Suspense – Bantam June 2012
I am twenty years old. To a world-wise adult, I am little more than a child. To any child, however, I am old enough to be distrusted, to be excluded forever from the magical community of the short and beardless.
- Odd Thomas
In 2003, Dean Koontz introduced us to a most unlikely hero. His name was Odd Thomas, a 20 year old short order cook who one day began to see of all things, dead people. But these weren’t ordinary dead people. No one else saw them except Odd and he came to realize they must be hesitant about moving on beyond the veil of this world. And though they never spoke, Odd quickly learned that their appearance almost always meant trouble.
Since then, there have been a several more installments of the saga of Odd Thomas. What has come outside the world of Odd has been hit and miss. Perhaps it’s success or perhaps because he simply writes what he wants to write but Dean Koontz can frustrate the most ardent of fans. 77 Shadow Street, his last novel, made one wonder if the master of suspense had called in a junkie ghost writer from an alternate universe. But every time Koontz returns us to Odd, we are never disappointed.
Odd Interlude is an eBook only Odd story offered as three connected novellas getting us ready for the soon to come Odd Apocalypse the end of July. These novellas are Koontz at his best. The pace is frantic, the characters memorable, and the ending satisfying. Sure the author’s almost neurotic fixation on secret government doings is present and of course there’s a dog. But for me, at least, I choose to forgive the muddled 77 Shadow Street because I know Koontz can give us crystal clear fountains of prose like the following from Odd Interlude #1:
Long ago, I learned that, even with my sixth sense, I am not a singularity, and that the world is a place of layered wonders beyond counting. Most people unconsciously blind themselves to the true nature of existence, because they fear knowing that this world is a place of mystery and meaning. It’s immeasurably easier to live in a world that’s all surfaces, that means nothing and demands nothing of you.
So amidst the backdrop of a guy who sees dead people, a little girl who befriends an artificial intelligence, and an insidiously evil unknown entity we are reminded of a powerful truth: this age does fear mystery and clings to a world that’s all surface with no depth.