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Literature / Odd Thomas

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"Loop me in, odd one."

"I see dead people. But then, by God, I do something about it."
Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas (it's his name, not an adjective) lives in Pico Mundo. Odd Thomas is a fry cook at a short order grill. Odd Thomas is polite, friendly, and well-liked by his neighbors.

Odd Thomas can see the spirits of the restless dead.

In the series written by Dean Koontz, seven Odd Thomas novels exist (with Saint Odd being the final), as well as a four-episode web series, three graphic novels, and an interquel novella.

Titles, in Order of Release:

  • Odd Thomas (2003)
  • Forever Odd (2005)
  • Brother Odd (2006)
  • Odd Passenger (Web Series, 2008)
  • Odd Hours (2008)
  • Odd Interlude (eBook Novella, 2012)
  • Odd Apocalypse (2012)
  • Deeply Odd (2013)
  • Saint Odd (2015)

In 2013, Stephen Sommers (of Van Helsing and The Mummy Trilogy fame) wrote and directed a film adaptation of the first novel. Originally available through satellite tv provider DirecTV it is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

The Odd Thomas movie was released in the US on February 28, 2014 and is now available on iTunes and Netflix (US).

This series contains examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents: Odd's dad is a narcissistic attention whore. Odd's mom is The Ophelia who threatened her son and herself with a gun when she felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of having a child. Stormy's adoptive father apparently just adopted her as some kind of sex toy and did so until she finally worked up the courage to call social services.
  • Action Survivor
  • Alternate Continuity: While not confirmed yet, it's implied that the graphic novels take place in a different timeline than the main novels - mainly because Stormy is still alive and the events therein wouldn't make sense if they were all before the second novel.
  • Angel Unaware: Annamaria is heavily implied to be something more than human which is confirmed in Saint Odd, though she isn't an angel.
  • Arc Words: "Loop me in, odd one."
    • "You are destined to be together forever."
  • Author Tract: Odd occasionally laps into little sermons about what's wrong with modern civilization, i.e. liberalism, irreligion, scientism, mass media, utilitarian bioethics, etc.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Despite a very working-class background, Odd has the vocabulary and cadences of a college professor and constantly drops fifty-dollar words. Possibly justified by Little Ozzie's influence and, possibly, editing.
  • Badass Unintentional: Odd never wanted his powers and he'd rather have a boring, uneventful life cooking, selling tires or maybe even sticking promotional flyers on people's cars, but because of his gift he frequently becomes the only person with enough knowledge to stop something bad from happening and does so.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Some famous people, like Elvis and Frank Sinatra, help Odd in his quest to fight demon-worshippers and other villains. It all happens post-mortem for them - they're ghosts who for different reasons haven't crossed into the proper afterlife yet.
  • Berserk Button: Don't murder someone, especially in a gruesome way. Don't ever, ever threaten a child. Never tell Odd that his pancakes suck.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Odd could be the poster boy for this trope. Gentle, kind, polite, tries to avoid violence, courteous... that is until he finds out you murdered, hurt, or tortured someone or threaten one of his friends or acquaintances, then, well, you've got one heck of a badass Determinator on your tail and he will stop you from ever hurting anyone again.
  • Big Good: Mrs. Edie Fischer assumes this role in the final couple books.
  • Blessed with Suck: Odd, by his own estimation.
  • Cats Are Mean: Little Ozzie's cat, Terrible Chester, who endeavors to pee on the shoes of everyone he doesn't like. This category includes pretty much everyone in Pico Mundo except Ozzie.
  • Celibate Hero: Because Stormy wanted to wait until they were married and since her death he refuses because he's still staying true to her.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Not by choice, but see "The Determinator" below.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Odd is so much in love with Stormy that he doesn't even notice when other girls try to hit on him, which they do with more frequency than his self-deprecating descriptions of himself would seem to warrant.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Odd. Cats, brooms, mops, and, well, anything that is handy, and yes, he will use every dirty trick in the book if it means bringing a fight to a close.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: as an OEL Manga.
  • Cool Old Lady: Granny Sugars in Odd's backstory.
  • Crazy in the Head, Crazy in the Bed: Odd's father firmly believes that the more unstable a woman is, the better she'll be in bed. Odd's mother must have been a fantastic lay by that logic, since her method of dealing with stress in Odd's childhood was to threaten to shoot herself every time he needed something (and once even pressed a gun to his eye because he was coughing).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Happy childhood? The only part of his childhood that Odd recalls with fondness is when his grandmother would take time off from gambling and traveling the country to visit him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Odd himself falls into this category, but the real Snarker Award goes to the love of his life, Stormy.
  • Demonic Possession: House of Odd and maybe Odd Hours. These are not the ghosts Odd usually sees.
  • The Determinator: Odd Thomas. Once he is contacted by the unquiet dead, no amount of reasoning or threatening can get him off the case. Odd himself comments on how much trouble this gets him in.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Odd, of the traumatic childhood tragedy variety. However, he will pick up a gun if the situation is dire enough; he doesn't want someone to die because he couldn't overcome his fear/aversion.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Pretty much Odd's reason for existing after Stormy dies. He wants to join her in "service" in the afterlife and feels he won't be able to if he gives up. Also the reason he becomes The Determinator.
