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Odd Thomas #1

Odd Thomas

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He's Odd. Odd Thomas, to be precise. Genius fry-cook at the Pico Mundo Grill; boyfriend to the gorgeous Stormy Llewellyn - and possibly the only person with a chance of stopping one of the worst crimes in the bloody history of murder...

Something evil has come to the desert town that Odd and Stormy call home. It comes in the form of a mysterious man with a macabre appetite, a filing cabinet full of information on the world's worst killers, and strange, hyena-like shadows following him wherever he goes. Odd is worried. He knows things, sees things - about the living, the dead, and the soon-to-be dead. Things that he has to act on. Now he's terrified for Stormy, himself and Pico Mundo. Because he knows that on Wednesday August 15, a savage, blood-soaked whirlwind of violence and murder will devastate the town...

Today is August 14.
And Odd is far from sure he can stop the coming storm...

446 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Dean Koontz

955 books35.1k followers
Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Facebook: Facebook.com/DeanKoontzOfficial
Twitter: @DeanKoontz
Website: DeanKoontz.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,263 reviews
Profile Image for Aaron Woodsworth.
18 reviews27 followers
June 23, 2008
I haven't read Dean Koontz in years, and I wanted to see if I'd made a hasty judgment about him being not so good. He wrote a book called "Lightning" that I liked, but others I read were, as they say, "Meh." I picked up this book and the next in the series, "Forever Odd," and thought "sure, why not?"

Let me answer that question for you:

Dean Koontz' 20 year old I-see-dead-people fry cook character reads like a 20 year old written by a 50-something year old that assumes he can write a believable 20 year old character. Obviously it can be done well by many, but it doesn't work here. 20 yr. olds don't talk like this, they don't think like this, and the last time I met a 20 yr. old male that was vice free and often thought to himself that he'd have fit better in the 1950s---and is a virgin---AND wasn't Mormon was...well, I'm still waiting. Sure, one of those factors is easy enough to find, but the combination is rare enough to give one pause.

Do you like books that end at least 15 chapters with a "something bad was on it's way," or "I could feel the danger drawing near," or "Oh my God, things are about to get terrifying!" sort of sentence? Well, this book is up your alley, because about 70% of it feels like that ghost story you heard at camp that took hours and ended up being a kitten trapped in the closet and you wanted to poke the kid who told it but he was the Scout Master's son so you just walked off and cursed under your breath. That's not a spoiler. It's not a kitten that ultimately shows up to let loose the horrors---but that would have been better than what does come.

Do you like books that feature a morbidly obese best friend/mentor character, and every scene with that character reads like "You are my friend, but your weight worries me, and I care about you so stop being fat, please." And the friend says "I am glad a fat guy like me can have a friend like you, being as fat as I am---and hey, watch out for my cat, he's fat as well." If so, then this book is for you! Every scene---and it's not just fat characters---reads like judgment, which gets annoying fast.

Do you like books that inexplicably feature the ghost of Elvis, and the only music that people listen to are songs by, you guessed it, Elvis! And you get to learn lots of trivia about the King, because one of the main characters is obsessed with him. Yep. 20 yr. olds listen to Elvis all day, don't they?

And though this has nothing to do with Koontz' writing, it bugs me nonetheless: I don't like the fact that I have to pretend when looking at Koontz' author photo where he sports a thick brown mop of hair that when I read him in the 80s he looked like Dr. Phil. Maybe not that bald, but balder than now, that's for sure. I don't like that I'm supposed to just pretend that this new thick hair is real. The fiction has to stop somewhere, doesn't it? I think so. That just bugs me a little...

I'd write more, but why, really? I may be a bit more harsh than usual, but I just read 2 of these back to back, and am not going to follow Odd to go live in a monastery for the 3rd book, or wherever else he goes in the 4th that's out now. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you have to read the bad with the good in order to appreciate the talent of the writers you love. Koontz isn't a horrible writer, it's just not good, and it's really just not for me. Clearly he's doing ok, and sells books like crazy, so I don't think he'll be worried that I'm not riding in his bandwagon. And honestly, more power to him. This may be somebody's favorite book, and that's great, that's the beauty of books---we don't all have to like the same thing. That said, we're probably much more likely to get along well if this isn't in your top 100.

That's all. Two books. One star.

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
December 15, 2017
Hooray for Odd Thomas!

That’s really his name, by the way.

Dean Koontz has made a winner with this 2003 publication that spawned ten other works (as of 2015) and a 2013 film.

