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Review: “Saint Odd” by Dean Koontz

Title: Saint Odd
Author: Dean Koontz
Series: Odd Thomas #7
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Bantam, 2015

It all ends here. The three (or twelve, depending on how you look at it) year journey of everyone’s favorite fry cook now draws to a close. It should be no secret by now that I’m a huge fan of Koontz and his most popular character, and this final entry in the Odd Thomas saga was no exception even if a few elements left me underwhelmed. That said, it’s obviously not the best place to start the series.

If you measure a man by the enemies he makes, Odd Thomas counts among the giants. Several months ago his path crossed that of a malevolent cult of Satanists, this time ones that were actually tapped into some nasty supernatural powers. With the help of some new-found friends he thwarted their plans that day, but in doing so has painted a bulls-eye on his back. He is now their number one target…and it’s no secret who he is and where he comes from. If someone wanted to hurt our heroic fry cook, hitting Pico Mundo is a no-brainer. So, warned by a dream that is clearly more than the result of too much pizza, Odd is drawn back to his home town for one final confrontation. This time, what the cultists have planned will make the events at the mall years ago look like child’s play….

Like I said, I liked this one. I was a little underwhelmed by the eventual revelation of just exactly what was up with Annamaria, but I suppose that was only natural since Koontz has been teasing us with it since 2008. Given the eventual revelation, I think maybe he made it just a little too interesting for his own good–after that buildup, the answer was surprisingly uninteresting. The book could also have used a main focal villain as opposed to the faceless cult, and the series celebrity ghost cameos were also sadly lacking here. Other than that, I was more than happy with the book. Odd’s trademark humor was in evidence, as was the heart and soul that we have come to expect from the series. As a conclusion to the series, it was fairly satisfying if perhaps a little abrupt–you get the idea from previous books that there’s some grand service he’s going to have to perform for Annamaria before their adventure ends, but I guess that was me (and everyone else) reading too much into it. Maybe now Koontz will finally finish the Moonlight Bay trilogy?

CONTENT: PG-13 grade profanity, pretty standard from Koontz since his return to the faith. Strong violence, occasionally disturbing. No explicit sexual content, but there are some references to the subjects of rape and child molestation. As far as occult content goes, this is pretty comparable to the earlier books in the series. Odd sees the lingering spirits of the deceased, both benevolent and malevolent. The cultists serve a reputably-nasty demon, though the entity itself stays “off-screen.” I had no objections, but to each his own.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: “Deeply Odd” by Dean Koontz

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a huge fan of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas novels. Why it has taken me this long after its release to get around to reading Deeply Odd (*****), I actually have no idea. I can only point lamely to the massive TO-BE-READ stack of books on my shelf and stammer incoherently. Nevertheless, I have now read all of the extant Odd Thomas books. Not all of them that there will be, God willing, as Koontz obviously has an endgame in mind for the character, but this brings me up to date with his publishing schedule. And the good news is, its a better spot to hang out than the ending of Odd Hours, which drove me nuts for years while we waited for Koontz to actually produce a new entry in Odd’s memoirs. Given that this is a series, this review may contain spoilers for previous Odd Thomas adventures.

Odd’s had an eventful three months. First he foiled the terrorist plot in Magic Beach, then the very next day found himself in the strangely sinister roadside outpost of Harmony Corner before moving on to Roseland and ending a madman’s plot to become immortal no matter the cost. For the past several months he and Annamaria have been living in a small California village that he barely bothers to name while he attempts to recuperate from having to take on this veritable $#!^storm of evil, but that period of rest is put to an end when a chance encounter with a demented rhinestone cowboy sets him on the trail of a trio of kidnapped children. Unless Odd can stop them, the cult to which the rhinestone maniac belongs will sacrifice them with a number of others in a dark and perverted ritual. New enemies, new allies, and a new understanding of the nature of the world all await Odd as he embarks on what could be his most harrowing adventure yet, one that will set him on his way towards the final leg of his journey….

What can I say about this book that I haven’t said about previous entries in the series? I think this was one of the better ones, although the first half was a little slow. Odd Thomas continues to be one of my favorite characters of all time, and I love the way Koontz is able to communicate that, for all the evil that exists in the world–and there is evil, have no doubt about that–there is good as well, and that the good is stronger in the end. He is also adept at bringing humor to every situation, usually through Odd’s internal dialogue. I very much look forward to reading the upcoming final chapter to Odd’s adventures, though I will be sad to see them end.