  • Evil Is Petty: A recurring theme in the series. In almost every book there's a scene of one or more extremely evil characters acting either like petulant children or the dullest bores you ever met.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Odd's powers are useless in a fight.
  • First-Person Smartass: Subverted in that Odd is so hilariously humble about his smartassery. Many readers hear him speaking with Toby McGuire's voice.
  • Friend on the Force: Chief Wyatt Porter
  • Full-Name Basis: Rosalia Sanches calls Odd by his full name all the time.
  • Good Is Not Dumb
  • Hero's Muse: Stormy. One of the things that keeps Odd going when things get really is that he doesn't want to disappoint her by backing off when he can do something to stop something terrible from happening.
  • Humble Hero: Odd, full stop.
  • Improvised Weapon: Odd usually uses some normal, everyday item as a weapon at least once per book.
  • Indy Ploy: This is the way Odd works in dangerous situations, he's helped by his psychic instincts.
  • Intangible Time Travel: Odd's theory about the bodachs.
  • Ironic Nickname: Little Ozzie, who weighs 450 pounds.
  • I See Dead People: Odd can see the spirits of the dead. They can't speak to him, but he does his best to help them find rest anyway.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Played straight, with major exceptions made for Elvis and Sinatra
  • Limited Wardrobe: Odd has a small wardrobe of simple clothes like jeans, chinos, sneakers and T-shirts. This is partly because he has no interest in fashion and partly because he often finds himself travelling at a moment's notice, a situation where bringing a large amount of luggage wouldn't be practical.
  • Living Shadow: The bodachs, which appear as intangible shadows near sites of impending violence.
  • Memento Macguffin: The fortuneteller prediction ticket that says "You are destined to be together forever."
  • Mysterious Waif: Annamaria.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: After the first couple books, Odd describes profanity more often than transcribes it, usually by replacing it with a more literal and formalized version of the word:
    Odd: "He called me a rectum."
  • Nice Guy: Odd.
  • Noodle Incident: Odd peppers his narrative with references to previous adventures that he never explains in detail.
    • The first mentioned is him being dumped into the Malo Suerto Lake chained to a pair of dead bodies. He lives.
    • There's also mention of an angry cross-eyed ferret that was able to get him out of another scrape.
    • And the men in porkpie hats who tried to crush him to death with heavy machinery.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: (Probably) non-letal case. Once Odd recounts a list of improvized weapons, which he effectively used for self-defence:
    Over the years, in pinches and crunches, I have survived—often just barely—by the effective use of such weapons as fists, feet, knees, elbows, a baseball bat, a shovel, a knife, a rubber snake, a real snake, three expensive antique porcelain vases, about a hundred gallons of molten tar, a bucket, a lug wrench, an angry cross-eyed ferret, a broom, a frying pan, a toaster, butter, a fire hose, and a large bratwurst.
  • Parental Abandonment: Odd's parents are so messed up that Odd was essentially raised by his grandmother, and started living independently at 16.
  • Poltergeist: The vast majority of the ghosts Odd encounters are intangible, and none of them can directly harm the living. However, get certain powerful ghosts riled up enough, and you will find yourself being bombarded by anything that's not nailed down - and a few things that are...
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Odd is occasionally troubled by these. So is one of his neighbors.
  • Psychic Powers: In addition to being able to see the dead, Odd uses what he calls "psychic magnetism" to find people, and he seems to have an almost supernatural ability at card playing, which he attributes to "sensing" when his hand is better or worse than others'. Other people have (inaccurately) attributed to him things like precognition and dream interpretation (but see above).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief Wyatt Porter, one of the few people who knows about Odd's gift.
  • Red Herring: As it's a staple of the mystery/suspense genre, even Odd's psychic powers and great intuition occasionally lead him to false conclusions, however briefly.
  • Religion of Evil: Basically every book is Odd having to deal with one of these. The first book is Satanists, the second a psycho woman that has traveled all over the world studying occult stuff, the third is a guy that thinks he can create life, the fifth are a group of people who think they're gods, and the sixth are another (even worse) group of Satanists.
    • The first graphic novel has a man who believes he sold his soul to the Devil for immortality, but the second averts this.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Pretty much the consequence of Odd's being Blessed with Suck.
  • Self-Deprecation: Odd is a master of this trope.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Again, Odd Thomas. He starts out this way, having been through numerous life-or-death situations before the series ever begins. Then Stormy dies.
  • Spirit Advisor: Inverted. Odd is an adviser to ghosts.
  • Stealth Insult: Odd is very, very good at these.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Odd again, at the behest of Little Ozzy, to keep the tone of the books light.
  • The 'Verse: Brother Salvatore, aka Brother Knuckles; the ex-mafia enforcer turned monk from Brother Odd has a brief cameo at the beginning of Lost Souls, the fourth book of Koontz's Frankenstein series; where he is an associate of Deucalion (i.e., the Monster). They meet at St. Bartholomew's, setting of Brother Odd; and there are other references to that setting.
    • Odd Interlude takes place just outside of Moonlight Bay, the setting of Koontz' Christopher Snow series.
    • Another book references a plane crash that killed all but a little girl on board, a reference to Sole Survivor.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Odd is very reluctant to, but will if she is going to kill or hurt someone else.

