Dean Koontz is one of my favorite writers. He has been writing novels for longer than I've been alive (and I'm approaching middle age!). I've read most of Koontz's fifty plus novels, and I'm happy to say that BROTHER ODD is definitely one of the better ones.
BROTHER ODD is the third in a series of novels featuring the character of Odd Thomas, who Koontz introduced to the world in 2003. Many Koontz fans consider the first ODD THOMAS novel to be one of Koontz's best books, perhaps rivaled only by WATCHERS, his 1980s classic.
I personally agree with this assessment. The first ODD THOMAS was a true masterpiece of popular fiction. It is a remarkably well done novel with a highly imaginative plot and fully-drawn characters. Odd Thomas, the title character, is a enormously likable young man from the small town of Pico Mundo who has the uncanny power to see the lingering dead. He is probably my favorite Koontz character of all time. If you have not read ODD THOMAS, I strongly recommend that you give it a try; Koontz has received more reader mail about that book than any other novel in his forty year writing career.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of ODD THOMAS, Koontz released a lackluster sequel, FOREVER ODD in 2005. That sequel is considered a major disappointment by most fans, lacking the fine characterization and strong plotline of the first book. I personally found it to be Koontz's worst novel in several years. Needless to say, after reading FOREVER ODD, I was not thrilled to learn that Koontz was planning a third entry in the series.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by BROTHER ODD. This novel is a major return to form for Koontz, and is very similar in tone to the first ODD THOMAS novel. I won't rehash the plot, but it involves Odd retreating to a monastery in response to the events of earlier books. This novel has a much stronger plot than FOREVER ODD, and Koontz has wisely decided to spend more time on creating a brand new set of likable and interesting characters. I found this novel to be a pleasure to read. I especially enjoyed the funny and clever dialogue scenes between Odd and the other (highly eccentric) occupants of the monastery.
This novel isn't perfect, however. My major quibble with BROTHER ODD is that it's far too short. BROTHER ODD had a bit of a rushed quality that I found unfortunate. There are a lot of very interesting characters in this novel, but some of them only last for a few pages or so. Koontz writes two or three books a year now, and as a result his novels are dramatically slimmer than they used to be. A shorter length is fine for a fast-paced suspense novel like VELOCITY or THE HUSBAND; but I think the Odd Thomas books should be longer to allow more room for character growth and development. If Koontz had spent a few more months on this novel, he could have produced another masterpiece in my opinion.
Overall though, BROTHER ODD is a winner. If you read and enjoyed the first ODD THOMAS, you should enjoy this third entry. Highly recommended.
I never, ever read a Dean Koontz novel in my life until a few weeks ago when I stumbled across a review of the first 'Odd Thomas' book. I have now read all three of them and I can say that I have never read a series of books with a recurring character that I have enjoyed this much. I hope and pray that there will be MORE!!!!
Odd Thomas is one of the most loveable, humble, engaging and endearing "people" I know....even if he does see ghosts and is only a lowly fry cook! I came away from the series feeling as if I'd made a quirky, sweet, new friend. The scenes with the ghost of Elvis are both bittersweet, heart-rending and funny as hell.
When I finished this book, I was crying my eyes out and my husband walked in shaking his head and said, "I don't think I've ever seen a person crying over a Dean Koontz novel!" I won't give away what made me cry, but it was joyous, poignant, moving and heartrending. I read it again later and cried again.
This is a fabulous, different, enjoyable series and a must-read if you like fabulous characters.
on December 2, 2006
_Brother Odd_ leaves me with no doubt that the Master of Story-Telling is back, and in rare form!
I really enjoyed the first in the ODD series, _Odd Thomas_, finished it at 3 am because I couldn't put it down. Being a long-time Koontz fan, I bought _Forever Odd_ the first day. I could not believe the difference in the books. I had to struggle to continue with the second book, it had such a forced feeling about it.
