Once presided over by a Roaring ’20s Hollywood mogul, the magnificent West Coast estate known as Roseland now harbors a reclusive billionaire financier and his faithful servants—and their guests: Odd Thomas, the young fry cook who sees the dead and tries to help them, and Annamaria, his inscrutably charming traveling companion. Fresh from a harrowing clash with lethal adversaries, they welcome their host’s hospitality. But Odd’s extraordinary eye for the uncanny detects disturbing secrets that could make Roseland more hell than haven.
Soon enough the house serves up a taste of its terrors, as Odd begins to unravel the darkest mystery of his curious career. What consequences await those who confront evil at its most profound? Odd only knows.
I have certain talents. In addition to being a pretty good short-order cook, I have an occasional prophetic dream. And in the waking world, I sometimes see the spirits of the lingering dead who, for various reasons, are reluctant to move on to the Other Side.
This long-dead horse and rider, now only spirits in our world, knew that no one but I could see them. After appearing to me twice the previous day and once this morning, but at a distance, the woman seemed to have decided to get my attention in an aggressive fashion.
Mount and mistress raced around me in a wide arc. I turned to follow them, and they cantered toward me once more but then halted. The stallion reared over me, silently slashing the air with the hooves of its forelegs, nostrils flared, eyes rolling, a creature of such immense power that I stumbled backward even though I knew that it was as immaterial as a dream.
Spirits are solid and warm to my touch, as real to me in that way as is anyone alive. But I am not solid to them, and they can neither ruffle my hair nor strike a death blow at me.
Because my sixth sense complicates my existence, I try otherwise to keep my life simple. I have fewer possessions than a monk. I have no time or peace to build a career as a fry cook or as anything else. I never plan for the future, but wander into it with a smile on my face, hope in my heart, and the hair up on the nape of my neck.
This is the fifth book in the series starring Odd Thomas, the self-proclaimed fry cook with his ability to see the recently departed. The series continues along the same path it did with the prior novel “Odd Hours” with Odd Thomas and his companion Annamaria as they stay at the Roseland estate. The events of the novel take place over the course of a single day and Koontz manages to pack a significant amount of action, suspense, and even a little bit of horror into this nearly 400 page novel. As a result of this, the novel moves at a breakneck speed and can quickly leave you behind with scene after scene of Odd’s hazard filled day.
While newcomers to the series could easily enjoy the novel, greater appreciation definitely comes to those who have read the previous novels. Interestingly, this is the first novel where Odd is almost completely on his own for the entire novel. While Boo, his ghost dog, is present he stays with Annamaria “off-stage” for the majority of the novel. Additionally, Elvis is long gone and Frank Sinatra from the previous novel has also passed on. We do meet Odd’s next dearly departed companion, but he plays no role in the course of the novel.
The overwhelming mysterious background that Koontz has instilled into his Odd Thomas novels is present in abundance.
“Narcissists are everywhere in this ripe age of self-love, which amazes me because so much in life would seem to foster humility. Each of us is a potential source of foolishness, each of us must endure the consequences of the foolishness of others, and in addition to all of that, Nature frequently works to impress upon us our absurdity and thereby remind us that we are not the masters of the universe that we like to suppose we are.
Even the most patient reader will undoubtedly get annoyed at some point with Odd’s willingness to continue along his path literally knowing and understanding nothing about the circumstances in which he finds himself. The vast majority of the novel we have no idea what is happening at the Roseland estate, we know very little about Annamaria, and the conclusion to the novel while satisfying leaves one yearning for the next novel in the series to further the over-arcing storyline. Readers should be aware, that this novel sends Odd down into darker roads (similar to Odd Hours) and the situations in which he finds himself contain more horror than humor. However, there are still a few slices of humor interspersed if only to add a small amount of brevity to the overall story.
up to no good—and pleased about it.
In the end, the novel is a fitting member of the rest of the series. However, little is explained regarding the over-arcing storyline introduced in the previous novel. Fans of the previous novels will most likely enjoy this book as well, while newcomers would be better served reading the initial novel in the series: “Odd Thomas”
I cannot help but love a book in which the main character spouts off about wanting to strangle mimes, “like all mentally stable citizens,” assures himself that the frightful cry keeping him awake cannot belong to a loon, because loons “do not change their voices to fit the landscape. They’re birds, not politicians,” or categorizes believing in the solvency of Social Security in the same list as “Aliens, Seances, and Tesla’s more fantastic inventions.” On top of that, there is both the mystery of the scenario (frankly, increasingly wild as the books progress – this one ends up in the category of science gone wrong, a la “Brother Odd”) and the other characters such as Annabelle, plus the always-compelling contest of good vs. evil and how one can fight the later without also becoming it.
Recommended for all Koontz fans, and Odd ones especially. Don’t start here, of course: read this series in order!