Written By: Dean Koontz
Published By: Bantam Books
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
Hello out there in the wonderful world-wide-spider web of information. It is I, your friendly digital reviewer back with yet another review of a book from one of my favorite authors, Mr. Dean Koontz. You might—or might not—remember a review for a little book called Odd Thomas, in which I praised Mr. Koontz for his originality and amazing ability to draw me, the reader, into the life of a humble young man with an extraordinary ability. You might even—if your memory serves you—recall my review for Forever Odd, in which my praise for the writing was abundant, but the review was lackluster, as was my affinity for the book. Well, despite my apparent fatigue with the loveable and unique character of Odd Thomas, when I saw this latest installment of the ‘Odd’ series, I didn’t think twice to pick it up and read it.
In Brother Odd, we pick up where the final one left off. Odd, distraught by the loss of his soulmate, Stormy, has sequestered himself in a monastery in the hopes of removing himself from the world and coming to terms with his grief. However, when you have the ability to see the lingering spirits of the dead and dark beings known as bodachs, hiding from the world is an all but impossible task. Even among monks there are ghosts, and it isn’t long before danger finds Odd and forces him into the very conflict he was trying to avoid. Once again, he is faced with the overwhelming task of trying to stave off an impending disaster whose source can not be identified.
It begins in the monastery’s school, with a young, brain damaged girl speaking words to him that his beloved—and deceased—Stormy had said to him. Odd is convinced that the children of the school, most of whom are disabled either mentally or physically, are the targets of the nameless disaster to come and he is left with no choice but to enlist the aid of the monks and nuns within the monastery. Matters only get worse when a very physical, very unghost-like creature is spotted in the forest surrounding the secluded monastery. This creature, capable of physical contact with the real world and preternatural displays of movement, heralds the advance of something bigger and darker, and it’s up to Odd to uncover what.
But in a sequestered community unto itself, surrounded by mountains and cut off from the outside world by a tremendous snowstorm, the orchestrator of the impending doom could only be someone inside the order, someone who the others know and trust. Can Odd, humble psychic and former fry cook, unravel this mystery before the children and other inhabitants of the order perish.
Overall, I liked Brother Odd far more than I did its most recent predecessor. Although the first half of the book seemed to me to be a rehash of the same plot that had worked so well in the first book but had begun to grow stale in the second book, with the introduction of the ‘creature’ Brother Odd took a turn that separated it from the pack. While there were things in the story that did not thrill me—example; Odd gathering together a band of so-called, ‘Warrior-Monks’ to help combat this beast and everybody’s willingness to accept Odd’s claims of seeing the dead at face value—I loved that Mr. Koontz once again took a chance with the direction of his story and that kept my eyes glued to page after page.
My only real admonishment of the story would have to be the very end—the last page, in fact—in which Odd is drawn inexplicably toward adventures unknown and is joined by the ghost of yet another famous musician. Being followed by the ghost of Elvis was one thing, and that just barely worked in the other books. But adding another one was just hooky. Other than that, I loved this book and can’t wait to find out what adventure Mr. Koontz has in store for Odd in the next book—which I’m assuming will be the last from the way this book ended. Enjoy the read, all of you who worship me and trust my judgment.