    Odd Thomas 
  • Action Girlfriend: Stormy, who, unlike Odd, has no problem about using a gun.
  • All Take and No Give: Odd's mom is a friendly, beautiful woman, who absolutely cannot psychologically handle literally any kind of situation that demands anything from her. She instantly responds with threats of self-harm and shocking verbal abuse.
  • Axe-Crazy: Odd's mother frequently threatens to shoot herself if faced with any situation that she doesn't want to handle. This has, in the past, included pregnancy with and raising Odd himself. She also threatened to shoot him with it when he was sick because he was coughing too much and crying for her.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-Universe example. Odd describes a bizarre encounter with Lyndon Johnson, in which the former President, dressed in the hospital pajamas he died in, got off a bus, looked around, spotted Odd, mooned him, and then got on another bus.
  • Cannibal Larder: Thomas finds a very tidy such larder in the killer's refrigerator. It's unclear if they are truly intended for eating, or are just trophies.
  • Character Title
  • Chastity Couple: Odd and the love of his life, Stormy, are this because of Stormy's traumatic childhood sexual abuse, and his willingness to wait until she's ready. Tragically, they never will, because she perishes partway through the story.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Fungus Man is killed by his partners before even encountering Odd.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Stormy's real first name is Bronwen. Use it at your peril.
  • Ephebophile: Odd's dad likes dating 19-year-old girls who look 16. Odd's mother was one such girl. It is implied that this started after Dad got in trouble for soliciting a minor.
  • Evil Detecting Cat: Terrible Chester arches his back and hisses when he sees the ghost of Fungus Man standing on Little Ozzie's front lawn.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the warning signs that Stormy dies at the mall is that Odd goes through the store that she works in and there's a small group of people clustered together crying.
  • Heroic BSoD: Odd after the events at the mall.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Invoked. The real Big Bad of the first novel was disappointed that real satanists didn't fit the stereotypes from horror movies, so he and a small group of friends started their own little offshoot that indulged in all that stuff.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: When Odd enters a portal that spawns bodachs, he finds a dark void with a red light in it before being dumped back out several minutes in the past. When he tells Stormy, she says it's the portal to Hell (since the bodachs are dark spirits that usually serve as harbingers of suffering). Odd stews on this, and comes up with a more horrifying theory: The portal actually leads to a distant Bad Future where humans are so downright evil that they go back in time just to view death and destruction. They can't actually manifest fully in our time, so they become the canine-esque bodachs when they travel here.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Fungus Man".
  • Peaceful in Death: Granny Sugars died in her sleep at age 72. According to Odd, "They found her with a nearly empty snifter of brandy on the nightstand, a book by her favorite novelist opened to the last page, and a smile on her face."
  • Shout-Out:
    • "I see dead people. But then, by god, I do something about it."
    • On encountering a demonic entity, Odd quotes from Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."
  • Skeleton Key Card: Odd uses his driver's license to break into "Fungus Man's" house.
  • Technical Pacifist: Odd is afraid of guns (thanks to his psycho mom), but he manages to shoot two would-be mass murderers.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: This is pretty much used in the fact that it's made to seem that Stormy lives through the mass murder at the mall, when instead it's just Odd's ability fooling the reader into thinking she's alive. Odd even says, "For a while I had gone mad."
  • Wham Episode: At the end, when it's revealed that Stormy died in the shooting at the mall.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Occasionally Odd wonders if his gifts are related to the insanity that seems to run in his family.