First of all, Koontz crafted in Odd a very likeable hero. Notice I did not use the term protagonist, as Odd is a real hero, doing what is right, having fun with it, and being an all around great guy. Odd’s heroism is emphasized by his comparison to his thoroughly unlikeable and completely unsympathetic parents. By showing us Odd’s parents, Koontz also adds depth and character to the already interesting storyline.

And he sees dead people.

Odd also sees what he calls bodachs. These are wolfish, shadowy creatures of unknown origin that might be demons, or they might be something else. Koontz’ creation of these beings allows him to maximize the creepy factor of this horror / thriller / paranormal thoroughly unique and way cool narrative. The Bodachs also allow a furtherance of Koontz’ brilliant use of foreshadowing. In one respect, the shade-like bodachs may be the literary embodiment of foreshadowing and Koontz even allows a brief description of the beasts that suggests this.

Odd also has a sixth sense, what he calls psychic magnetism that allows him a fun perspective on all the supernatural shenanigans going on.

Finally, Odd Thomas is simply a well put together and charismatic good read.

Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
May 19, 2023
“Only once in a generation does anything as fresh as a vomiting detective come along.”
Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas can see dead (or is that murdered?) people, and when he does, Goddamn he'll help them! Odd is a 20-year old short order cook with a dark talent that he makes the most of to do good. What makes this book special is the uniqueness and freshness of Odd and the supporting cast, including the café and the town itself.

What Koontz does really well is to veer away from the ominous haunted backdrops and tell this unique and at times dark story in a genuinely 'nice town' with 'nice people' which give any horrors found that more potency. At the time of reading one of my fave Koontz books. 7.5 out of 12. Three Star read

2010 and 2006
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
765 reviews757 followers
July 11, 2018
I usually do not read supernatural books. When I read Chain Letter 2 back in high school, I went against popular opinion and rated Chain Letter 1 higher, because 2 was a premise with supernatural events.

Back to Odd Thomas, I loved reading even the low key chapters. Dean Koontz has a knack for oozing interesting things from even the most mundane thoughts or settings.

I feared who would die in the end, and I was surprised. I cried like a kid and I recommend Odd Thomas, and I'm going to read book 2 for sure, sooner or later. These days I rarely cry because of books, but here I was overcome.
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books812 followers
March 7, 2021
This is a very strange and quirky story. I can't say that I loved the writing style, but it was good enough to keep me invested. Odd Thomas is so hapless and unsure of himself, but follows his instincts, even when his logic tries to tell him otherwise. Also, coming from a traumatic upbringing, I found it really refreshing how Koontz used Odd's earlier years and unfit parents as the catalysts for his unique abilities with the undead. There are several times that I found myself thinking, "Just let this poor kid get back in the kitchen to do what he loves, love Stormy and leave him be," lol. The details were strong, but greatly overdone (Fungus Man's descriptions had me queasy!) at times. I found myself frequently getting sidetracked by some of the side stories of Pico Mundo and the other residents that were scattered throughout. I just don't think they were all pertinent and just extended the story unnecessarily. Beyond that, the book moved along with a tremendous amount of buildup to the climax, but I did feel that the conclusion fell a little flat. I understand that this is the first in a series, so I anticipated some cliffhangers, but just felt there could have been a little more here. Overall, I think it was a pretty decent read.
Profile Image for Not Now...Mommy's Reading.
258 reviews114 followers
June 7, 2008
Best Read of 2004!!! Wow! What a way to start a new year. This is the first book I've read by Dean Koontz and I'm kicking myself in the behind for overlooking the man for some many years! After this review, I will make it a point to get my hands on a copy of everything the man has ever written.

I first mentioned this book to my ex-husband after coming across it in the bookstore early December. Back cover seemed interesting enough but, not being a fan of Koontz, I decided to put it on my "wish list". A few days later, my husband handed me the book (God Bless The Man! *grin)and with the first words ("My name is Odd Thomas...") - I was hooked!

There are no simple words to describe this book - it is a literary masterpiece. There were times when I forgot that I was reading a book and felt as if I were reading a memoir of sorts (in fact, it is from this view that Odd presents his story to the reader). You not only get to know each of the different characters Odd encounters in his life (each unique in their own ways) but you begin to care about what happens to these people. Many times I held my breath, struggling to keep my eyes from leaping to the paragraph below to see what fate awaited a member of Odd's "family".

