Written by: Dean Koontz
Published by: Bantam Books
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Those of you who have followed my reviews from the beginning will remember a book entitled Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz. In this book, a man named Odd has the unique ability to see spirits. This ability also comes with a compulsion to help them find peace, and that pursuit of their peace sometimes leads Odd to an oasis of pain. Well, Forever Odd, as the title suggests, is the much anticipated sequel to popular book.
In this book, Koontz picks up the story of Odd Thomas several months after the tragedy of the previous installment. He is alone, miserable, unemployed, and has been labeled a hero by everyone in his small town of Pico Mundo. No one can get the heroism he’d displayed the previous August, and it is that very notoriety that has Odd living as a virtual shut in at the start of the book.
It isn’t until he is visited by the ghost of a neighbor and friend, Dr. Jessup, a man who was quite alive the last time they’d seen each other, that Odd finally ventures out into the world again, doing what his gift compels him to do: help the dead and right wrongs. The dead, in this case, is Dr. Jessup, stepfather to one of Odd’s best friends, Danny. The wrong that needs rights, someone has kidnapped Danny, a young man with a brittle bone disease that has not only left his body deformed, but has made him the perfect hostage. He’s weak and vulnerable and unlikely to escape.
When the trail of the kidnappers quickly runs cold, Odd uses he psychic magnetism—an ability he possesses to find things or people that fate wants him to find—to locate Danny. But with his compulsion urging him not to call the police, Odd ventures on his own into something that is far bigger than a normal kidnapping. In this case, Odd’s notoriety has put his friend Danny in grave danger, and it is up to Odd to find and free his very brittle friend, before it’s too late.
Overall, I really loved this book. All of the same elements that made Odd Thomas such a good read was in this installment as well. The writing, the narrative, the interesting plot, and Odd’s unique view of the world, all made for fantastic reading.
My only objection to the story would have to be that it read more like a short story or a novella, than a full length manuscript. There was no subplot, no tapestry of characters—not that that is necessary for a novel, but the book had nothing but the protagonist for about eight percent of the piece—the novel picked up pretty much as soon as the Odd became involved in the plot and it never deviated. For some this might be a welcomed change from those throw-it-all-in-at-once kind of books—it was for me as well—but I had come to expect a little more intricacy out of Mr. Koontz and I felt that this story did not live up to that particular expectation. Other than that, however, the book was great. Pick it up soon, and be ready for my review of Brother Odd, the third installment in this supernatural series.