O is for Odd Thomas. Well, Dean kOOntz, really.

Anyone else out there a Dean Koontz fan? Personally, I am OBSESSED!

I love almost everything he’s ever written (77 Shadow Street is the one and only exception to date), even his old pen name stuff. My favorite of all is his book Life Expectancy. I rarely read books more than once and that’s one of the rare exceptions (that and The Historian and Jemima J— so random, I know).

But besides Life Expectancy, I absolutely, completely, and totally dig the Odd Thomas series.

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Until writing this post, I didn’t realize just how many Odd books there are… there’s a lot! And I’ve loved every one and it feels like such a long wait in between!

Odd Thomas is a young man who sees ghosts… mostly people, some dogs, some famous, some not. He defines himself as a fry cook, but we know he’s so much more. And I love him for that. He’s humble and loving; loving in a completely heartbreaking way (but no spoilers from me– and don’t read any of the Odd Thomas books before you read the first!! I did… and sobbed all the way through the first one…).

Like I said, Odd is a fry cook; a short order cook at a local, hometown diner. He’s famous for his fluffy pancakes and truly aspires to nothing more than cooking good food quickly. When I started reading Odd Thomas this was a pretty foreign notion to me– the idea that you could aspire to be happy doing something well without meeting the societal norms that define “success.” It was the first time that I really thought about the idea of being ok without always, always, always striving for more and more and more. Lots of Dean Koontz’s characters are like that… they don’t all have to be millionaires and billionaires and fancy, important people. They’re regular, but special, not because of what they do or where they live or how much money they have, but because of who they are on the inside. Just like Odd, loyal and loving, thoughtful and intelligent.

Odd also taught me about trusting your intuition. Granted, he has what he refers to as “psychic magnetism,” which is more than just intuition… when he lets go and really trusts his gut, it never leads him astray. But it’s a good reminder for me because I spend a lot of time mulling things over in my head and not following my gut-heart (because I think when people say follow your heart, they really mean gut). My gut knows what’s up though. When I follow my gut, I end up in the right place. So do all of Dean’s characters.

Finally, I love, love, love how Odd loves. He’s amazing in that respect. I really don’t want to give anything away, but this is a man who follows his gut in all matters, including love. Romantic love and otherwise– friends and family. (Also, I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m an absolute sucker for a love story, and Dean Koontz almost always adds a love story. He knows the recipe for absolute literary delight!)

 

Odd Thomas is awesome. To me, he’s the epitome of all that’s good about Dean Koontz’s characters. He tells us what’s important– loyalty, optimism, perseverance, hope, kindness, generosity… and dogs 🙂 He always adds a dog, ghost or otherwise, and I love that. I loved it even before I had my own. Now I super love it!

Dean Koontz has made me love the regular guy, to look for the extraordinary in the every day, to swoon over all that is California, and to recognize that no matter how bad things can seem, how bad things can be, there’s always, always, always an opportunity for good.

I recently downloaded the Audible app to my phone (there’s an app for that!) and I’ve been listening to audio books while I run, walk, mow the lawn, or drive the dog to the emergency vet… and only then. A chance to listen to a good book is ridiculously motivating in such instances, I love it! And to date, nothing has been more motivating than a good Dean Koontz book. Yes, I pepper in other things (Divergent by Veronica Roth, Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, for example), but I’m completely Koontz-ivated! At present, I’m listening to his newest– The City. It’s wonderful, and so different from the usual! For one thing, it takes place in New York City, not California (or New Orleans). Secondly, it’s centered around a child. Children play prominent roles in others of his books, but this is the first time a child is the main character. Fascinating! He’s branching out, after oh so many books, and still killing it!

Do you have an author like that? One who has found your formula for literary genius???

 

PS: Speaking of all things high brow and literary… My sister and I have been texting back and forth about The Bachelorette: Men Tell All… and she said to me, “By giving in to the greatness which is the Bachelor, you have helped us take our seester-hood to a new level!” She’s right, you know. This trashy, reality television series is where it’s at!! And books, too. Books. Yep.

6 thoughts on “O is for Odd Thomas. Well, Dean kOOntz, really.

  1. For listening on Audible: the author is Louise Penny, the character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and the first book, I know I don’t need to tell you to start at number one, is Still Life.

    I have #11 on pre-order. Can’t wait!

    Yes, and books. Definitely and books.

  2. I agree, I liked everything I’ve read except for 77 Shadow Street, a real chore to get through. I’ve read the William Kent Krueger books, there are quite a few in the series that revolve around the life of the main character Cork O’Connor who solves crimes taking place in the arrowhead of Minnesota. He’s part Ojibwa and Irish and the crimes sometimes involve conflict of cultures. I like the Native American spirituality he works into the stories.

  3. I agree, Rachel. I love the character for the exact same reasons. I love the idea that someone is simply happy being the best he can be at what he is, someone who is (sorry to be cliche’, but…) comfortable in his own skin.

  4. I love how you describe this character- I always thought DK was a Stephen King-esque sort-of horror writer?! Where did I get that? I want to read the whole series- right now. The books- all the books everywhere-I want to read all the books- for the LOvE there are so many books!

    1. I always thought that too! And to be honest, some of his earliest stuff is. But my parents convinced me that it wasn’t the case, and even Stephen King isn’t always horror-esque. For instance, I highly, highly, highly recommend Stephen King’s 11/23/67, which asks the question– what if the assassination of JFK never happened? And what would it take to make it so? Absolutely FASCINATING. Under the Dome was pretty good, too. Neither horror. Suspense, definitely, but not horror.

      Dean Koontz can’t seem to help himself from adding a super positive message to every book… or perhaps I can’t help but read one into every book? Even if that’s the case, I imagine you’d feel the same way too, given our similar shoe size and the like. Regardless, Odd Thomas is a great start and if you’d rather dip a toe into the works of Koontz first, Life Expectancy is SO freaking good!!

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