Once in a very great while, an author does everything right-as Koontz has in this marvelous novel. Odd Thomas, who narrates, is odd indeed: only 20, he works contentedly as a fry cook in a small fictional California town, despite a talent for writing. The reason for his lack of ambition? A much rarer talent: Odd sees and converses with ghosts, the lingering dead who have yet to pass on, a secret he has kept from nearly everyone but his girlfriend, an eccentric author friend and the local police chief, whom he occasionally helps solve terrible crimes. Odd also has the ability to see bodachs, malevolent spirits that feast on pain and whose presence signifies a likelihood of imminent violence. The proximity of bodachs to a weird-looking stranger in town, whom Odd dubs "Fungus Man," alerts Odd that trouble is brewing; breaking into Fungus Man's house, Odd discovers not only hundreds of bodachs but a shrine to serial killers that helps him deduce that somehow Fungus Man will wreak widespread havoc very soon-so Odd is caught in a classic race against time to deter catastrophe. As with Koontz's best novels, this one features electrifying tension and suspense, plus a few walloping surprises. But Koontz fans know that the author has recently added humor to his arsenal of effects, and this thriller also stands out for its brilliant tightrope walk between the amusing and the macabre; one of the dead with whom Odd interacts frequently, for instance, is Elvis, still pining for his long-dead mother, Gladys. Above all, the story, like most great stories, runs on character-and here Koontz has created a hero whose honest, humble voice will resonate with many. In some recent books, Koontz has tended to overwrite, but not here: the narrative is as simple and clear as a newborn's gaze. This is Koontz working at his pinnacle, providing terrific entertainment that deals seriously with some of the deepest themes of human existence: the nature of evil, the grip of fate and the power of love. (Dec. 9) Forecast: Koontz novels always fly up bestseller lists, and this one will, too, but there's potential for additional sales here. Of all of Koontz's many adult novels, this one, despite some rough scenes, can be, because of its warm, direct voice and inherent moralism, recommended to a mature YA readership, who will love it. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"I lead an unusual life," is the understatement of the year from Odd Thomas, the young cook at the Pico Mundo Grill. He thinks that his mother meant to name him Todd, but forgot the first letter. The name fits him, however, because he is able to see the dead and the usually invisible harbingers of doom, the Bodachs. When Fungus Man enters the diner surrounded by Bodachs, Odd knows that his life in Pico Mundo will never be the same. As he investigates further, he realizes the horror that is about to transpire. Even his love for the beautiful Stormy Llewellyn cannot protect Odd from the chaos created by the evil that has arrived. Part love story, part horror story, and part supernatural fiction, this novel will appeal to even the most ardent anti-Koontz reader. Odd's simple, honest voice will stay with readers long after the last bit of evil bears down on Pico Mundo. The love affair between Odd and Stormy will take readers expecting a standard-issue horror story by surprise, but their relationship is integral to the story, particularly the ending. The book is a well-written, well-characterized wild ride through the world of the dead and the soon-to-be dead. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Bantam, 416p., and pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
In this quick follow-up to The Face, a troubled young man named Odd Thomas struggles between past and present, life and death as he tries to head off a catastrophe that only he sees coming. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Odd Thomas is just that. He works as a fry cook in the fictional California town of Pico Mundo. Should he ever leave that position, he sees a future in selling tires or shoes. What he lacks in ambition, he makes up for with a special gift. He communes with and sees the dead, some of whom enlist his help in avenging their deaths from foul play. His gift is a secret from everyone except his beautiful girlfriend and the Chief of Police, who never questions Odd's tips, advice, or presence at a murder scene. The man sees "bodachs" as well, small, evil creatures, fluid in shape, that feed upon horrific acts of carnage. He is horrified to see hordes of them gathering in his town. He spots a weird looking stranger in whom the bodachs appear very interested, nicknames him Fungus Man, and rightly assumes that he is involved in the impending disaster. Breaking into the man's house, Odd finds a mysterious black room, a shrine to serial killers, and a page from a calendar that tells him the date of the planned event. Now it's a race against time to foil the plot. The rapid pace, eerie circumstances, and bizarre characters will keep readers turning pages. Just when the suspense is almost unbearable, Koontz exhibits his wry sense of humor to break the tension. The last chapters are so powerful and heartrending that they should be read several times.-Katherine Fitch, Rachel Carson Middle School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Koontz's suspense masterpieces (Intensity, 1996; The Face, 2002) have tight plots or strikingly enclosed worlds. But you can't win 'em all, and despite the lift he strives for, these pages go by on automatic pilot. Suspense here turns on the life of Odd Thomas, 21, an unassuming lad gifted with the power to see dead people who cannot tear themselves from Pico Mundo, Odd's small hometown abroil on the Mojave Desert-as neither can Odd, whose "agoraphobia" has not let him drive or step outside the town. Ever. Koontz focuses on the little world of Pico Mundo itself, its physical layout and the lovable eccentrics who fill it chock-a-block. Among others, there's 400-pound romance-and-mystery novelist P. Oswald Boone (better known as Little Ozzie), and Odd's landlady Rosalia Sanchez, who fears turning invisible. Odd-a flashy fry-cook-works as a kind of Tom Cruise of the griddle at Terri Stambaugh's Pico Mundo Grille. Terri is an Elvis savant who knows what the King was doing every hour of his life. Odd's confidential tie with Police Chief Wyatt Porter has led Chief Porter to varied murderers and artists of mayhem whose victims have hung around and pointed out to Odd just who murdered them. Then to the grille comes strangely fungoid Bob Robertson, followed about by black bodachs, hungry doglike shadows sniffing out folks scented with death. When Odd secretly steals into Robertson's house, he finds first a housekeeping mess, then a computer workroom of Spartan order whose files reveal the mind of a mass murderer. And Odd stumbles upon a room of pure blackness-perhaps an adjunct to King/Straub's Black House? The date August 15 is torn from Robertson's desk calendar. Terri tells Odd, who is oftenfollowed about by the tearful and warning ghost of Elvis, that Gladys Presley died on August 14 and Elvis on August 16. Does the missing date mean Robertson will go berserk on the 15th-and kill Odd as well? With its tender surprise ending, call it It's a Wonderful Sixth Sense, built out of wet pulp and milk.
"Once in a very great while, an author does everything right—as Koontz has in this marvelous novel.... the story, like most great stories, runs on character—and here Koontz has created a hero whose honest, humble voice will resonate with many.... This is Koontz working at his pinnacle, providing terrific entertainment that deals seriously with some of the deepest themes of human existence: the nature of evil, the grip of fate and the power of love."—Publishers Weekly
"Dean Koontz almost occupies a genre of his own. He is a master at building suspense and holding the reader spellbound."—Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Dean Koontz is not just a master of our darkest dreams, but also a literary juggler."—The Times (London)
"Once more Dean Koontz presents readers with a story and cast of characters guaranteed to entertain."—Tulsa World