Title: “Odd Thomas”
Author: Dean Koontz
Pages (paperback): 446 pages
Original Publishing Date: 9 December 2003
Synopsis (from the back cover):
““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. Meet Odd Thomas, the unassuming young hero of Dean Koontz’s dazzling New York Times bestseller, a gallant sentinel at the crossroads of life and death who offers up his heart in these pages and will forever capture yours.
“Sometimes the silent souls who seek Odd out want justice. Occasionally, their otherworldly tips help him prevent a crime. But this time, it’s different. A stranger comes to Pico Mundo, accompanied by a horde of hyena-like shades who herald an imminent catastrophe. Aided by his soulmate, Stormy Llewellyn, and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Odd will race against time to thwart the gathering evil. His account of these shattering hours, in which past and present, fate and destiny converge, is a testament by which to live — an unforgettable fable for our time destined to rank among Dean Koontz’s most enduring works.”
Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:
- fat-shaming (throughout the novel)
- ableism (particularly in regards to “psychopathy” and mental illness re: serial killers) (throughout the novel)
DNF @ 35% / 154 pages out of 446 pages
I was originally pretty excited for this book; I remember reading it a few years ago, but forgot what it was about. So, I decided to pick it up again, wanting to get back into adult supernatural fiction.
I mean, from the synopsis, it seems really interesting. A young person who can see ghosts, and tries to save his town from impending doom? Sure, lemme read that!
But wow, was it a let-down.
As you can see, I DNF’d it around a little over a third of the way into it. I just couldn’t read anymore of it, for a few reasons.
The first was the blatant fat-shaming and the characterization of the Token Fat Character™. There were so many instances of fat-shaming within the book, whether it was Stormy lamenting to Odd about him becoming “so fat,” he would have to be taken out of his home with help because he couldn’t move, or if it was Little Ozzie constantly being described by his fatness. I just didn’t care for any of it.
The second was the narrative and how it connected with Odd. Through the portion of the book that I read, I had to constantly remind myself that Odd was my age, a twenty-year-old, and not 35 or 40. Because his voice just sounded…older. I get it, you probably wouldn’t be so chipper if you had to deal with ghosts on a regular basis, but you should still sound like a young adult, and not like my dad or someone older than that. Who knows, maybe Koontz got better with that as the series went on, but it was a huge turn-off for me. Like. What twenty-year-old refuses to have a bank or credit card in addition to believing he and his girlfriend are soulmates? I would understand one or two of these things alone, but all together? I just don’t buy it.
The third thing that really got me was the pace of the book. It was so incredibly slow. I was almost 200 pages in, and all I really had as a reader was that a Big Bad Thing™ was going to happen. Even worse, despite the fact that a Big Bad Thing™ was going to happen, I didn’t feel any tension about it. It was just repeated that a Big Bad Thing™ was…you guessed it, going to happen (fun fact, the book liked to repeat itself, too). I felt like nothing was happening, and when it was, it was almost like filler. I didn’t feel attached to anyone or anything, or feel invested in them.
There was also some ableism in regards to “psychopathy” and “wanting to put these psychos away before they actually commit a crime,” and uh, yeah, that’s some good ol’ hatred against mentally ill people right there. Also, the whole shpeel about how serial killers are “psychos” and mentally ill, and blah blah blah. So yeah, not really a fan of Odd Thomas.
So, obviously, I didn’t quite like this book, but what about you? Did you like it? Was the rest of the series any better?
Until next time~