Now this one, Brother Odd, brings back all my faith in story-telling. The characters are very well-drawn, despite the "supernatural" elements. Odd is a believable sort of guy in this one, even without having the protection of all his hometown buddies. His feelings are real, the journey keeps its ups and downs, suspense, chase scenes, it's got them all. My only regret is that I finished it already. I want to read more.
This is the type of Koontz book that I know and love. I put it up there with Whispers, Strangers and Lightning, which are my all-time favorites.
You gotta buy this one -- IT'S A KEEPER!!!
on November 29, 2006
If you look at my review for "Forever Odd," you'll find that I was a bit unimpressed by it--although that was, in large part, because of the high hopes the first book had set. [A word of warning, by the way: if you haven't read "Odd Thomas" and "Forever Odd," you may want to read them first, as this book gives away a lot of details from those books--especially the former.]
This third book in the Odd series sets the bar higher, and does so from the very first chapters. Even if you haven't read the first two books in the series, it's pretty clear that some terrible things are about to happen--and yet it took me a very long time to figure out what those things were, and why they were about to happen. And even before those terrible things unfold, there are some truly nightmarish scenes (it reminded me of "The Taking"). Amazingly, though, Koontz managed to keep some surprises even for the very last chapter (which may not be the end of the series).
My only complaint with the book is that Koontz trots out some of the same arguments he's been making for years (for example, there's one rant that could have been lifted verbatim from "One Door Away from Heaven"). But even that doesn't really detract from the novel: Koontz brings the monastery to life while simultaneously crafting the spookiest book he's written in quite some time.
If you're a fan of Koontz or Odd, you won't be disappointed.
What can one say? Our beloved Dean Koontz just seems completely unable to recapture the magic readers experienced in the first installment of this trilogy---Odd Thomas. It is only the love affair with Oddie himself which keep many of us (at least myself) coming back for more...
In this, the third of the series, Odd has sought refuge at St. Bartholomew's Abbey. In addition to a religious institution, the Abbey is also a hospital/home to sick, mentally challenged children....who have no one else to care for them. And although the King of Rock 'N Roll is still omnipresent, Oddie can think of no other place more isolated and removed from the ills of the world. Until the day that Odd spots his first bodach, hovering maliciously over one of the children...and realizes that death and destruction will inevitably follow......
The bottom line is that there is no question that Dean Koontz is a great writer...and there is no denying his wit, which is pervasive throughout this novel. However....3/4 of the way through this book, and there is absolutely nothing going on. Endless descriptions of bodachs, hospital hallways, and the infirmed; inane dialogue between Odd and whom we may view at first as an adversary all come together to create an extremely slow-moving tale. With so much potential, the book is almost painful in its disappointment. If not for my love of the ever-quirky Oddie, I would have to let go of this series (clearly, there will be another).
Mr. Koontz has not yet assembled a follow-up worthy of the original Odd Thomas...I am ever-hopeful that eventually he will.
on January 7, 2013
I read the first Odd Thomas book on a plane and liked it, so I started reading the series. The second book, Forever Odd, was not as good as the first but was still enjoyable and interesting. Brother Odd, however, is extremely slow. We are treated to exquisite detail about the most mundane actions, such as a monk frosting cakes and Odd Thomas dressing to go outside in a snowstorm. The dialog is ridiculous - no one speaks like the characters in this novel. Readers have to suspend disbelief when reading Odd Thomas books because of their fantastical nature, and the absurd dialog in this book jars the reader out of the fantasy. I already purchased the next book, Odd Hours. I hope that book is better than Brother Odd - if not, I will not be reading any more Odd Thomas books.
on January 16, 2007
Odd Thomas is one of those characters you can't forget. I discovered him in the quirky, touching, and sometimes chilling "Odd Thomas." I met him again in the darker, less heartfelt "Forever Odd." When I saw the dramatically colored cover of "Brother Odd," however, I was worried that Koontz would take our literary hero into the land of the ludicrous. I picked up the book with a fair share of concern.
