Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is the first book in the popular paranormal / horror series written by Dean Koontz. More quirky than creepy, this novel should appeal to a larger audience than hardcore horror books.

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In line with the 12 Months of Reading Goodness challenge, October is the month to read a book with a supernatural or paranormal theme. Odd Thomas caught my eye because it looked more quirky than creepy, plus I’ve never read anything by Dean Koontz and I wanted to see why he’s so popular. While Odd Thomas did have some creepy parts, it wasn’t the relentless, under-your-skin creepiness that I avoid at all costs, and it was tempered with very likable characters. I ended up really liking this novel, although the ending made me cry, dang it!

Let’s start with a quick summary of the book Odd Thomas:

Odd Thomas is a 20-year-old fry cook who lives in a small desert town in California. He’s a good cook, has a girlfriend he describes as his “destiny” (aww!), and he sees dead people. Yep, dead people. They often seek him out looking for justice, and if there is a murderer to be caught, he wades right in. But he’s not all fearless hero – he has a sad back story that makes him a very sympathetic character.

Odd Thomas also has other paranormal skills, like sensing when really bad things are about to happen. This sense kicks in and warns him about impending carnage in his beloved town. His sense doesn’t give him many details to work with, so he has to investigate and put together the pieces of the puzzle. Along the way, we’re treated to a bunch of both interesting and horrifying characters, hair raising situations, and glimpses into Odd’s personal life.

I can’t reveal much more without entering into spoiler territory, so let me talk about what I liked and one thing I didn’t like so much.

I really liked the character of Odd. He had an appealing mixture of bravery, honor and vulnerability with a sprinkle of spirituality. I was glad the author included a loving support structure for him because his parents were atrocious. He was the kind of character that you want good things to happen to.

A melancholy Elvis is one of the dead people Odd regularly sees.

The story line was also good, with just the right mixture of tension and mystery. In fact, I was so distracted by the action and the supernatural touches that I forgot to try to solve the mystery. So at the end I was pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t guessed the “reveal.” I like being surprised like that.

The only thing that put me off a little is that the narration was full of really awkward similes. So many awkward similes. The book was supposed to have been written by Odd Thomas, so maybe that was a device Dean Koontz used to mimic a novice writer? I’ll have to read another of his novels to see.

Overall, I liked Odd Thomas. It was a good change of pace for me. There is a whole Odd Thomas series, so I’ve added the next book to my library list.

Okay, now I want to hear from you. Did you read a supernatural book this month? Can you recommend another book by Dean Koontz that isn’t overly disturbing?

**Reminder – November’s challenge is to read a book with a mode of transportation on the cover (in honor of the busy Thanksgiving travel season).

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

  1. Michelle! Vicki (Koertner) Federico here. I read the Odd Thomas series a while back. This first book was my favorite! About the ending… I can relate!! It was an ugly cry for me.

    I found–in my opinion– themes of good v. evil are explored through the entire series in unique and powerful ways– and no spoilers here, but it get creepier as the series progresses.

    Did you know that the first book was made into a movie? Anton Yelchin (RIP) portrayed Odd and Willem Dafoe was Wyatt Porter.

    Outstanding series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Vickims! I’m so glad you’ve read the series and can provide some input! I’ll definitely have to read book 2. I did see there was a movie made and was thinking about watching it. Have you seen it?


  2. Thank you Michelle: I’ve been meaning to watch the movie, but will have to read the book first! The only Dean Koontz book I read was called Intensity. It was disturbing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. I’ll skip Intensity since I don’t like to be disturbed. Paul and I are halfway through the Odd Thomas movie and it’s OK. I think Paul likes it more than I do. 🙂


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