If you are an avid reader like me, you make sure there is enough spare time in the day to get lost in the eerie, futuristic worlds of Stephen King or fall in love with Nicholas Sparks’ latest absurdly charming male lead. Although I have read what seems like a million books, none have yet to compare to “Odd Thomas,” the greatest piece of literature every written (in my opinion at least).
“Odd Thomas”, written by Shippensburg University alumn, Dean Koontz, could be classified as a mystery, thriller, dark comedy or romance novel. The story takes place in Pico Mundo, California, a small town located in the Mojave Desert.
We are introduced to the protagonist, Odd Thomas, within the first chapter. We quickly learn that Thomas has a special gift (or some say curse) of seeing the dead, which plays a large role throughout the novel. Thomas warns the reader from the very beginning that he “leads an unusual life”, and evidence of this statement can be found throughout the entire story.
Main characters include Stormy Llewellyn, Thomas’s high school sweet heart whom he is destined to be with forever; Chief Wyatt Porter, the head honcho of the Pico Mundo Police Department and also Thomas’s surrogate father; Little Ozzie, a famous four hundred pound, six fingered writer who is one of Thomas’s closest friends. Finally Fungus Man, a sadistic creep of a guy who is the assumed antagonist of the story.
The novel follows Thomas in his quest to stop a huge, disastrous event that he can feel rushing towards his little town at full speed. It is difficult to cover all of the best/most entertaining segments of the story but here are a few of the most memorable moments that might pique a reader’s interest. The bombing of a beloved plastic cow, a poltergeist’s epic meltdown, the discovery of a dead body in a bathtub, a high speed chase on foot in the pursuit of a rapist/murderer and a rescue mission performed by a stripper at a burger joint. I have never been, nor shall I ever be, a spoiler of endings, but I can tell you this, the ending of “Odd Thomas” is as genius as the ending of the film “The Sixth Sense.”
The author hits the reader with a final revelation that leaves him or her with feelings of anger, heartbreak, and disbelief. It is not only the twisting plot and lovable characters that make “Odd Thomas” one of the best novels of our time, but also Koontz’s detailed writing style. Characters and settings are described vividly, with no detail left out. The text is not overly complex which makes reading very easy, and following the story line is no problem at all. The first person point of view offers a unique perspective as the story’s events unfold, mainly because Koontz has written the novel as if Odd Thomas himself has written it as a personal manuscript. Thomas therefore only reveals to the reader what he wants to reveal and when he wants to reveal it. The writing overall flows smoothly to form a well written story.
There is so much amazing detail to the story that I could never do it justice by a simple summary. The novel is more than just a story about a man who can see dead people; it is a story about the power of friendship, the strength of true love and how persevering through life’s struggles is the only option we have.