I've read some pretty good books in '04 but one of my biggest complaints have been that the books start off very well but I find myself rushing through the ending. I clung to every word in this book, sometimes stopping to savor a particular phrase delivered by the narrator. And the ending delivered! Man, the writing is nothing less than awesome! So simplistic and yet so genius!

Hats off to Mr. Dean Koontz for a magnificent job!
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,986 followers
February 9, 2016
This was one weird story that ramped up to great 4 star finish. I was skeptical through the first 3/4 of the book or so, I even had a hard time staying interested, but the end was great. I look forward to more in the series.
Profile Image for Maciek.
567 reviews3,410 followers
September 17, 2010
As a kid, the first thing I did when I was coming back from school was stop by at the library. I used to check out various mystery novels - like those with The Three Investigators, a saga that has remained a favorite and to this day I'm fond of it - and one day the librarian (God bless her) decided that I was mature enough (meaning I started growing whiskers) and recommended Stephen King.

Needless to say, I started to read one King book after the other in quick succesion, sometimes even two at the same time. I was addicted, much like a heroin addict that needs his fix, I checked out a new King book every day.

And then came the unavoidable sad day when there were no new books by King on the library shelf. Since my memories were still too vivid for a re-read, I decided to look for a new author who has released many interesting titles tha would interest a lad like me. I asked the everhelpful librarian, and she pointed me to a shelf directly below the one of the King.

It was labeled: "Dean R. Koontz".

I checked out my first book by the smiling bald guy with a moustache (can't remember what it was), took it home and read quickly. I felt that it was missing something, but still I was entertained enough to come back and check out another. And then another. I've read over a dozen or so of his titles, when new books by King came into library; I checked them out, but from that time on I switched between the two authors just for the fun of it. Koontz was my bubble gum; tasty, but the taste evaporated quickly and you had to take another if you wanted to enjoy it again.

I think I'll spare you the rest of my life story and get on with reviewing the book. I bought Odd Thomas the year it came out (or was it a year later? Can't remember). Every reviewer was raving about it which I found surprising - Koontz was always a low-key author, and never received much publicity despite being one of the highest earning American writers. He was the sort of guy who was always there but didn't stick his head out, always had a personal shelf at the library, always released a book each year that you could read, forget and then remember about him when he released a new one. So when Odd Thomas caught attention by many reviewers on various web sites I decided to check it out myself. I bough an used copy through the web, received it, sat in my favorite armchair and began to read.

Odd Thomas, proudly bearing the title of "a novel" is written from the perspective of a 20 year old Odd, a guy who can see dead people...and does something about it. The first-person narrative has been done by Koontz before, most notably in "Fear Nothing" and "Seize The Night" - the reader can't help but notice the similarities in style and form.

Since Odd Thomas is a character driven novel, maybe we should begin by saying something about them. Characterization was always Koontz's Achilles' heel, and unfortunately it shows in this book. Odd is the type of a literary 20 year old written by a 60-something year old who thinks he can write a cute,sympathetic and witty 20 year old and at the same time slip in some of his disdain for the modern times. Odd doesn't come out as cute and eccentric though; rather boring and preachy. A self-procclaimed carryover from the 50's, Odd lives in the new millenium and stays alive only by listening to Elvis (who also has a supporting role as a ghost) and is heavy on keeping his virginity. Did he forgot that the 50's brough the baby boomers? Was he ever in school? 20 year olds don't talk like this, don't think like this and most importantly don't sound like Dean Koontz.

Speaking of whom, everyone in this novel sounds like Dean Koontz or if he doesn't then he's the bad guy. Koontz simplifies the matter to the utmost - everyone either falls in love with Odd, or is concerned by fulfilling his own hedonistic pursuits. Odd's literary, obese friend Little Ozzie is essentially Koontz with opened Wikipedia, and shooting random facts and quotations. Not to mention that he STILL cannot make people talk like real people...only his impressions of them. When will he learn?

I've heard comparisons between Odd Thomas and M.Night Shyamalan's famous movie The Sixth Sense. They are without substance; The Sixth Sense is one of the most moving and memorable motion pictures I have ever seen. In Odd Thomas seeing dead people serves as Koontz's remedy of getting out from various plot holes; as does having a blind friend who can read a braille card Odd has just found, etc.

The writing style is largely intrusive, overtly verbose and tedious. Instead of using simple descriptions that worked so well in the past Koontz seems content with opening his thesauruses and conjuring up metaphors that completely break the flow of the story. Not that there's much of the story going on; it's constantly interrupted by Koontz's inclusion of various facts about the average number of people being born with six fingers, the biographies of Elvis and Sinatra and even the explanation of various commands shouted at the grille where Odd works (they really weren't that hard to figure out). That's Dean's biggest problems - he not only shows but also tells, tells and tells to be sure you got his point.

