Odd ApocalypseOdd Apocalypse
Dean Koontz

Bantam Books
Hardcover, 2012, $28.00, 355pp
Review by Wayne C. Rogers

It’s hard to believe four years have passed since the last Odd Thomas novel, Odd Hours, came out. I’m not counting the three-part e-book, Odd Interludes. I’m waiting for that particular story to come out in paperback before I read it. I have to say it’s good to have Odd Thomas back. He’s been sorely missed. The world needs Odd Thomas and his unique ability to fight evil whenever he encounters it. Also, in many ways, I think Odd Thomas is the author’s best character to date. Odd is richly drawn, not as a hero, but rather as an ordinary young man who simply wants to live life on his own terms and to have his dead girlfriend back. I certainly look forward to the Odd Thomas movie this fall, hoping I’ll enjoy it as much as the author did when he and his wife saw an advance screening of the picture a few months ago.

The new novel, Odd Apocalypse, takes place weeks after the ending of Odd Hours, and includes the riddle-speaking, pregnant Annamaria from Magic Beach, who never seems to come right out and explain things to Odd. Instead, she allows him to find the answers to his questions on his own, which usually involves a great deal of physical pain and near death experiences for our ghost-seeing man.

The adventure starts when they are invited to stay at the old estate of Roseland by its reclusive billionaire owner, Noah Wolflaw. The mansion was originally built during the early 1920s by movie mogul, Constantine Cloyce, and sits on fifty-two acres of prime real estate with a high wall around it and an armed guard at the front gate. Though huge, the estate has only a handful of servants to guard the place, take care of the grounds, and to keep the inside of the manor clean.

All of this isn’t lost on Odd as he tries to figure out why he’s seeing the ghost of a blonde-haired woman, dressed in a flowing nightgown and riding a black stallion, whenever he’s out and about on the property. This, however, isn’t the half of it. He also meets an armed guard from the future, has a run-in with a swarm of giant bats, and gets chased by a number of pig-like creatures that walk on two legs and are looking for someone to eat. Holy mackerel, this is just in the first six chapters. After that, Odd is in for some stark revelations that may cost him his life because nothing is as it seems in Roseland. Neither the estate, nor the people who live on it, are really what they appear to be. Before it’s over, Odd will have a taste of what it’s like to encounter pure, unadulterated evil, while at the same time trying to understand the mechanics of time travel. All of this will happen as he attempts to keep himself, Annamaria, and a little, but rather unusual, boy alive and out of the clutches of those who would kill them for the sheer pleasure of it.

Dean Koontz has gone all out with this new Odd Thomas novel. Our young champion of justice has his work cut out for him as he takes on, not one, but several people whose idea of a good time is murder and debauchery. It almost makes me feel sorry for Odd. Doesn’t the poor guy ever get a break? Is there no rest for the weary? Is it up to this young man to solve all of the world’s problems?

The answers to these questions are no, no and yes.

I’m certainly glad I’m not Odd Thomas. He goes through more in one day than I have in an entire lifetime.

The author definitely knows how to weave an exciting tale with so many twists and turns that it’s like trying to maneuver on a giant pretzel and not fall off. The villains in Dean Koontz’ novels are more evil and cunning with each outing, while the protagonist seems to barely survive his enriching encounters by the skin of his teeth.

It’s important to note that the author is now in his mid-sixties and still spends ten-to-twelve hours every single day writing his stories. Each word, sentence, and paragraph is as important to him now as they were twenty years ago. Dean Koontz is the consummate writer who strives for perfection with each novel. This is an author who wants to make sure the reader gets their money’s worth when buying one of his books.

They do.

The Odd Thomas series is supposed to wrap up with the eighth novel, Saintly Odd, and somehow Odd is to be reunited with the love of his life, Stormy Llewellyn, who was killed in the first book. I pray the author doesn’t kill off his most famous character. Life just wouldn’t be the same without Odd Thomas being around. I mean after reading an Odd Thomas novel, the problems in your own life don’t appear to be so bad or depressing.

Last, but not least, the next Odd Thomas novel, Deeply Odd, is due out at the beginning of April. Brace yourselves as the ending draws closer.

Highly recommended!

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