    Forever Odd 
  • Absurdly Spacious Flood Drainage Tunnels: Under Pico Mundo, and suspected to be part of a conspiratorial government project.
  • Axe-Crazy: Datura. And how!
  • Big Damn Fire Exit: A way out of the Panamint only presents itself at the last minute.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick / Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Odd describes the fallout of a deadly casino fire, listing off fraud indictments, bankruptcy claims, federal charges, "... and one sex change operation."
  • Captain Ersatz: The trading cards that young Odd and Danny exchanged are very reminiscent of the set Mars Attacks! was based on.
  • The Determinator: Unlike the first cheval, Andre absolutely will not give up.
  • Deus ex Machina: The situation is largely resolved when a foreshadowed, but unrelated, mountain lion suddenly kills the villain.
  • Disabled Snarker: Danny Jessup, largely as a coping mechanism.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played for laughs. When Datura relates a story of how she once had her henchmen break the legs of a guy who wouldn't turn off his cellphone in a movie theater, Odd thinks that even the worst people can have socially responsible impulses.
  • Flowery Insults: Danny Jessup describes Datura as being "crazier than a syphilitic suicide bomber with mad-cow disease." After meeting her, Odd thinks that this description was a severe Understatement.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: What little can be understood of Datura's constant torrent of nonsense is a half-understood twisting of Voudoun. Justified, in that Datura has just incorporated elements of Voudoun into her schizophrenia.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Datura is very sure that she can seduce anyone. Odd notes her sexiness rather clinically and dismisses it as unimportant.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There're hints that Datura's servants might be zombies, but ultimately their nature remains a mystery.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Datura is a genus of poisonous plants, which can have quite unpleasant physical and mental effects on humans.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Datura is a dark, dark, DARK example.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The people who built the Panamint Resort and Spa cut corners in several ways. For example, they hung a chandelier from a wooden beam when they should have used a steel beam and they didn't put in all of the fire safety equipment that the blueprints called for. When an earthquake hit, the damage to the hotel was much worse than it should have been and several of the guests and staff died.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: "Cheval" is a legitimate term, but Odd never supplies the much more common one.
  • Stealth Pun: One of Datura's servants is a man named Andre who is repeatedly described as a giant.
  • The Vamp: Datura.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Datura has a bit of a Villainous Crush on Odd, but only because he can do the one thing she can't, which is see the dead.