The biggest flaw of the book is the narration method. At the beginning, Koontz states EXPLICITLY that Odd will be an unreliable narrator, and even says what exactly he will do to make his narration unreliable. He also spoils the classic Christie novel and reveals the murdered, in case you didn't get his point. This is stupid beyond redemption. The sole point of employing an unreliable narrator in fiction is not letting the audience know that there is one. Well, Koontz seems to not notice this after over four decades of writing 15 hours a day, and the "big surprise" at the end comes as a yawn.

The identity of the evildoers is very disappointing, and the ending confrontation is solved way too fast and way too easy.

Overall, the experience is disappointing. There is an interesing story hidden in Odd Thomas - the one you used to watch as a kid, in shows like "Goosebumps" - but Odd Thomas is marketed at an adult audience, and fails as adult fiction because of Koontz's ineptitude at drawing realistic, likeable characters and writing dialogue (he's truly horrible at it), his tedious writing style and his mistrust of the audience - he truly does spell out every single thing in detail. As a children book it fails too, because of Koontz's inclusion of gruesome details of various crimes, which were supposed to be shocking and mature but turn out to be boring instead. If he only cut up the metaphors, created stronger characters who behave and talk like normal people Odd Thomas might have been an enjoyable bus book. It just needs too much suspension of disbelief to be read. It's still better than all the sequels though, which make me think: When will Koontz stop cashing in on this fluke and start writing like he did in the 80's? I don't like the work of this new guy with a clean shaven sagging face and a mop of fake hair.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,205 reviews1,329 followers
November 29, 2018
I’ve not read much Koontz but this seemed like a popular one, I’m even planning to watch the film afterwards.

I liked how the story was narrated through Odd, it was really easy to get a feel for the character.
Whilst working as a short order cook young Odd has the ability to see dead people, I instantly thought of Sixth Sense.

In truth this novel reminded me of a few other well known books, the most obvious being Stephen King’s The Dead Zone as Odd has a premonition that something bad is about to happen.
One of the ghosts that hangs around near Odd is a well known celebrity, I won’t spoil the surprise but he has also appeared in another supernatural book series.

Even though it felt like treading old ground, Odd is such a great character who I was happy to spend time with.
I definitely want to read more Koontz, I’d be happy to continue with this series.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews625 followers
December 16, 2014
Odd Thomas is a 20-year old fry cook, and he can see dead people. It's either a gift or a curse. In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe, and it's up to Odd to try and prevent it.

The thing with this novel is that the plot was terribly slow. Koontz served up a lot of character building, a lot being the first 1/3 of the novel. That is pretty normal, but the result should be satisfactory. While I am really liking Odd as a character, I just don't see him as a 20 year old kid. He seemed like someone who's 30+ years old. He seemed to have so much knowledge crammed in his 20 year old brain. It's just not normal. I'm 19 years old, and I don't think like he does. He was planning marriage as soon as possible, and that is really not normal. Stormy was also quite unrealistic. I don't see why she keeps up with Odd, to be honest. I didn't hate her as a character, but I didn't like her much, compared to other lover of the main character characters.

Like I said the plot was slow, and at the time wherein it improved, it was still lacking. This is shelved as horror, and 1018 people contributed to that happening. I don't see this as horror at all. Paranormal maybe, because of the ghosts, but even the possibility of the things that happened in the novel happening in real life is quite unlikely. I liked the whole I can talk to ghosts thing Koontz made, but it hasn't grown on me yet. This is the first novel though, and I'm expecting the next one to be a huge improvement.

Whenever I ask people to recommend another author who is quite similar to my favorite, Stephen King, the immediate answer would be Dean Koontz. He does write horror books, and a lot of paranormal ones too, but if I were to judge that comparison based on Odd Thomas, I would honestly say that I can't see the similarities. Koontz writes a lot of info dumps, and takes forever to make the reader like the character/s(for me). I keep hearing amazing things about his other novels though, so I might have to give those a try before concluding. The first novel of his that I've read was not the best, but I'm not giving up on the author, and the series.

