A glorious quote from a glorious book; Odd Thomas being its name.
It was first presented to me in its film form one restful evening on holiday, with the delightful Anton Yelchin firmly taking the reigns as its lead. As I watched on from my bed, I only made it through the first half, as my day of lying in the sun finally caught up with me and I succumbed to sleep. I got round to finishing the film, two years later on a flight over to America, after Anton’s tragic death- which if you know the story, then you’ll know that I was sobbing in front of my fellow passengers twice as hard as I should have been.
Back to the book, Dean Koontz creates the most refreshing of characters here: a twenty-year-old fry cook who sees the dead. However, this witty and loveable man is not limited to just seeing them, but also has premonition-like dreams and a unique power by the name of ‘psychic magnetism’; the ability to unknowingly come across someone you are looking for.
Our story takes place within the small town of Pico Mundo, California where the Mojave sun beats down upon you 24/7. Our fry cook awakes one night from a terrifying vision of a group of bowling alley workers lying atop one another, now corpses. The pace is kept fast as we weave our way through with Odd in the race to stop this disastrous event from occurring, little does he know what waits for him…
If you’re just about to fall head over heels for Odd, please do, but know that he is forever promised to sharp-tongued ice cream shop manager, Stormy Llewellyn (Koontz has a wonderful way with names.) Friends since childhood, Dean includes a beautiful motif of the pair visiting a fortuneteller as wandering teens and coming away with a card promising them an eternity together. Both characters are written with a delightful sense of wit and vulnerability, each decorated with a colourfully dark past, and from that stemming a vast wealth of strength.
The narrative is structured to present the story as Odd’s memoirs, if you will. Having Odd as the narrator allowed for some unreliable comments, but Odd being the overtly honest character that he is, always admits when something is invented rather than happening. Throughout the book, beautiful metaphors and imagery is scattered. When dealing with a subject as complex as death, and as fanciful as seeing the dead, Koontz approaches the weight of the subject with pure imagination and intelligence.
It’s thrilling and heartbreaking all within the space of just over four hundred pages, and if you end up loving this one like I do, then there’s six more that await you.