Hey, look! I read another book!
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!
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.
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 it. 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).