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Odd Thomas | [Dean Koontz]

Odd Thomas

"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.
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Publisher's Summary

"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.

©2003 Dean Koontz; (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, A Division Of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Once in a very great while, an author does everything right, as Koontz has in this marvelous novel....This is Koontz working at his pinnacle." (Publishers Weekly)
"A curious mixture of whimsy, gentle humor, and horror...It is the casual weirdness on display here, rife with bodachs and other signs of a Vonnegut-style fancifulness, that gives Odd Thomas its principal appeal." (The New York Times)
"This quirky and touching story of a 20-year-old short order cook with paranormal abilities is spun with stylistic grace by Dean Koontz, and read in an innocent, unaffected style by David Aaron Baker." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (4369 )
5 star
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4.4 (1842 )
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Performance
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  •  
    T. Farner 04-01-04
    T. Farner 04-01-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "One of his best if not - his 'Best'!"

    I bought 'Odd Thomas' on tape before a long 8 hour drive to a destination that neither my wife nor I were looking forward too. It was to be an unpleasant trip at best and I thought if I could get her hooked on a book-on-tape, I could get her mind off of dreadful things. I have been a Koontz fan for years and thought if 'Koontz' can't hook her, no one can. After the first 30 minutes, she put down her puzzle book and was listening with the enthusiasm of a young girl during story time at school. She was so captured ... I had to buy a tape player as soon as we arrived, so she could listen in our motel room.
    Koontz has blended his skills into humor, horror and drama, like never before. He changes pace within the book, at just the right time. He brings the characters to life, right before your ears (eyes). 'Odd Thomas' is a joy to listen too and worth the time and money to invest in the audio or book. This puts Koontz in the arena of character development with Stephen King and the story-telling skills of such greats as James Patterson. It's the best of all worlds and I really think that anyone that gives it a read, won't be disappointed.
    PS My 17 year old, 'never pick-up a book', son listened to it in just one day. He loved it too!

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Koloa, HI, USA 02-07-04
    David Koloa, HI, USA 02-07-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Literary Gimmickry Beaten to a Pulp"

    I picked the book because it was advertised as a departure from the author's usual approach to his characters. In this case, we are advised the central element involves communicating with the dead. While what is thus constructed as a story line starts out as intriguing, I soon got the idea Mr. Koontz wrote this book with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It is as if he wrote the book to exemplify for freshman composition students every imaginable literary gimmick available - over and over again. Late in the book, Koontz even goes to the extreme of repeating the same alliteration - and then a THIRD time, actually explaining to the reader that this is an alliteration!

    Setting aside the matter of style, I found the story at least charming, and I did finish the book. Kudos to David Aaron Baker for a superlative narration. His rendition of the characters may be the best reason to listen to the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Music Beach Dad El Cajon, CA USA 10-21-08
    Music Beach Dad El Cajon, CA USA 10-21-08 Member Since 2004

    San Diego Guy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really Wanted to Like It . . ."

    Having read a few of his earlier works, I quickly grew weary Dean Koontz novels and by the time I started my fourth, I quit before finishing it. Several years (about 15 or so) have since passed and I decided to give him another try - especially after reading some of the reviews posted here.

    I was very disappointed with Odd Thomas. The supernatural gimmick here seemed even more gimmicky than some of his older works, and the story itself was superficial and certainly not compelling. There was no taking the long way home, or lingering in my car in our driveway with this audio book.

    I really tried hard to like this book, but I was actually glad when this book ended. Sorry Mr. Koontz .

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale Apollo Beach, FL, USA 10-04-05
    Dale Apollo Beach, FL, USA 10-04-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to not listen to all day!"

    The narrator livedly takes you on a journey that you do not want to end. I listen as I drive to work and I found myself leaving home earlier and driving slower so that I could hear more of this awesome tale.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Denver, CO, United States 08-01-13
    Bonnie Denver, CO, United States 08-01-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    133
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    "Boring and too much filler"

    Since it had such great reviews, I kept thinking it would get better but it never did.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith LAGUNA WOODS, CALIFORNIA, United States 06-18-13
    Judith LAGUNA WOODS, CALIFORNIA, United States 06-18-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Odd says it all"
    Would you try another book from Dean Koontz and/or David Aaron Baker?

    Probably not.


    What could Dean Koontz have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    There seems to be no good storyline...it just drones on with Odd Thomas' thoughts. Boring.


    Would you be willing to try another one of David Aaron Baker’s performances?

    Maybe....not sure.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Odd Thomas?

    I'd start over, make Odd Thomas more interesting, maybe a little humorous.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 06-30-12
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 06-30-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Most of the story felt average - ordinary."

    But the ending climax and wrap up were very good. Told in first person. I’ve given high ratings to many first person books, but this did not work for me. I was aware of “myself” too much, as if Odd were talking to me as we walked around together. Koontz has written some third person stories that drew me in a lot more than this.

    Parts were slow or dragged. I was following Odd around as he described and interacted with different characters living in a small town. He saw bodachs in some places which were a predictor of evil to come. Bodachs are shadow creatures who watch but do not touch. Odd had the ability to see and interact with ghosts of dead people. He felt a moral obligation to use his gift for good.

    I liked two things. The ending climax was excellent. Something exciting/horrible was happening. Odd took risks, took action, and did unexpected things. It was a good ending for the good guys, but there was sadness because someone died who I didn’t want to die. When a favorite character dies in other books, I’m usually depressed. This didn’t depress me as much, maybe because I wasn’t drawn into the story as much.

    I was fascinated with Odd’s mother. I admire Koontz for coming up with this creative, not been done before (that I’ve seen) wacko, crazy character. This mother was horrible! She never wanted to care for another human being - especially her one child. As a child when Odd was sick, she threatened to kill herself or him if he didn’t be quiet. His coughing and moaning were a nonverbal request for help. This stressed her. She didn’t want to hear it and she didn’t want to help. When Odd had to go to the hospital for appendicitis, the neighbor (or someone else) took him. The mother refused to go. Her dialogue shocked me.

    The narrator David Aaron Baker was fine.

    Genre: paranormal mystery suspense.
    Ending: good guys win, but somewhat sad due to a death.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth R Yoshida 11-02-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much info..."

    I am a fan of Koontz, so I was looking forward to listening to this book. Although good, I found myself wishing that he would just get on with the story. "Odd" is a great character and the story line was intruiging, but...

    Put it to you this way. If the character needed to run down a long hall-way to get to the last room, he would inevitably stop at each door along the way and describe, in detail, the entire room and the history behind every object there in, if it mattered to the story or not.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan Arlington, WA, USA 09-14-05
    Brendan Arlington, WA, USA 09-14-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great as always"

    It did take me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I couldnt wait to get back into the car so I could listen more.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Abita Springs, LA, USA 07-29-05
    Rebecca Abita Springs, LA, USA 07-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Much Digression, trite metaphors."

    The story was okay, but Koontz's main character tends to digress into meaningless reminiscences, wasting time and placing himself in harms way for no particular reason. One minute he is nervously looking at his watch fearing that time is slipping away and the next he visits his worthless father, gives us his biography in a nutshell, has a meaningless conversation with Dad's brain-dead girlfriend, then goes to visit his insane mother. He does this while fearing he is the only one who may keep many people from dying and is running out of time. While the story was generally good, I frequently found myself getting bored, especially toward the end, as he goes on and on about his thoughts on life while I waited for the story to progress. The character's speech is peppered with trite metaphors, especially at tense times when these devises would normally flee from speech. Rather than adding to character development this just gets old. Better to get the book than the audio version. There is a great deal here that you will want to skip over.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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