Odd Thomas

Odd ThomasToday I finished reading Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas. I couldn’t bring myself to write a post about the recent Sandy Hook massacre. It was just too awful for words.  Sadly, we all know that nothing much will be done to restrict gun ownership and that, as with the Aurora Cinema massacre this summer, the shock will soon fade from the news (though, of course, for the families of the victims it will never fade). Two of the more perverse follow-ups to the latest tragedy were a sudden surge in sales of child body armour and a proposal that schools should be protected by ‘safe’ rifle-toting ‘buddies’. Written in 2003, Odd Thomas is very much a work of its time. The (obviously) aptly-named Odd is an otherwise unremarkable young man whose sixth sense and visionary powers tell him something awful is going to happen in his small, unremarkable Californian town of Pico Mundo. Those inadvertently facing impending death and disaster are haunted by willowy spirits, called bodachs, whom only Odd can see, and the bodachs are gathering en masse in Pico Mundo. Koontz is good on the atmospherics and on the building tension, and he weaves in some humour and comic characters to leaven his tale. But he is perhaps best on Odd’s own disrupted and disfunctional childhood. Since I have mentioned Sandy Hook, it’s pretty obvious what sort of horrors await Pico Mundo, but I am not giving away any secrets. The tension arises not from the impending horror but whether Odd can stop it and the consequences of this for him. Koontz doesn’t spell out a message but there is nevertheless a strong one in this book: there are monsters in all societies. (So let’s not, I would add, make it easy for them by allowing the easy purchase of assault rifles.) All through this book I kept thinking ‘handled well, this would make an excellent film’. Guess what? The film is coming out in 2013…

4 Comments

  1. Hugo Kijne

    02/01/2013 at 17:03

    You may be wrong about the gun control follow up, the tone is different this time.

  2. Martin

    02/01/2013 at 18:24

    I very much hope so. The difference, I suppose, is that Aurora was before the elections and now Obama is a second termer…

  3. Hugo Kijne

    02/01/2013 at 19:59

    The main diference is the age of the victims.

  4. Hugo Kijne

    02/01/2013 at 20:05

    That had to be ‘difference.’ Plus the fact that the killer, clearly a mental case, could just grab his mom’s assault weapon, kill her first and then go on a rampage. As Michael Moore tweeted: ‘if only the first victim had had a gun none of this would have happened,’ which is always the NRA’s response, while in reality most victims in the VS are killed with their own guns or with guns that belong to family members.

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