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Brother Odd    by Dean Koontz order for
Brother Odd
by Dean Koontz
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

In the third installment of the bestselling Odd Thomas series, Koontz brings back his lovable character and throws him into another tumultuous situation from which there may be no escape.

Life is peaceful at the St. Bartholomew's Abbey for Odd. Having stared terror in the face twice and lived to tell the tales, Odd now longs for quieter days. Still mourning his soul mate, a woman he lost to acts of unspeakable evil, he's retreated to a more serene life in the Sierra Nevada mountains. In a place where the most interesting bit of gossip revolves around a portly monk's love of Kit Kat bars, Odd finds himself able to deal with the malevolent events of his past for the first time since losing his beloved Stormy. But as Odd knows, peaceful times rarely last.

As in the past, the harbingers of evil are bodachs, supernatural spirits that assemble around those who are destined to be at the heart of a massively violent act. Because Odd is the only one who can see bodachs, he knows he's likely also the only one who can prevent the atrocity before it occurs. When the chocolate-loving monk disappears, Odd fears the worst. Led by his instincts and his past experience with terror-filled disasters, he frantically sets out to stop an unknown villain. But can he learn the truth before his only haven is destroyed?

With his signature style and flare for the outlandish, Koontz populates Brother Odd with a series of eccentric characters, including a former mobster-turned-monk, a Russian spy, and the ghost of Elvis Presley. The dialogue between Odd and the other inhabitants of the monastery is by turns wildly amusing and deeply insightful. As always, Koontz's writing is compelling, engaging and visually evocative. The setting comes to life through Koontz's skillful narration, while Odd and his even odder companions never fail to entertain.

Although the trademark Koontz twist isn't quite as surprising in this novel as one would expect, the plot doesn't much suffer for it. By the time the identity of the antagonist is revealed, the reader is too engaged in the plight of the characters to question the villain's motives. At the heart of Brother Odd lies a rip-roaring good time, and readers seeking a deeply realistic tale are better off looking elsewhere.

Overall, while those not familiar with Koontz's brand of fiction may be put off by the rather far-fetched plot and bizarre conclusion, fans of the first two Odd Thomas novels will be swept along for a wild ride.

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