Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Brother Odd: Dean Koontz

I’ve always liked Dean Koontz; he knows how to be compassionate and funny at the same time. When I showed books I had bought, my long-time friend Momcat said “Oh, you’re going to like that book!” and oh, how right she was. I like it so much that now I have to go back and buy the previous ones to catch me up.

The main character, whose name, to his embarrassment, is Odd Thomas, has secluded himself in a monastery in search of spiritual peace. Or was he brought here for another reason? Odd Thomas has some very odd gifts; he can see the undeparted dead, for example, and he can sense things that normal humans can’t. You would think these would be very cool talents, but Odd is in his early twenties, and his talents only serve to isolate him and make him feel a little alien.

The monastery / nunnery is a good place for him, full of very human monks and nuns, some of them very wise and very compassionate, as well as competant. It’s a good place for Odd Thomas, a healing place and a place where his strange gifts are protected by his spiritual cohabitants. The monastic life attracts a lot of people trying to put their pasts behind them to seek spiritual goals, and also attracts those with their own agendas.

The monastery is well endowed, and contains a special school for young people who have physical and/or mental disabilities. Some can learn enough to return to society, and some will probably spend the rest of their shortened lives under the safety and care of the nuns – until, all of a sudden, a threat appears, directed at the children.

Dean Koontz writes interesting books. He often includes benign animals, he often focuses on threats to women and children, and while his books are not difficult to read, neither are they something you read and easily forget. Both AdventureMan and I read an earlier Dean Koonz book, Watchers, to which we have often referred through the years, as one of his characters ends up homeless and living in a car with her son. She talks about money just giving you more options, and about those who are one paycheck away from homelessness. It was an easy read, but he includes some tough ideas, things you find yourself mulling over even years later. That’s a good read in my book!

The only problem with this book was that it was so good I finished it in one flight. Good thing I had packed a back-up book in my carry-on!

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December 13, 2007 - Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Crime, Fiction, Health Issues, Poetry/Literature, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual, Travel | , ,

11 Comments »

  1. i didnt like it. i didnt feel it was as powerful as his other books like Mr Murder etc..

    Comment by xtinct dodo | December 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. I’m glad to see you, xtinct Dodo. I’ve missed your unique voice.

    Haven’t read Mr. Murder – so you recommend it? I found the description of the monastic culture refreshing and reassuring. There is something in me that loves isolation and escape, which is what Brother Odd sought in this book. Now I want to find out how this character got started, and I’m interested to see what comes next.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 13, 2007 | Reply

  3. It really helps a lot to know Odd’s history as provided in the other two books. I just find him a really compelling guy and love his relationship with Elvis. Koontz has another trilogy of The Prodigal ones or something like that but he hasn’t put out the third and final book yet. I have been waiting for 2 years for it. But it involves mutants from genetic experiments–sounds sci fi but it is more the human element that goes awry that I find interesting. The author has a really great imagination and seems to play the “what if” scenarios that I like to rumble around in my head. I’m glad you liked this as much as I did.

    Comment by momcat | December 13, 2007 | Reply

  4. Brother Odd sits next in line in my pile – I’ve loved the prior two. Incredibly poignant.
    STILL slogging through Poisonwood…refusing to give up, and can’t (won’t) pick up another until done. But Brother Odd is tantilizing me. Augh.

    Comment by Sparkle | December 13, 2007 | Reply

  5. I’m gonna have to get those first two books, Momcat, for future airplane rides, if nothing else. And the Prodigals now, too!

    Sparkle – 🙂 – do you still have those first two Odd Thomas books? 🙂 Please don’t give up on Poisonwood – it does get a little heavy, but it’s worth the read all the way through, to see how those childhood experiences influence their adulthood. And then you still have World Without End – or have you already read that one?

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 14, 2007 | Reply

  6. Sparkle, maybe you are having the same problem I did with Poisonwood. The first part was so interesting but the second part, the years after the missionary period to me was so anticlimactic. I know it was proving a point but it lacked the life of the first part. It does complete the story tho, so keep at it. Intlxpatr–if you want I can send you the other 2 Odd Thomas books. I have one of them and can get the other at our used book store (I have LOTS of credits there)

    Comment by momcat | December 14, 2007 | Reply

  7. Dean Koontz’s “Intensity” is the only book I have read so far from cover to cover in a single sitting. Suchwas the intensity I felt reading him. It’s quite another matter I had to get therapy for my nocturnal enuresis after I finished reading the book.

    Comment by Kats & Dogs | December 14, 2007 | Reply

  8. Oh! BL! I haven’t read that one, at least I don’t think I have. Sounds like one I need to get! Thanks. (LOOOLLL at your medical problem)

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 15, 2007 | Reply

  9. Momcat – yes! please! used is good, so I can pass them along, if you don’t mind. We’ll sort out costs when next I see you?

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 15, 2007 | Reply

  10. OK give me until after Christmas so I have a chance to find the one I have in the boxes that are being unpacked. Then I’ll send them on–maybe with some bonus books for you and AM to enjoy that we liked. I just read a really interesting one police type one dealing with a serial killer that was kind of unique–interested?

    Comment by momcat | December 15, 2007 | Reply

  11. Take your time! The serial killer one sounds interesting, yes, interested and THANK YOU!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 15, 2007 | Reply


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