Forever Odd


This, the second of the Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz, is somewhat more low key. The first dealt with an amazing array of evil brought to an near-apocalyptic climax. The evil Odd Thomas fought was so great that it attracted shadows, harbingers of the blood to come.

In this second book there are shadows, but not of the same type. And while we explored evil in the first book, more as a phenomenon than as a personal reality, in this book we meet evil as a personal choice: it's avatar, compared frequently to Kali is Datura, perhaps the single most evil person in modern literature. Her evil is both wicked and malicious.

The story is more intimate, quiet and subdued. A friend of Thomas's, a friend since childhood, a friend with osteogenesis imperfecta is kidnapped by Datura and her merry men and taken a long, tortuous, and circuitous route to an abandoned Casino in the desert near the town where Thomas lives. He is called and challenged to find them. He does and the story transpires.

Koontz is able to use this slower story to show us personal evil in considerable detail. As a result, he is also able to build up his theme of good and evil and the choices we make that construct that path. Moreover, he is relentless in his insistence upon the lack of mitigating factors when we choose evil. As we brood upon Datura, we discover more and more that whatever her past, it is her choices that form her and make her what she is.

Because of these big thematic reflections, certain imperfections in the story are of less moment than they would otherwise be. What happens to Datura and her two Chevals, in a novel of lesser thematic depth, would be a bit disappointing. But in this novel, they are sufficient to the moment because the story is about more than mere event.

I'm not going to pretend that this is come terribly deep philosophical rumination on the nature of evil. But the thematic material in the book far exceeds that normally found in light fiction. The tone remains light throughout, but some of the ideas that Koontz trots out are not light at all--nevertheless they are made palatable by the superb craftsmanship of the story.

I can only hope that Brother Odd lives up to the standard set in the first two books. These represent for me the first readable Koontz in years, and it is indeed quite readable, and nevertheless filled with a certain seriousness.


Now I'm on to another Westbow publication from an author whose first book was written so execrably that I was unable to force myself through half of it, but whose talent seems to have soared rapidly. The book--Obsession by Ted Dekker and so far we have a nasty ex-nazi and a fantastical treasure called The Stones of David. Promising.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 16, 2007 8:15 AM.

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