"Brother Odd" finds Odd in a new location, seeking solitude and rejuvenation at a monastery in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. This isolated spot gives the story more tension, throwing a bunch of monks and nuns and needy children into a pressure-cooker situation. Odd knows there is trouble brewing again, trouble of a kind only he can see, when he detects evil entities stalking the children. With typical Koontz style, the story unfolds with lots of literary wordplay and Odd Thomas humor. The supporting cast does its job, although the heavy-handed attempt to make Mr. Romanovich seem menacing is just that--heavy-handed, and a bit too misleading.
In the end, Odd Thomas and his band of merry monks and nuns must face the nameless evil that lurks in the blizzards and mountains, and in so doing, Odd confronts his own guilt, while freeing others (such as the spirit of Elvis Presley) from theirs. Koontz's worldview becomes more thought-provoking as his novels come along, and Odd Thomas is the perfect foil for those views--humble, gifted, and a bit odd. In conclusion, this story expresses thoughts about science and creation and God that are intriguing, uplifting, and cautionary--but also preachy, when serving as a denounement to a fast-paced thriller.
With sardonic wit and pokes at our modern culture, Koontz is a writer I'll keep coming back to. He may be too pedantic for some, but at least he has something to say--and he's not afraid to say it. I'll be waiting anxiously for his next, "The Good Guy."
on December 6, 2006
When I read the first "Odd" book -- Odd Thomas -- I found it, well, odd but also quite enjoyable, interesting, entertaining, and emotionally gripping. The clever dialogs between Odd and Stormy were delightful.
Then came book #2 - Forever Odd. I found it tedious, repetative, and a definite disappointment. I thought the character of Odd Thomas had reached the limits of Koontz's imagination during the first book, and that he should just let Odd go.
I approached book #3 (Brother Odd) with trepidation. Should I bother with it, or would I just be dissapointed again? Fortunately, I picked it up after all, and found it nearly as delightful and compelling as the first book. You know how it can be: I started reading it after dinner, and had to force myself to put it down so I'd go to bed at a reasonable hour AND because I really didn't want it to end because I was enjoying it so thoroughly.
My advice if you haven't read any of the 3 books is to read "Odd Thomas" first, skip "Forever Odd", and then read "Brother Odd." Once again, I am looking forward to future "Odd" adventures.
Like other reviewers I also like Brother Odd Koontz' newest installment on the Odd series. Unlike many other reviewers I like all three books, Odd Thomas, Forever Odd and now Brother Odd. I also think that each book has gotten stronger in story development. Obviously, as the main character forms in front of our eyes the books should get better each time.
In Brother Odd, Odd Thomas has retreated to St. Bartholmew's Abbey in an attempt to put some distance between himself and the dead that he sees almost constantly. Eventually trouble catches up with him at the abbey as bodachs, a particularily hateful form of spirit, begin to show up. This certainly means that huge trouble is in the offing.
Koontz is a master story constructor. He leads the reader through experiences and vistas that we are unable to experience in this world....thank God. Brother Odd is a scary book and certainly worth your while to read if you're looking for some unsettling escapism.
on February 5, 2013
Rather than reviewing each of the Odd books by Dean Koontz, I'll just recommend that you read all of them. I read them as fast as I could and enjoyed each one to the max. They are about Odd who can see deceased people. The spirits haven't left this plane for a reason and don't feel they can move on without closure. These dead people gravitate to Odd for help. Because of his good heart and the realization that he's been given a gift to use, he tends to help most who pull on him. This leads the reader into all sorts of unexpected situations with Odd, who tends to do what is placed in front of him to do, whether he knows how or is prepared, or even understands how he can help. One of his most endearing qualities is his trust in his gifts and that if he takes the first step, it will work out, and the next step will be revealed to him. He starts putting one foot in front of the other, and pretty soon we are neck deep with him in how to help these spirits. He meets some pretty heinous live people, so the books are full of Odd's many adventures. There is a special on the books where you can buy 4 at one time. You may as well buy the special and save some money because most of us who've read the books ended up with all of them.