3/5 stars. Mediocre plot and quite likeable but unrealistic characters. I'm hoping to have a better opinion and experience with the second novel.
August 17, 2016
My sister and I listened to this in the car on our trips around town. In that week or more we spent together, I felt like Odd became part of my life. I was rather sad when it ended. I appreciated the audiobook format very much. I think it was very immersive, and Koontz words were very poetic. Odd is such a unique guy. He's got a pure heart and that's saying something. His gift has made his life very difficult, but he doesn't take it like a curse. It's his life, and he takes ownership of that. He protects his town of Pico Mundo with a steadfast and vigilant dedication, and his only aspiration in life is to be with his true love, Stormy Llewellyn.

"Odd Thomas" is a story about a young man who sees ghosts and who does his part to resolve what has wronged them. When he meets a very strange man on what seems like a typical day, his life will change inevitably.

This book takes place over a short few days, but they are action packed days for Odd and the reader. He's trying to solve a mystery. What is drawing all these boggarts, which are dark spirits that Odd sees when something bad is going to happen. The weird man that Odd calls Fungus Man has so many around him that it makes Odd suspicious, and when he goes to the man's house, he sees something terrible, that makes Odd's fears for the town grow exponentially. This suspense thread goes throughout the book and leads to a dramatic conclusion.

Odd is a bit of an unlikely hero, but he is perfectly suited to be the hero of this novel. His way of processing things is very down-to-earth but quite brilliant. I love a good mystery with an intelligent sleuth, and while this is a ghost story, this is also a good suspense story.

It's also heartbreaking because you know that no matter what Odd does, people are going to die. He can only minimize the damage. In that sense, and in others, Odd is a very tragic hero. When the reader gets a glimpse at Odd's family life, it makes you wonder how this young man can be so well-adjusted, friendly, oddly hopeful, and in his own way content. But the good news is although his family is pretty awful, he has formed his own family of friends who love him deeply.

"Odd Thomas" is different for Koontz, but some of those touches that are so integral to his style are there. This is like his version of the coming of age novel, with a boy-man who sees ghosts and rights their wrongs, his typical sicko villain. I recommend reading this, and if you can get the audiobook version, I especially recommend that.
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,822 reviews427 followers
January 1, 2023
This was a very interestingly told tale. The tale was a good one, but the telling was sometimes quite disjointed.

Odd is a likable character with an interesting ability. It was great to see that he actually had others' support with his gift, and this book set up an easy path for further books in the series. I will be continuing to Odd's future forays.

Odd's mom could be in the running for worst mother of the universe, and her parts in the story were tough to stomach. That ending was brutal, though, for sure. So many different pathways that led to the wrap-up of Book 1.

4/5 Stars
Profile Image for Amber.
1,029 reviews
July 8, 2018
This was a buddy read I did at the Reading for Pleasure book club here on Goodreads.

Odd Thomas is a short order fry cook who communes and sees the dead. When he discovers a dangerous man named Fungus man a.k.a. Bob Robertson surrounded by bodachs, Odd discovers that tragedy and chaos is coming soon to Pico mundo. Can he protect his one true love Stormy as well as his friends and family from the danger? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read . Though I have seen the film adaptation , this is my first time reading this book which is first of a series. If you enjoy books about ghosts with action and adventure, check this book out. I look forward to continuing the series in the future. Look for this at your local library and wherever books are sold.

Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,133 followers
September 29, 2013
I had no interest in reading ODD THOMAS when it first came out. Although Watchers, Lightning, and some of Koontz's older novels are some of my favorites, I had read a few of his more recent novels and had been a little disappointed. But...I was browsing in the used book store and decided what the heck, I will pick up a copy just in case I ever change my mind. It took 7 years.

 photo 0b64cdd4-c76b-40e8-a347-b0fdb8826fef_zpsc0cc0b9a.jpg

The great thing about it taking 7 years is I forgot what the book was about so I got to have the "Big Ahhhaaaaa" moment in the first chapter. Sometimes being clueless CAN be a good thing.

In almost all of the Dean Koontz books I have read, I find that I quickly grow attached to central characters he introduces. I am always on board with them on their journeys and adventures, and constantly worry about their welfare. This was no exception. ODD THOMAS had me at hello!
Profile Image for Michelle .
286 reviews92 followers
February 18, 2021
Odd Thomas is my very first Dean Koontz novel. I only started it because it was available on my Libby app and I needed something to listen to while waiting for another book. So I went in with zero expectations.

What I ended up with is my next must-read series.

Odd is a pure-hearted protagonist with psychic sixth sense and the ability to see dead people. It was a blast following him as he chased bodachs, hung with a celebrity ghost, and solved a deadly mystery.

