Sunday, March 14, 2010

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

Brother Odd features one of the fascinating characters created by Dean Koontz: Odd Thomas. Odd Thomas is just what his name implies. He is odd. “Oddie” is living at St. Bartholomew’s Abbey, a monastery that includes a sect of monks, a convent, and a refuge and school for children sharing various degrees of physical and mental disabilities. Odd Thomas is here after a horrific event (detailed in a previous Koontz volume, Odd Thomas)

A bit about Odd Thomas is in order. Odd Thomas is capable of seeing the dead. Those who have not gone on are visible to Thomas. His self proclaimed mission in life has become his assisting these departed souls find the peace within to move on from this plane. Odd, throughout the book, interacts with the ghost of Elvis Presley, who is not yet ready to move on. Odd is also able to see other apparitions, including what he names ‘bodachs’, sinister black flowing beings that swarm a location prior to unknown tragedy and loss of human life. The bodach invasion begins at the beginning of the book, with the evil beings attracted to the helpless children.

Other characters bring mystery, comedy, and emotion to the book. The monks are of varied backgrounds, including a former mafia enforcer, veteran combat medic, and Los Angeles newspaper crime reporter. In addition, one of the ‘monks’ is a former billionaire physicist who has donated his fortune to the Abbey, and has constructed a secret underground laboratory in which he continues his research. Also in the plot is a mysterious Russian, claiming to be a Librarian from Indianapolis. Odd Thomas does not believe the Russian’s story.

Koontz weaves a supernatural tale told through Odd Thomas’ eyes. His interactions with new, strange and frightening events make this book a true “can’t put it down” volume. The conversations between characters are delightful. Odd’s interaction with a few of the children open communication with Stormy, his former true love who was gunned down in a previous book. His interaction also will be the key to discovering the source of the deadly menace that threatens all of the monks, nuns, and children of the Abbey in a secluded area in the High Sierra Mountains of California.

Brother Odd is a scary read. It has malevolent creatures, ghosts, and evil and virtuous people. The story line will keep you turning pages. Plot twists will keep you guessing. You will not be disappointed.

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