CONTENT: PG-13 language, with the implication that Odd is filtering out a good deal of R-rated language from the baddies. Brief sexual innuendos. Violence, occasionally somewhat disturbing. Occult content: Odd can see the dead, and interacts with (read: fights) a foul demonic entity intent on stealing his soul. The villains are cultists who plan to sacrifice a number of children to some dark demonic entity, so if the presence of such stuff offends you (or you object to Koontz vilifying Satanists) you may want to stay away. I would personally defend the book on the point of it being redemptive and on the point that all those intentionally interacting with these demons (as opposed to interacting with them while trying to thwart them) are unquestionably villains, but that’s just me.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: “Odd Apocalypse” by Dean Koontz

Weird….thought I had posted this already. Must have lost it when my computer went wonky a couple months ago. Anyway, I’m in the middle of the next Odd Thomas book (Deeply Odd) right now, so this one had better go up quick!

As we open Odd Apocalypse (*****), Odd and Annamaria have survived their detour in Harmony Corner (Odd Interlude), and we catch up with them on the next stop of their journey. This time they are staying in Roseland, the opulent and pristine home of a rich recluse. Ostensibly built by a Hollywood mogul from the early days of cinema, Roseland is built like a fortress with massive stone walls surrounding it and bars on all the windows. What was the estate built to guard against? Why are the occupants so secretive? Why does Odd keep seeing flashes of an apocalyptic future? And most importantly, who is the boy that Annamaria insists Odd is here to save?

Koontz delivers yet another Odd Thomas adventure that is spot-on. The thrills, chills and mystery never let up from page one as Odd evades weaponized mutants from the future while battling an evil that is all-too-human. This is at least a little better closing than was Odd Hours, which was almost a cliffhanger, but I suppose that doesn’t matter because Deeply Odd is out already, so….

Content: Koontz is making an effort to remove R-rated language from these books, so probably PG-13 on that count. There’s a fair amount of violence, and the outcome of some of this violence is disturbing. There is also some discussion of sexual content, but nothing too explicit.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: “Odd Interlude” by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas is back! After an absence of many years from the publishing scene following the release of Odd Hours, we have more Odd Thomas books! (Yes, I know I’m late. I was broke. Shut up.) Odd Interlude (*****) was first published as a three-part ebook novella, only later collected and published in a hard copy form. Honestly, nothing here is going to change your understanding of the other Odd Thomas books. That’s no reason not to read this, however. It’s a wonderful ride, as is nearly every other installment in the series. (I’m not really a fan of Forever Odd, which is a matter of record.)

This particular installment in Odd’s adventures is set immediately after the close of Odd Hours as Odd and Annamaria leave Magic Beach behind them in the car they borrowed from Hutch at the end of that volume. As they travel towards whatever end Odd’s eventual destiny is drawing him towards, they stop for the night in Harmony Corner, a quaint little roadside outpost. To anyone else, Harmony Corner would seem an inviting place–a diner, a gas station and garage, cabins for rent…all presided over by the extensive Harmony clan. Should be a great place, right? Then why does the whole place make Odd’s flesh crawl?

Longtime Koontz fans will recognize the setting of certain parts of this story. We got a brief hint in Odd Hours that Odd and Christopher Snow, protagonist of Koontz’s novels Fear Nothing and Seize The Night, share the same world. In Odd Hours Odd has a shirt he bought at a thrift shop with the words “Mystery Train” emblazoned across the front. With Odd Interlude, the connection is made explicit. Harmony Corner is only a couple miles from a fun little place called Fort Wyvern, a military base supposedly abandoned after the Cold War. Readers of Christopher Snow’s books will know Wyvern isn’t nearly as abandoned as is supposed, and is not a place you want to go poking around. Not a longtime Koontz reader? You won’t get too lost. You’ll just miss that chill that runs down your spine when you realize that Wyvern has birthed yet one more evil to unleash on Koontz’s protagonists.

Oh, and if you’ve been a Koontz fan from the beginning, one of the Snow books made a reference to being in the same world as Watchers, so there’s that.

Content advisories
Language: PG-13. Brief, but occasionally strong. Koontz has been making a notable effort to reduce this in his more recent books, but it doesn’t feel forced.
Violence: PG-13. People die, but usually not in grotesque detail. There is tragedy, but it is balanced with hope. Still, occasionally disturbing. Another factor: the lingering dead. These can be a little grotesque at times, depending on the manner of their demise.
Sex: PG-13. The subjects of rape and child molestation occasionally come up in the course of Odd’s adventures, given that he sometimes runs into the lingering spirits of victims of such crimes. Not explicit, not gratuitous, but not for kids either.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: “Odd Hours” by Dean Koontz

In Odd Thomas, we are introduced to our hero and his abilities. Forever Odd is more of the same. In Brother Odd we begin to get the sense that all is not as Odd—and by extension us, the readers—have assumed. We begin to get the idea that this series—and thus Odd’s fate—is actually going somewhere, that he has a purpose beyond helping out the odd lingering soul and that there is a grand crescendo somewhere in his future if he can survive that long. With Odd Hours (*****), that grand destiny becomes even more tantalizing. To quote the Bard, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy…..”