The book started slow but it is the kind of story that grows and evolves, getting better with every chapter.

All the characters are deliciously quirky from Odd's boss, the Elvis trivia savant, to his frighteningly terrible parents.

The end was pulse pounding. I was riveted as the climax and consequential results unfolded in perfectly paced prose. There are few books with the ability to put me through the emotional wringer. But Odd Thomas was certainly one. I went from being chilled to the bone to basking in warmth of its wholesomeness to total devastation.

I can't wait for more from this series and this author. A special shout out to David Aaron Baker for the exceptional narration.
Profile Image for Mara.
401 reviews282 followers
February 2, 2015
There are plenty of prolific authors out there with whom I'm completely unfamiliar. It was only a few years ago that I “met” (and fell hard for) Stephen King. So I decided to give Dean Koontz a whirl, and (as suggested by my lone star rating) Odd Thomas and I did't exactly hit it off.

I get the whole different strokes for different folks thing, but I just couldn't handle the saccharine sweet (e.g. “My favorite body part is my heart...”), at times infuriatingly repetitive narrative voice of Odd "Yes That's My Real Name" Thomas. The premise for the book is simply not all that hard to follow—Odd sees dead people. So, there's no need to expressly state that *insert character's name here* (who doesn't see dead people) might have a different take on the world.

Then there are topics/references tossed in that just felt forced. September 11th comes up a couple times, pedophilia and molestation are in there for good measure, and then there's Odd's bizarre understanding of autism. I'm no expert on the etiology of autism spectrum disorders, but Odd's rationale for avoiding big cities— that, in the face of so many lingering dead, he “would no doubt quickly seek escape in autism or suicide” —left me feeling a bit thrown. It doesn't come up again, other than transitioning to the next thought with “Not yet either dead or autistic…” But WTF?!?

Long of the short, Odd Thomas is not for me. I'd be open to giving Koontz another try, but, after this one, I'm in no hurry.
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,635 followers
November 23, 2012

Dean Koontz is an incredible author - one of my favorite in the PNR/Horror genre, and every Koontz book I've read has been fast paced, scary but not terrifying and, start to finish, grabs hold, doesn't let go.
“The dead don't talk. I don't know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares—and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.
Odd Thomas is a great start to the series. All the necessary world building is done so that it's interesting, funny and yes, even believable! Odd Thomas is the kind of guy I wish lived outside the pages of a book, because I'd love to know the 'real' him. He is kind, honest, funny and... he sees dead people. What more could you want in a friend?

If you enjoy humorous stories with a paranormal twist, be sure to check out this series.
Profile Image for Paul.
177 reviews59 followers
October 20, 2020
Hmmmm..... I wrote a review and now it seems to have vanished.

Ok, briefly, one of Koontz's better ideas, however still way too verbose but fortunately,skipping paragraphs is a breeze and you won't lose a thing. Unfortunately he continues with underwhelming character development (every character seems to think like a nerdy lonely and sometimes angry middle-aged man (he can not even closely get into the head of what a woman would/might think)).
STILL, there are a couple ok twists. :-D
3 solid stars.
Profile Image for Chris.
525 reviews83 followers
December 14, 2011
Caution: comments contain spoilers.

I like Dean Koontz but I am not a big fan. I don't know if the stories seem too generic or the characters are too standard in my view, but he gets me about 60% of the way there most times. I have actually put down a few of his books after about 50 pages because I simply lost interest. I know that he is wildly popular so obviously others don't share this view. Odd Thomas, both the novel and the character, were different for me though. The idea of someone being able to see and interact with ghosts is hardly original with Koontz. This territory was tread in Sixth Sense and taken farther and darker in Kealan Patrick Burke's Turtle Boy series, among many others. I think it is what Odd Thomas, the character, brings to this story that makes it stand out. He carries in him a sadness, a fatalism, combined with a self-deprecation and appreciation of his own weaknesses that made him and this story stand out to me---and make me want to read more in the series. He is also funny as hell, which I definitely did not expect. The whole narrative is told by Odd Thomas himself (who has no confidence in himself as a proper or even reliable narrator) in a quirky and meandering fashion that invites us not to take anything seriously even when as the story gets darker and creepier. I found myself genuinely creeped out several times and that is a really good thing. 5 Stars.
Profile Image for Scott Seaborn.
38 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2009
I REALLY wanted to like this novel. The first chapter hooked me-- bad stuff is going to happen to the likable guy who sees dead people. And NOTHING happens for the next 200 pages. Well, almost nothing-- Odd discovers this Black Room with mysteriously cool properties. The Black Room keeps me hooked a little bit longer....but Koontz doesn't even explain what it is or why it's important to the plot. I spent the next 300 pages waiting for Odd to go back to the room, but it's not even mentioned again.

