By Lionel Green

Special to The Times

Master of suspense Dean Koontz continues to pump out best-selling novels at a regular pace, but they have taken a decidedly spiritual turn. The protagonist of his latest novel, Odd Thomas, is back for a second helping in “Forever Odd,” a sequel to the 2004 best-seller “Odd Thomas.”

Both books feature the heroic and humble short-order cook as he deals with danger in a small town in the southwest desert. The first Odd novel introduces the character with one of the best first chapters that I have ever read. Like many Koontz stories, “Odd Thomas” blends joy and tragedy to make an almost perfect dish of guarded hopefulness for the future of his characters.

Odd has a special gift, much like the young boy in the popular Bruce Willis movie, “The Sixth Sense.” Odd sees dead people and tries to help them out when he can. In “Odd Thomas,” the cook has 24 hours to figure out what evil catastrophe will befall his hometown after uncovering some ominous clues. Koontz lets Odd tell the story, writing it in first person, giving the novel an intimate feel.

I think to truly enjoy “Forever Odd,” you need to read “Odd Thomas” first. It’s not necessary, but it will certainly add to the enjoyment of the sequel.

In “Forever Odd,” Odd has to investigate the disappearance of a childhood friend and encounters another powerful evil. Also told in first person, the novel once again demonstrates the heartache of sacrifice and the importance of friendship in a cruel world.

Koontz said on his Web site that the character of Odd Thomas “came to me fully formed, as if he were a real person whom I had known all my life.” Koontz said Odd was the first of his characters that filled him with awe and with admiration.

“Odd Thomas” spent 20 weeks on the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books, peaking at No. 7. “Forever Odd” spent seven weeks on the list, peaking at No. 17.

Koontz indicated on his Web site that Odd will likely be back in a third novel. Until then, you can enjoy the first two, which are available in the Cullman County Public Library System.

“Forever Odd” is at the main library, and copies of “Odd Thomas” are available at the main library and at the one in Garden City, according to the online catalog. Check the catalog at www.ccpls.com to see if they are on the shelves.



Suggest a book for review or tell us why you thought a book was particularly good by e-mailing lionelrgreen@msn.

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