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Odd Thomas returns! This time to a abbey in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and yes, he still sees dead people.

Audio Book Review – Brother Odd by Dean Koontz – Read by David Aaron Baker

Odd Thomas returns! This time he is not in the desert town of Pico Mundo, rather he is high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this third installment of what has become the Odd Thomas series, we find him in reclusion at St. Bartholomew's Abbey where he has gone for solace and seclusion.

While waiting for an oncoming snow storm – this is the first time that he has seen snow – he encounters bodachs. These are the dark entities that precede cataclysmic events and feed on the impending doom of others. The last time he encountered them, 19 people died. What are they doing at a monastery that caters to handicapped children?

“Loop me in, odd one” are the words spoken by a young girl who is in a deep sleep. These are words that Odd has not heard since the death of his girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn. It sends a chill down his spine.

By the time Brother Timothy is found to be missing, the snow is falling heavily and outside help is not available. The question is not if something will happen, the question is when and how bad will it be this time. It will be up to Odd to solve the mystery and save the abbey. Odd is about to embark on a journey of mystery, wonder and sheer suspense that surpasses all that has come before.

For those who are unfamiliar with Odd Thomas, he sees dead people and other spirits, as the bodachs. Normally, Odd lives in a little desert town known as Pico Mundo where he is employed as a fry cook, but has chosen to live at the abbey to help overcome the grief for his deceased girlfriend and the burden he set on himself that he could not save more people at mall.

The dead people that Odd Thomas sees are ones who can’t quite make it to the other side. One of the reoccurring ghosts is Elvis, who sometimes cries, sometimes tries to make Odd laugh but is always trying to resolve the sadness he has for disappointing his mother. Although Odd can see the ghosts, he can not hear them.

In the first book, Stormy died and Odd believed that after a lifetime of service to humanity, that he would one day be reunited in the after-life with her. As in his prior books, Odd Thomas places his life danger to protect others. In this case it is to protect the young children housed in the abbey, most are handicapped and incapable of living a normal life.

Brother Odd is more of a return to the first book, Odd Thomas which was published in 2003. Forever Odd, published in 2005 was a darker tale and much more introspective than this one. In Brother Odd, Koontz returns with a strong supporting cast including Brother Knuckles who was a mob enforcer, before finding his new calling. There is Sister Angela who has a “periwinkle blue stare” as well as Boo, a snow-colored hound who loves inclement weather.

This is Koontz at his finest. There is a wry sense of humor that runs like multiple threads throughout the story. As with his earlier books in the series it is easy to find yourself immersed in the development of the characters. They are loose, individual and really come alive with their rich dialog. The plot takes you along at an ever increasing pace moving faster and faster toward… Well, you wouldn’t want me to spoil it would you?

Odd Thomas has become one of the best serial fictional characters ever created. His calm demeanor and his dedication to his fellow souls in –- both living and not — brings his personality to life. He is not pretentious and is always willing to undertake the challenges that life places in his path.

This unabridged audio version is read by David Aaron Baker. An actor who has appeared on Broadway and on film, he has narrated all three audio versions of the Odd Thomas series. In this one Baker has slipped back in to the voice of Odd as smoothly as sliding into fuzzy slippers on a Christmas morning. His ability to weave in and out of the different characters makes this a wonder to listen to. I hope that he continues to bring Odd Thomas to life in the spoken word as Dean Koontz brings him to life on the page.

If I had one complaint with the story it is that it is too short. This is one of those rare moments that at the end, you don't want to be done. Even more, you can’t wait to go back. I hope that we will be going back soon!

I highly recommend Brother Odd. If you have never read (or listened to) an Odd Thomas story, get all three. You will not be disappointed.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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