Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Saint Odd by Dean Koontz (2015)

After seven previous books, a so-so movie, at least one promo video adventure, and several graphic novels, the saga of Odd Thomas has come to a "stunning conclusion" (as per the front cover jacket).

For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Odd Thomas (his given name) is now 22 and is an unassuming fry cook.  He is also gifted with special powers.  He can see the dead and is tasked with trying to help them cross over to the other side.  He can also see bodaches, nebulous beings that feed on people's pain, suffering, and violent death.  Bodaches appear in great numbers when a spectacular traagedy is about to happen:  a train wreck, a gas plant explosion, a mass shooting -- any place where a lot of people are about to die horribly.  Odd has other talents, such a "psychic magnetism" that allows him to find people just by wandering aimlessly; the wandering unconsciously leads him to the person he's looking for.  Odd is not the heroic type but he is a good guy.  He is compelled to help those in need.  This often puts him against evil in both human and supernatural form,  Odd looks for and fights for the good that is in this world.  Two years before that meant trying to stop a massacre at the mall in Pico Mundo, the California town where he grew up.  Odd failed in this.  Although he stop the massacre of of hundreds of people, nineteen innocents were killed -- among them, the love of his life, Stormy LLewellyn.  Four years earlier, when they were both sixteen, a mechanical fortune-telling machine predicted, "You are destined to be together forever."  After Stormy's death, Odd retreated to a monastery for solitude, then began wandering the countryside, sometimes with the ghost of Elvis Presley, sometimes with the ghost of Frank Sinatra, often with a ghost dog (these are Dean Koontz novels, after all), and always being forced to meet evil head-on.

(No spoilers here.  We are told on the cover that this is the conclusion of Odd's saga,  Odd is only 22.  Through seven previous books and various spin-offs, we have have been told that Odd and dead Stormy are destined to be together forever, but I will not reveal a spoiler here.  I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.)

So, Saint Odd (no spoilers in the title, either) has Odd Thomas coming full circle and returning to Pico Mundo.  Odd has been having a dream that his hometown has been destroyed in a flood.  Odd's dreams are sometimes literal and sometimes figurative, but they always have meaning.  Something is going to happen in Pico Mundo that will result in thousands dying.  Whatever is going to happen, a 450-year-old powerful cult is behind it.  The cult also happens to want to destroy Odd because in an earlier adventure he destroyed a branch of the cult while rescuing some captive children.

Odd is also puzzled because he knows something terrible is going to happen, but he can see no bodaches.  Have Odd's powers shifted, or have the bodaches managed to find a way to remain invisible to Odd, or can Odd be facing something completely different from what he has faced in the past?  Also, a large shipment of C4 has been hijacked.  Is this to be used to blow up Pico Mundo's dam and flood the town?  The dam surely does not hold enough water to cause the level of flooding and damage that Odd had seen in his dream.  A carnival has arrived in Pico Mundo -- the same carnival where the fortune-telling machine gave Odd and Stormy their prediction of togetherness six tears earlier.  Several members of the cult are found to have ties to the carnival and some fifteen thousand people have flocked to it.  Is this where the massive destruction will take place?

As always, Koontz juggles his plot well (although, near the beginning of the novel it seems that the author is descending into farce, but even that misstep is corrected).  Odd remains a noble and likable protagonist.  The evil  he faces is truly evil.  Earlier threads from the saga are tied up.  The conclusion reflects the author's optimistic (and somewhat impractical) world-view.  Admirers of Koontz and/or Odd Thomas should be satisfied.  Those who cannot get into Koontz and/or Odd Thomas will probably avoid this book anyway.

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