“Brother Odd” is the the third book of the Odd Thomas series. In writing this book, Dean Koontz has changed the character (Odd) from a protagonist to a person on an important journey. Here is a brief summary. The first book peaks the appetite, the second book promises adventure, but “Brother Odd” is the life journey and inner landscape of Odd Thomas. The reader begins to see the promise in this young man.
And who is this Odd Thomas? He sees ghosts of dead people, killed in tragic and traumatic ways, usually due to murder. He has an inner psychic compass that helps him find the right place and the right time to be the most helpful with his talents. He is a mourner, losing his true love to tragedy. He is a protector of the innocent. He is the voice of the dead and soon to by dying.
At the beginning of this book, Odd is contemplating in his room at a monastery. He is a guest and general handyman. During his contemplations, he sees Boo, the monasteries only dog walk outside in the late evening snow storm. The dog stalks the courtyard as if there is a problem, but never barks. Boo cannot bark. He is a ghost.
As Odd follows Boo into the snowy courtyard, he finds the body of one of the monks. And the tale starts.
What makes this tale so scary and interesting is that the monks and nuns have special charges of young children who are mentally and physically disabled. Many of these children are orphans. Some have been abandoned. All of them need constant care. In the blankness of these children’s minds, Odd talks to his Stormy. He knows that he cannot bring her back totally because it is not good for the child. And, he resists the temptation for it is a temptation to replace a child with a ghost.
But, who would kill? Who would test these children to destruction? There is only good men here. Or is there? “What lurks in the heart of men.”
As Odd wanders around the monastery in the dead of winter on a cold snowy evening, Odd learns these questions to his heartbreak. There is one child that is being hunted by one man. And, in a way very different from Odd’s talents, this child is psychic enough to know that he is hunted. His only real communication to the outside world is his drawings. Room 14.
And then there are the bodaches. It is hard to know what they are. Odd thinks they are inter-dimensional travelers who feed upon the fear and tragedy of major disasters. But, we never talk or acknowledge them because unlike ghosts they can affect reality.
So once again Dean Koontz writes a smash hit at least in my book. And Odd grows into his destiny.