I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Brother Odd by Dean Koontz
This horror is a hardcover edition was published by Bantam on November 28, 2006 and has 364 pages.
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Other books by this author include Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, Odd Hours, Odd Apocalypse, Deeply Odd, The City, Odd Thomas: You Are Destined to Be Together Forever (Short Story), Saint Odd
Third in the Odd Thomas horror-lite series about a young man needing to retreat from his horrific life.
Horror-lite? Yeah, what else can you call it when the story is both warm and creepily weird?
Well, I was dying to know what and why Odd sought out a monastery. And Koontz delivered with warmth and homeyness even as violence broke out. It’s an odd mixture of science and the metaphysical, not at all what I would expect. But then, neither is Odd.
The peace and vitality with which Koontz invested the monastery and the brothers was very appealing as well as their purpose in aiding the children. A contrast made greater when the bodachs and then the bone man appears. It’s creepy how Koontz can — in one sentence — provide warmth and then snatch it away.
And yet greater when Koontz points out that medical science has progressed to a point where it’s rare for children damaged by “chromosomal abnormalities”. Instead, it’s parents who don’t want to give up their drugs long enough to deliver a healthy child, adults who think nothing of brutally beating a child.
As Odd puts it:
“Hell must be going through a construction boom these days.”
Okay, I know that the police chief and Father Llewellyn vouched for Odd, but I really can’t imagine anyone simply accepting the weird statements Odd makes about the monastery needing to “fortify and defend”. No, it’s absolutely great that they do, but really, why??
Then there’s that whole relationship with Romanovich and his interaction with Odd. It’s odd, it’s weird, it’s as though Koontz slipped it in simply to ensure laughter.
But it seems that God has his own agenda in mind for Brother Odd, and it’s the bodachs who awaken Odd to potential trouble, followed by the body in the courtyard.
Life and Death stalk St. Bart’s.
Odd Thomas is a brilliant fry cook who happens to see dead people and feels compelled to help them find justice. Boo is a white shepherd-mix Odd encounters at the monastery. Bronwen Llewellyn, a.k.a., Stormy, was Odd’s girlfriend.
St. Bartholomew’s Abbey is both monastery and home for disabled children who include Annamarie, ten and trapped in a wheelchair; Justine is partially paralyzed and does not speak (another reason for licensing parents); Walter can play note-perfect any music he hears, but can’t speak or care for himself; Jacob Calvino is a beautiful artist, able to draw the emotions people feel, and he’s terrified of the Neverwas; and, Flossie Bodenblatt wants to be known as Christmas instead.
Sister Angela, the mother superior, and Father Bernard, the abbot, are the only ones who know of Odd’s gift. Brother Knuckles, the former Salvatore Giancomo, was a mobster before he saw the light. Brother Timothy takes care of the mechanical systems for the abbey and school. Father Reinhart is the prior. Brother John was once known as John Heineman, a “brilliant physicist…but increasingly a tortured soul”. He used his brilliance to amass billions and then retreated. Brother Roland is the guestmaster. Brother Gregory is the infirmarian and helps Brother Norbert with laundry. Brother Leopold is one of the few that Odd doesn’t like. Brother Fletcher is the cantor and music director. Brother Quentin was a policeman in his previous life, and he and Brothers Quentin, Alfonse, Augustine, Kevin, Maxwell, and Rupert will be the monastery’s defenders. If they can just get them all in one place.
Sister Marie Claire and Sister Miriam, a social worker before she entered Holy Orders, are two of the sisters with St. Barts.
Brother Constantine is a dead monk who committed suicide and haunts the bell tower. A Reaper haunts the bell tower and the monastery.
Rodion Romanovich is the glowering Russian currently staying in the guesthouse, who claims to be a librarian from Indiana. Chief Wyatt Porter, the chief of police in Pico Mundo, California, Odd’s hometown, and Father Sean Llewellyn, Stormy’s uncle, keep Odd’s secrets and vouche for him. P. Oswald “Little Ozzie” Boone is his hugely fat friend and mentor who wallows in good food as he writes several series of books about detectives. Elvis‘ ghost hangs with Odd; Odd reckons he hopes “find the courage to move on”. The NSA shows up spouting phrases like “rot in prison”.
Bodachs are supernatural entities which can enter any building, any space and gather wherever “violent or fiery catastrophe is destined to erupt” for “they feed on human suffering”. The greater the number of bodachs, the greater the slaughter. Just don’t let them even think you know they exist.
The Cover and Title
The cover is an interesting blend of the magically metaphysical and religion with its rainbow of yellow-orange-red-violet of stormy cloud effects slanting diagonally across the face of the cover and a brown hooded monk with rope belt.
The title succinctly indicates the who and the where, for it’s Brother Odd in a monastery.