“…humanity is a turbulent family aboard an endless train, on an infinite journey to shores that can only dimly be imagined by the living…” –Deeply Odd, by Dean Koontz
Somewhere, Dean Koontz is smiling. Not only has his latest Odd Thomas novel, Deeply Odd, debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list, but the Odd Thomas movie, starring Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe (completed nearly two years ago but tangled up in litigation ever since), looks like it’s a go for a fall release!
The first in the series, Odd Thomas, was released way back in 2003. Over the last decade, Koontz’s story, featuring an unassuming California fry cook with the ability to see the dead, has gained quite a following. Koontz has kept the storyline exciting and fresh through six novels, one novella, and some graphic novels.
An overview for those who haven’t read the series yet: it’s a highly palatable fusion of supernatural mystery and mainstream thriller, with the nuances of a paranormal fantasy. There’s also an undeniable current of humor throughout, and more than a few pop culture references.
This latest installment was simply unputdownable. In it, Odd Thomas—who is on a quest to find meaning in his life after his one true love, Stormy Llewellyn, is killed—tries to track down a malicious truck driver who is planning to ritualistically murder three children. Thomas meets an elderly woman named Edie Fischer, who is much more than she seems, and who—along with some of her enigmatic friends—aids Thomas in his pursuit. But what he finds at journey’s end isn’t the evil that he expected: it’s much, much worse.
The storyline is dark, but balanced with levity. That’s where Odd Thomas comes in: he’s humble, unassuming, and honorable, with a wonderfully uncomplicated and humorous way of looking at the world. Here are a few lines from Deeply Odd that showcase his appeal:
• “The attendant, a cheerful woman in a blue uniform, wore a name badge that identified her as ZILLA, like Godzilla with God. She was petite and appeared incapable of destroying a city.”
• “She looked like a mean Muppet hot for vengeance.”
• “I felt like Frodo in Mordor, but without good Samwise to fight alongside me.”
And that’s why this series has such a huge following—it works so brilliantly on so many levels. It’s a perfectly smooth blend of horror, humor, and, above all else, deeply contemplative, profoundly moving, existential speculation. This Deeply Odd excerpt is an excellent example:
“Patterns exist in our seemingly patternless lives, and the most common pattern is the circle. Like a dog pursuing its tail, we go around and around all our lives, through the circles of the seasons, repeating our mistakes and pursuing our redemption. From birth to death we explore and seek, and in the end we arrive where we started, the past having made one great slow turn on a carousel to become our future, and if we have learned anything worth learning, the carousel will bring us to the one place we most need to be.”
The rumor is that this series will end in the next book. Whether or not that’s true, there is no doubt that 2013 is going to be the Year of the Fry Cook.
Do you have a weird yearning for cheese meatloaf, steak fries, and coleslaw yet? Don’t worry—you will.
Are you crossing your fingers for the release of the Odd Thomas movie?