Minus the Black Room concept, the book is awful--lame villains, horrible dialogue, and unbelievable situations. Did I mention unbelievable situations? Yeah, Odd and his girlfriend are discussing running off and getting married in Vegas and/or eating tacos while some cataclysmic event looms.

I wanted to stop reading, but I was hoping there would be some huge payoff in the end (ie: cataclysmic event or a Black Room explanation). Instead, Koontz ends the novel with a cataclysmically bad and unnecessary plot device that ruined the book even further. As I was reading, I genuinely thought that Koontz published this novel as a big joke-- "Look, my name alone can sell a million copies of crap."

No more Koontz or Odd for me.

One side note: this novel DID inspire me to write my own fiction. If this guy can do it, anyone can.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,284 reviews80 followers
March 31, 2022
4 Stars for Odd Thomas: Odd Thomas Series, Book 1 (audiobook) by Dean Koontz read by David Aaron Baker.

I think I was expecting a different kind of story from Koontz. The story feels to me like a YA version of I see dead people. That’s not bad, it’s just not what I was expecting. Although I also didn’t didn’t do any research on what the story was about. I like DK’s writing and I knew that this series was sitting out there with this interesting title. So I gave it a try. Ultimately it was an interesting story and the narration was great. I think I’ll give the next book in the series a try.
Profile Image for Craig.
5,140 reviews123 followers
November 29, 2021
This is the first book in Koontz's most successful series, about an uncomplicated young man with an Odd name who has some supernormal abilities but mostly just wants to be left alone. The narrative style is a little hard to adjust to at first, but quickly reels the reader in and becomes quite engaging. It's a fast and friendly breezy read, for the most part, though I was really shocked at the fate of one of the characters....
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,379 reviews139 followers
July 29, 2022
This was a slow burner for me. It started as an ok easy read, at half way I was interested and by the end I loved it.

Odd Thomas is a cute guy who sees dead people and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series, especially to see how Elvis gets on.

Four stars.
Profile Image for Amber J.
918 reviews64 followers
October 10, 2019
“I've since discovered that many human beings need no supernatural mentoring to commit acts of savagery; some people are devils in their own right, their telltale horns having grown inward to facilitate their disguise.”
― Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.

Odd Thomas can see and feel the dead, but he can't hear them, as the dead don't talk. After encountering a strange man who also caught the interest of Bodachs (strange shadow spirits, attracted to extreme violence) Odd follows him to see what he is up to and why his instincts are telling him that something is up. Soon Odd is in danger, but not just him, something big is going to happen. More bodachs then he has ever seen is gathering and he knows hes the only one who can stop. Meanwhile he's trying to protect and keep those he loves safe. Including his soulmate Stormy.


This book is a reread for me, and I love it still. I knew a lot of what was coming, but it had also been long enough that I forgot a lot and got to experience it all over again. This book is scary, I found myself looking over my shoulder and biting my nails. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. And boy did it make me cry. I knew what was coming cause it was one of the things I did remember, and yet still I cried, and HARD. I will be continuing this series. I only read the first 3 in this series and this was the only one I remember, so I know that the rest will be like a new experience for me and I'm excited to experience it. I loved Odd, he is so funny but doesn't mean to be, and while he's smart he's also surprisingly lost at times. It's sweet. I've watched the movie and I can say that while the movie is good. This book is still a must read.


How I choose my rating:
1* Did not finish, or hated it but forced myself to finish.
2** Didn't really like it. Didn't hate it but not sure why I finished it other then for some closure.
3*** I liked it. I had some issues with it, but as a whole it was good. I probably won't reread again ever, but there is a chance I might finish the series. (If part of one) But if not it's not a huge loss.
4**** I really liked this book. Maybe not a work of genius, but highly entertaining. I may or may not reread this again, and I will finish the series. (If part of one) I would recommend to those I know hold interest in this books content.
5***** I loved this book. I found little to no issues with it at all. I will definitely be rereading this and probably more than once. I will finish the series and reread it multiple times. (If part of one) I will recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!

Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,034 reviews765 followers
October 19, 2022
The old review is missing. How does "save" not work?

