is of the ghostly woman who rode the black stallion. In a deserted room, he finds the ten-year-old boy who has been held a prisoner for eighty-five years while remaininig in a boy's body. And Odd meets the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock and the energy (can't really call him a ghost) of Nikolai Tesla.
True to the book's title, there is an apocalyse coming -- or perhaps has already come.
This adventure will take Odd to the darkest part of his soul and may change him permanently.
Odd Apocalypse is the fifth book in the series, following Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Brother Odd, and Odd Hours. The penultimate book in the series, Deeply Odd, will be published on March 12, 2013. Koontz has also written a three-part adventure, Odd Interlude, available only as e-Books. In addition, Koontzhas published three graphic novels about the character: In Odd We Trust (writen with and drawn by Queenie Chan), Odd Is on Our Side (written with Fred van Lente and drawn by Chan), and House of Odd (written with van Lente and drawn by Chan). On Koontz's website there is "Odd Passenger" (a four-part web-episode), some trailers and a video bio of Odd Thomas. To my kowledge that is all Koontz has written/sponsored thus far about the character.
With only two more novels to go, I will deeply miss Koontz's gentle fry-cook.