Monday, June 8, 2009

Odd Thomas

I was able to drag myself away from the new Sims 3 computer game this weekend long enough to finish up Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I used to read quite a bit of Koontz' work, especially after reading what many consider to be his best novel, The Watcher. But then I read several in a row that seemed to fall flat and I sort of lost interest. Compounding that issue is my own "completest" mentality. I tend to want to read everything by "my" authors and if I was going to read much more of Koontz he would become one of "my" authors. So...I let quite a few years go by without picking up another Koontz novel.

I can't even remember right now how I came to possess my copy of Odd Thomas. Nevertheless, it was time for another read in the horror genre and there it was, at the top of my horror "to-be-read" pile. And, quite honestly, I knew Mr Koontz has since written several sequels...I doubt he would do that if they had not been well received. And, the concept intrigued me. Odd Thomas himself, is a 20-year old fry cook in a fictional California town. He has a pretty normal life including a girlfriend, lots of pals, and, oh yeah...he can see ghosts. He can interact minimally with them but they can't talk to him. This is a concept that has been done before but I must say, Koontz really nailed it this time. There is quite a bit of character development here and the reader really gets inside his thinking. We share his hopes and dreams as well as the more frightening aspects of his "talent'. But the book is more than just a "boy can see ghosts and helps the police solve mysteries" story. Largely due to the first person narrative format, we experience some intriguing perspectives on the very nature of good and evil, and of love and loss. The build up to the crime is well paced and brings us along for the ride. And the crime itself is a doozy; more terrorist action than crime per se. We experience the terror and the shock just as Odd Thomas does. And the final 20 pages are as emotionally charged as anything I can remember reading. I've read other opinions of this novel and most agree that Mr Koontz has returned to form with this one.

Next up is my first review under my new status as a "Vine Voice" for I'm very much looking forward to Top Producer by Nord Vonnegut.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire