The story, Forever Odd, written by Dean Koontz utilizes setting in a couple of fascinating ways from revealing characters in a similar way to “The devil and Tom Walker” as well as setting the general mood for the horror and mystery part of the story.
One section of the story is placed in an eerily quiet mansion where most of the murder investigation for Odd’s now deceased friend is taking place. Normally, characters put into this situation would be more on edge about the whole thing however Odd doesn’t quite react like that. Odd Thomas is strictly about figuring out what happened, wasting no time on what the pressing issues at the time are. This makes a pretty cool reflection on Odd Thomas’s character, making him seem more calm and collected than your average person. This also could reflect something mentioned in a previous blog post about this story in which I mentioned that Odd Thomas is used to these things now. He isn’t someone to enter a state of panic because of a ghost or some otherworldly being or because of a close friend being kidnapped. Odd’s way of just focusing on the major problem at hand could also just be a way to cope with all of the turmoil he has gone through in his life though.
Continuing on about setting, the setting of this spooky house adds to the overall ominous quality of the current story. The investigation is well underway and Odd along with the police man, Chief Porter are trying to find clues about the murder and are trying to figure out where their dear friend Danny was taken to. The setting may not play a large role in this section of the story due to it mostly being focused on the conflicts at hand which are involving the major characters of the story. In general storytelling however, most big mansions where a murder has taken place is usually a place for suspense and such. Dean Koontz takes advantage of this and introduces the main plot point of Danny’s kidnapping here which only adds to the overall tone of these past few chapters.
The series of Odd Thomas in general does contain a fair amount of humor though this does lesser throughout this six part series as the stories become darker as they continue on. An example of how Dean Koontz incorporates humor into this book in particular is how the main character comments on the events going on around him. So far none of the situations in the book warrant any kind of humor as Odd’s childhood friend was just found dead and he’s currently investigating along with the chief police officer.
Looking back at one of the other books in the series for a better idea of the humor used, Odd has encountered a number of pretty funny ghosts including the king of rock and roll himself, Elvis Presley.
Odd also used to refer to himself as an ‘ordinary fry cook who definitely wasn’t special in any way, shape, or form.’ This shows that the character makes use of sarcasm in order to play down the fact that Odd is not in fact ‘ordinary’ which leads me to my next point about how Odd uses sarcasm and such in order to cope with all of the messed up situations he encounters within his hometown. Odd encounters all sorts of evil, disgusting creatures as well as scary ghosts. Obviously something like this can certainly take a toll on someone’s mental health. Humor is often used to help lighten up sad, and downright depressing situations which allow people to cope with the horrors that exist in the world. Within Odd Thomas in particular, Odd uses his sarcasm and humor to cope with the loss of friends, the constant appearances of disfigured spirits, and much more. The humor is also used in such a way to keep the novel from becoming too depressing as well, the tone is kept generally light as often as possible with dark moments spread throughout.
So far within the story, as mentioned earlier in the blog, there aren’t very many instances where humor has been able to be properly utilized as of yet however, as the story progresses there are sure to be some more of Odd’s iconic sarcastic remarks to lighten up the mood of the story.
Due to the somber nature of the current situation, Odd isn’t talking to very many other people at the moment so most of the characterization comes from what the character says about himself as well as his interactions with the spirit of his childhood friend in the first chapter. Odd is the only one in the dusty old town of Pico Mundo who can figure out what happened to Doctor Jessup which makes him the driving force when it comes to solving the conflict as well as the protagonist of the story. Odd is experienced when it comes to murders, especially when they involve elements of the supernatural world. This leads him to take control in most situations and is able to be proactive about the situation most of the time. His one interaction with Chief Porter over the phone reporting Dr. Jessup’s murder also reaffirms the fact that Odd has seen his fair share of disturbing situations. Chief Porter also makes a remark about how he’s just hoping Odd is calling because he’s lonely which sadly is never the case in Odd’s life. Odd narrates the story himself so the reader experiences the environment of the desert town through his eyes. Odd is a well written realistic character, like mentioned previously elsewhere I just want to see this guy catch a break without having to worry about constant ghosts haunting everywhere he goes and demons disguised as people who threaten his safety. His remarks about certain situations can make him come off as tired in a way. He knows that he has some kind of responsibility to help people with his ability however he seems just sick of it.
Another character who has a minor bit of characterization is the now spirit, Dr. Jessup. Dr. Jessup, as mentioned many times, is Odd’s childhood friend. He’s quite reserved according to Odd in the first chapter as well as extremely intelligent. The latter is evident due to his title as doctor and his position as a radiologist. However because Dr. Jessup was unfortunatly killed, you could infer that he either had bad blood with somebody or it may have been just an unfortunate coincidence.
I ended up reading the book Forever Odd by Dean Koontz. This is the second of the series Odd Thomas which I’ve accidentally read out of order and never actually gotten around to finishing before. My previous book didn’t vibe with me so I ended up choosing Forever Odd instead. This series follows an eccentric man named Odd Thomas who has the ability to see dead people. In this particular book, Odd has to figure out who killed his childhood friend and “embark on a heart-stopping battle of will and wits” against a possibly otherworldly fiend. The main character is a man who is haunted by the trauma caused by his ability. Being forced to murder demons who appear as normal people to the rest of the world doesn’t bode well with one’s mental health. He recognizes that he’s not really a hero even if the townspeople around him call him one. After following the series, personally I just want to see this guy get a break for once and be able to live in peace without being disturbed by spirits and such. This first chapter introduces us to Odd after the events of the last story. He doesn’t sleep well anymore, his fiance, Stormy is no longer with him, and overall he’s struggling. One night in his apartment, an old friend of his, a radiologist named Dr. Jessup, wanders in being exceptionally more silent than usual. Not being able to tell the difference between a spirit and a living person, Odd doesn’t find anything wrong with this at first until he begins to question his old friend on why he’s being so silent. (It’s revealed in the past books that spirits can’t speak). After being led to Dr.Jessup’s home, Odd finds his friend’s mutilated dead body in the living room of the radiologist’s home. All of this sets up a thrilling story with elements of suspense and horror which also just happens to be my favorite types of stories. As shown by the previous books, the characters are fleshed out, interesting, and have interesting character arcs. Overall, I’m quite excited to dive further into the story!