Friday, June 21, 2013

Forever Odd

The second book in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz is entitled Forever Odd. It is not necessary to read the first book, Odd Thomas, to enjoy this one and figure out the characters, but I would strongly recommend it. The first reason is that it helps to provide context and set the scene for who Odd is and why he acts the way he does. The second reason is that Odd Thomas is a top notch work. Fun, quirky, intelligent, and cleverly written. I guess it is relevant to remind folks that Odd Thomas is the protagonist's real name. His parent's are both psychotic and left Odd to raise himself. I think by all measures, he has made a pretty good go of things. He is honest, loyal, hard working, and principled. Oh, and he can also see and communicate with the dead. He would tell you that he is as vanilla and unspecial as they come in this world, but for this one unique trait. Those souls that do not move on to the other side upon death, usually remain behind because they have some unfinished business in this world. Oftentimes that "business" involves some nefarious activity like they were murdered, but sometimes it is due to guilt or other issues.

In the first book, Odd thwarts the plans of a satanist group who were scheming to kill thousands of folks in his small California town of Pico Mundo. However, while he limited the destruction and the death using his special gifts and his own cleverness, the experience destroyed his future plans. A year has now passed and he is still dealing with his own mourning and his newfound status as a local hero. One evening he is visited by a recently murdered townsperson whose son and Odd had grown up together. Danny Jessup, born with and disfigured by a rare bone disorder, is kidnapped by a lady that he had met online. What started out as pure lust for Danny, eventually transformed into what he thought was relationship. Slowly he opened up about his life, including the secrets of Odd's paranormal abilities. Datura, a most wicked and deranged lady who fancies herself some kind of occult princess, then sets her sights on using Danny to get to Odd. Odd pursues the trail and meets up with Datura and her beefy henchman in an abandoned and burned out Indian casino complex. What follows is a cat and mouse game with palpable tension as Odd seeks to save Danny and to avoid the evil that relentlessly is drawn to him. Another solid work that I really enjoyed. Now, onto the third book in the series, Brother Odd.