My favorite Odd book. My brother rented "Odd Thomas" DVD from a mom & pop video store. He told me it was good and let me borrow it. I don't remember how I found out it's from a book but that got me into reading Dean Koontz and this whole series.🥰
Profile Image for Elora.
25 reviews
November 30, 2019
Literally an awesome book from beginning to the end, I loved the rabbit trails all throughout it and the thinking that went into trying to figure out the complex situation that Odd was in. Bless this omg
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,247 reviews642 followers
November 7, 2016
I've only read one Dean Koontz thriller before and didn't really enjoy it so I wasn't expecting to enjoy this so much. Not only does Koontz spin a good tale, but Odd Thomas is such an original character, it's hard not to like him. He's a gentle soul, a cheerful short order fry chef in the small town of Pico Mundo in southern California, who wants to marry his high school sweetheart Stormy Llewellyn and is contented with his life. He's almost normal except for one special skill: he can see the dead. Some, like Elvis, just don't want to move on and others seek him out wanting justice for wrongful deaths. Odd can also see strange ghost-like beings hanging around those who are going to die so when his town becomes invaded with these beings he gets a very bad feeling.

I enjoyed the way the tension built up slowly in this thriller as Odd tries to work out why these strange ghosts are in his town. I loved his girlfriend, Stormy who is the perfect partner for him with her quirky ideas and I liked the Chief of Police who quietly accepts that Odd sees the dead and trusts him when he has a bad feeling. Definitely a less violent tale than I was expecting, told with a bit of humour and some sadness at the end.
Profile Image for Christian Nikitas.
335 reviews49 followers
July 18, 2021
This was the first time I have read any of Dean Koontz books. I don't think that he's the best writer, but I did really enjoy the story. The movie was not far off from the book, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Profile Image for Imogen.
Author 6 books1,377 followers
March 12, 2009
Isla was going to get this, but she was equivocating, so I knocked her over and took it. I have read a lot of Dean Koontz! Back when he was Dean R. Koontz. According to Wikipedia, in 1992, when I was thirteen, I had read every book he'd published under his own name- which was, what, like, a dozen or so? I used to get them from the library and read them at other kids' little league games... which sounds a little nerdy, in retrospect.

Anyway, I loved 'em! I was a little nerdy serious kid like "Mom, what does 'hermaphrodite' mean?" "Mom, what's 'clapboard?'" "Mom! He can just see PIG MONSTERS through people's FACES!" I guess it kind of makes sense, given that I've grown up a little and now I'm like, "Alex! She shot a MOTORCYLE at the monster and then SHOT THE MOTORCYCLE and it BLEW UP THE MOTORCYCLE *AND* THE MONSTER!"

Not that Alex is my mom, y'know. Just that she tends to be nearby when I'm excited.

So yeah, Odd Thomas. I think I stopped reading Dean Koontz before high school? Maybe around high school time? I think what happened was, I read the Catcher in the Rye and decided that genre fiction was for stupid babies. Which is wrong! But what did I know, I was a thirteen-year-old who'd only ever read Dean R. Koontz and Lois Duncan.

I remember Mr Koontz's books being more horrory and less suspensey, but I think I was wrong. I mean, this one had ghost monsters and Satanists and stuff, but it was much more about suspense than about awesome explosions or anything. ALSO Alex has been reading Janet Evanovich lately, and she tells me things that happen in Janet Evanovich novels (like "she told her mom she could play the cello but she was lying!" and, um, "She got in a fight with an ocelot," or something, I don't remember) and there were definitely clunker lines in Odd Thomas that reminded me of what Ms Evanovich sometimes sound like, thirdhand. Like when the ghost stripper- SPOILER!- saves Odd Thomas from the coyotes, that sort of thing.

It was still nice though. I can see why Mr. Koontz is so pumped to make Odd Thomas be a big long series- his voice as narrator is soothing and friendly and inviting, even if it's as hokey as every other death-obsessed 20-year-old goth who thinks he's a little bit too mature for all the showy gothiness of being a goth, and is much more interested in world-weariness than black lipstick.

Also, Dean Koontz, you lose points when you have one black character in your novel and he is a BLIND JAZZ RADIO HOST. WTF.

But still, genre fiction is genre fiction, and this works as genre fiction. I enjoyed it! I already got a copy of Brother Odd and put the copy of The Passion of New Eve I'd just started back on the shelf. I mean, the only reason for me to be reading Dean Koontz instead of Angela Carter is nostalgia, but nostalgia's a legitimate reason.

Have you noticed I'm not really saying anything? I'm typing 'cause I'm bored.
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