Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

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Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

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Category: Horror
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Dave Martin
Reviewed by Dave Martin
Summary: Brother Odd is Koontz at his best. Expect fast-paced thrills with tight plots and intriguing characters.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: January 2007
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 978-0007226573

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Odd Thomas thinks he has gained some respite at the snow mountain monastery in High Sierra. His strange sense of the otherworldly has led him to a self-imposed exile. But wherever Odd goes, strangeness inevitably follows. With the ghost of Elvis in tow, Odd finds himself once again in the middle of a mystery involving Bodachs, the shadowy harbingers of violence. What is their obsession with the tragically disabled children saved by the monastery and who is the sinister Russian who also claims to be seeking peace?

Brother Odd is the third book involving the enigma that is Odd Thomas. The first book concentrated on a young fry cook called Odd discovering his strange abilities and coming to terms with them. Brother Odd is both a progression and a departure from this and is based much more in thriller/horror territory. Koontz expects us to know our central character already and as such, there is little in the way of introduction. This turns out to be a blessing (no dodgy monastery pun intended!) as we are saved hiss usual and irritating habit of describing until the cows come home. Instead this is a more immediate slice of thriller action.

Those who have read Koontz will already be aware of his tendency to overdo the imagery and description in his novels. This tendency to over-egg his books by writing huge build ups and plot scenarios make many of his novels dull as ditch water until you get at least halfway through, when out of nowhere you are treated to a fantabulous set piece of epic action proportions. Brother Odd has the advantage of being one long action scene that could be straight out of the best horror movies. Koontz's early writing showed that he is very capable of writing exciting, fast-paced novels and it is nice to see that in Brother Odd, he has returned to this.

Brother Odd is a joy to read from start to finish. Odd is an intriguing, eccentric and fundamentally likeable hero. He is your average Joe given supernatural gifts he does not want but feels condemned to use. This particular novel also has an excellent cast of supporting characters, particularly the group of monks, many of whom have stories of contrition good enough for a novel to themselves.

In short, Brother Odd manages to be something Koontz has not achieved in years. That is a readable, enjoyable book that us old fans can enjoy and newcomers can actually get into without getting a migraine. Full of twists and turns, this is one for all fans of the genre.

Those who think they might enjoy this could also try Clive Barker's Abarat for something supernatural, or for a more traditional horror, Richard Matheson's classic I am Legend.

Thanks to the publishers at harpercollins for this copy.

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