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.
"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)
Odd Thomas was a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing book. Never realized Dean Koontz had such a great sense of humor. Listened to every word while driving across the desert. Reader David Aaron Baker was fantastic. He became Odd Thomas, and as I totally suspended my disbelief, Odd Thomas became real.
It took me about an hour to get used to the different style, but once I did, I was hooked. Listened to this book in 2 sittings. Couldn?t put it down. This is definitively one of the few I will listen to again.
As a devoted Koontz fan, I downloaded this selection as soon as I saw it was available. This one knocked my socks off. With an economy of narration that should satisfy critics of previous, more descriptive works, Koontz pushes us relentlessly forward towards a potential catastophe with an urgency reminiscent of his earlier "Strange Highways". There is absolute faith and trust in the instincts and integrity of the hero and narrator of this tale, making the supernatural aspects of the story totally believable from the very beginning.
Koontz and Stephen King are often linked together as similar in writing styles and genre. I have had no luck in enjoying King, finding him gloomy, hostile and often vulgar. On the other hand, in spite of catastrophic happenings, Koontz finds hope, courage and devotion to man's responsibility to humanity as consistent themes in developing his stories. I will stick to Dean Koontz, and recommend this story as a place to start.
My wife says she can read me like an open book. Though she regrets not being able to shut me up the same way. :)
I was sort of expecting a supernatural thriller. And, while supernatural is definitely the context, I have to say that the story really ran more like a drama.
Character development was great. You'll feel an affinity with each character in the story.
This tale starts off with much more monologue than what I usually like. After a few chapters, it finally developed into dialog... though, it did continue venturing back into that first-person narrative. (It's told from Odd Thomas' perspective as the writer of the story.)
I like a lot of dialog. What can I say? Still, it works.
But, I think I would have rated it higher had my expectations been aligned with a drama instead of a thriller. Check that... I guess it still "thrills," but at a slower pace.
The reader, David Aaron Baker, did a wonderful job. Though, I do wish that his future works will see him develop more breadth in character voices. That said, I found him enjoyable to listen to.
Overall, not a bad credit investment. Lukewarm, I know. But, that's about what 3 stars feels like, right?
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!
If you like his books,you will love Odd Thomas. I have probable read a half dozen of his books, and I couldn't stop listening to this one. I just finished a trip and sat in the car in my driveway until it was over. You couldn't stay away from the last thirty minutes. Great!
The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.
Wonderful tale, creative characters, swift-moving plot, great narration .... funny, sad, exciting, entertaining, compelling. Read / Listen to this book!
Not a Dean Koontz fan, or suspense reader in general, I was drawn into his world by the awe-inspiring, never-set-down Life Expectancy. Afterwards, it was a quick decision in the affirmative to read Odd Thomas. Koontz provides an amazing array of characters centered around Odd Thomas, a 20-year-old man whose name, yes, really is Odd, and can see and somewhat communicate with the deceased. Coming from a home life one has to read to believe, Odd emancipated himself and has become the town's favorite fry-cook who looks to three adults--his boss, the sheriff, and a mystery writer as surrogate parents. While sounding quite comical, this book is beautifully written, heart-wrenching, suspenseful and love story. It has all aspects of every genre on literature. It even got this hard-core "chic lit" fan to shed some tears and pick up the sequel.
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.
Thoroughly enjoyable. Have stopped talking to strangers before they talk to me. Couldn't wait until the next time I had available to listen. Well worth the time. One of the best.
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