Friday, October 5, 2012

Humble Pie, Exploding Cows and Odd Thomas

I am a literary snob. I bypass bestsellers because I figure: how good can a book be if everyone likes it? Consequently, I have never read Ken Follett, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, or Dean Koontz.

Then reader/friend Susan, who lives in Sugar Land, Texas, said I should read some Koontz, the bestselling author of suspense thrillers with dash of satire and spirituality. She suggested I start with Odd Thomas, the first in a trilogy of books about a short-order cook at the Pico Mundo Grill in a small Arizona town. Odd Thomas' supernatural abilities allow him to see ghosts, including Elvis Presley.

Humble pie never tasted so good.

Who couldn't love a book that includes this line? “Nothing is worse than being alone on the evening of the day when one's cow has exploded.” 

Koontz is a wonderful storyteller, a great crafter of suspense. This book, first published in 2003, has a great plot , but one woven with insights about our time here on earth. Think Steven King + Walker Percy + a smidgeon of Flannery O'Connor. I would also add this is an easy book to put down and pick up. That's how I read it over the summer - at the pool, at the beach and in our parked minivan while I waited for our boys to finish activities.

Here are some of the gems I underlined as I read.

“We are not strangers to ourselves, we only try to be.” 

“... we are in this boot camp to learn, that if we don't persevere through all this world's obstacles and all its wounds, we won't earn our next life of great adventure.” 

“Being polite is not only the right way to respond to people but also the easiest.” 

Koontz drew me in with his quirky characters and his plot twists. But he kept my interest with his humor, and the gems he throws in as he is telling his story.

Koontz, 68, lives in Orange County, California. He grew up in Pennsylvania, married his high school girlfriend, and converted to Catholicism his senior year of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

In a 2007 interview with the National Catholic Register, he explained he doesn't want to preach when he writes.  He said: "Spirituality has always been an element of my books. People who see it as a sudden development were just not perceiving it previously, when it was less central to the story. I write about our struggle as fallen souls, about the grace of God, but I never get on a soapbox about it. I’m first and foremost an entertainer."

At one point in the book the protagonist Odd Thomas us: “Some lives, conducted with grace, are beautiful arcs bridging this world to eternity.”  That is an apt description of Mr. Koontz.

1 comment:

  1. Hi also highly reccomend reading Dean Koontz. There are always good values (such as love and friendship in his works).