Odd Thomas has had prescient dreams before, that is nothing new. Except that this time if he fails to head off the destruction he has been dimly shown, the consequences will be greater than ever before and the death toll catastrophic….for the entire nation. But the villains are on to him, and they have the full backing of the local government behind them. Can Odd Thomas stop them before they pull off a governmental coup straight out of a Ludlum novel? And who is the mysterious Annamaria that features in his vision and yet commands such intuitive trust from Odd?

When I first read this, I found it incredibly frustrating. This was as far as the series went, back then, and it was abundantly clear that this was not the end. The demonic coyotes and Annamaria are not even remotely explained or wrapped up, implying they are being seeded for a later book. Now there are two or three more books (depending on when you read this) and I can only hope Koontz has continued his genius….

Content advisories:
Language: PG-13. Brief, but occasionally strong. Even PG-13 films are allowed two F-bombs these days, so I think this is a safe rating across the board.
Violence: PG-13. People die, but usually not in grotesque detail. There is tragedy, but it is balanced with hope. Still, occasionally disturbing. Another factor: the lingering dead. These can be a little grotesque at times, depending on the manner of their demise.
Sex: PG-13. The subjects of rape and child molestation occasionally come up in the course of Odd’s adventures, given that he sometimes runs into the lingering spirits of victims of such crimes. Not explicit, not gratuitous, but not for kids either.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: Odd Passenger (2009 Webseries)

Creator: Dean Koontz
Writer: Jerry White
Director: Jack Paccione, Jr.

I’m a huge Odd Thomas fan. This is a four-part webisode series available here on YouTube that follows Odd as he hitchhikes between Brother Odd and Odd Hours. The first episode is basically his “I’m Odd Thomas, and I see dead people” spiel, followed by the hook to get you to watch the other three episodes. We catch up to Odd as he hitchhikes, being picked up by a man named Perkins. Odd goes to throw his bag in the backseat, only to see a lingering young woman with an X carved on her forehead who solemnly points at Perkins. “Some days are more interesting than others….”

Anthony Marks, the young man playing Odd isn’t really how I pictured the character, but that’s okay. His performance worked well enough, and they managed to get the right tone with the voiceover narration, which is one of the things I’ve always felt they would have a hard time with if they filmed the books. Definitely worth the fifteen to twenty minutes it takes to watch the series, especially if you’re as much of a fan of the series as I am.

UPDATE: This is apparently not canon, as Odd later states in Deeply Odd that he’s only met one other person who could see spirits, meaning the young British lad he mentions that gave the Bodachs their name. Still worth seeing, but be aware of its non-canonical state.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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Review: “Brother Odd” by Dean Koontz

Remember when I reviewed Forever Odd and said that while I still love the series, the sequels to Odd Thomas just don’t manage to match the charm of the first one? Yeah, it had been too long since I read Brother Odd (*****). I won’t say this is BETTER than Odd Thomas, but it is just as good in different ways. Forever Odd for me fell a little flat–it was good, it was an Odd Thomas adventure after all–but if the offhand references to anecdotes and prior happenings Odd keeps tossing out are any indication, it was far from his most interesting adventure (If you’ve read them, you’ll understand this is less saying its boring and more saying that one of those may have made a better book). And not all that important, really. Nothing of significance to Odd’s life really happens, aside from his journey to the monastary at the end. Whereas Brother Odd is riveting without losing the Odd Thomas charm, an incredibly significant event in Odd’s life, and offers the first hints at a larger story in play here. To say more would offer a disservice to the book, so I’ll simply paraphrase the bard, “There is far more in heaven and earth, Odd Thomas, than is dreamed of in your philosophy….”

Language: Brief, but occasionally strong.
Violence: PG-13. People die, but usually not in grotesque detail. There is tragedy, but it is balanced with hope. Still, occasionally disturbing. Another factor: the lingering dead. These can be a little grotesque at times, depending on the manner of their demise.
Sex: PG at most.

THE ODD THOMAS SERIES, BY DEAN KOONTZ
Prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever
Book I: Odd Thomas
Book II: Forever Odd
Book III: Brother Odd
Book IV: Odd Hours
Interlude: Odd Interlude
Book V: Odd Apocalypse
Book VI: Deeply Odd
Book VII: Saint Odd
Manga Prequel Series
Odd Passenger (Non-Canon Webseries)

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