    Brother Odd 

    Odd Hours 

    Odd Interlude 

    Odd Apocalypse 
  • Alternate Self: Cloyce killed Tim, then went back in time to save him and bring him to the future but it makes a paradox that both things are true; Tim's dead body still exists, and he remembers both getting killed and not getting killed.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Kenneth Randolph Fitzgerald Mountbatton: the huge, terrifying, heavily-armed security guard with screaming hyena tattoos and a shirt that says "Death Heals." He picked the names himself.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Odd and Tim.
  • Bad Future: The shifts into the future feature a dystopian future where there're swarms of ferocious giant-batlike creatures and packs of man-eating pig-man things that are the result of messing around with DNA. Odd's effect with disabling Roseland somewhat lessens the terribleness of this future.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Nikola Tesla invented a way to time travel, though considering the man this doesn't really seem that far out.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Odd feels this way towards Tim.
  • The Constant: Roseland and its inhabitants.
  • Cool House: Designed by Nikola Tesla no less, as a time machine and immortality generator.
  • Gentle Giant: Kenny turns out to be this. At least, gentler than anyone else we meet at Roseland.
  • Immortality Seeker: Cloyce and his household.
  • Living Memory: The image of Nikola Tesla that keeps popping up around Roseland, in his own way trying to get someone to stop what's going on there and helping Odd in the small ways he can. Even Odd's not completely sure what exactly he/it is.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Is done to Odd by Cloyce. Thank goodness for a time machine that can return your body to how it was at a specific point in time.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Odd tries to ask Chef Shilshom some questions about Roseland, but the chef is busy preparing food and answers most of the questions with an absent-minded "Mmmmm." Odd starts saying weird things to get his attention, but it doesn't work.
    Odd: "Is that a mouse by the refrigerator?"
    Shilshom: "No. Sorry. It's a big old rat."
    Odd: "Well, I don't know why, but I think I'll go set my hair on fire."
    Shilshom: "Maybe it grows back thicker if you burn it off once in awhile."
  • Our Time Machine Is Different
  • Really 700 Years Old: Tim is really closer to his nineties than the ten-year-old he looks, and the rest of the inhabitants (who look in their thirties to middle-age) are even older.
  • Serial Killer: Cloyce.
  • Wax Museum Morgue
  • What You Are in the Dark: Odd has a chance to use Roseland to go back in time to save Stormy, but decides that would be selfish of him since she is in a better place and he doesn't want what happened to Tim to happen to Stormy just to make himself happy.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Henry Lolam hates living forever as much as he wants it, and Tim is a ninety year old man stuck in a young child's body.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Odd never before did that, but when necessary, he knocks a girl out so she wouldn't alert any of her compatriots. He ends up killing her later when she escapes and threatens to kill Tim.

    Deeply Odd 
  • Angel Unaware: The mysterious and slightly unearthly people that help the children who were captured by the satanists forget the trauma they suffered and whose presence helped Odd to heal emotionally somewhat from his recent experiences are implied to be something of the kind.
  • Berserk Button: When one of the cultists gloats over the impending murders of the children, the usually gentle Odd shoots him dead without missing a beat.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mrs. Edie Fischer is the sweetest, cutest old lady you'll ever meet. When she finds out that the Rhinestone Cowboy intends to murder three children, she threatens to cut off his testicles and feed them to a coyote while he watches.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Edie Fischer regularly drives over one-hundred miles an hour in a souped up limo, has got more pluck and courage in her little old body than people a fourth her age, and is funny and mysterious as can be.
  • Dark World: The other side of Elsewhere.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alfred Hitchcock; not surprising, except when you remember that "the dead don't talk."
  • Eldritch Abomination: The thing that the Rhinestone Cowboy is carrying around in his truck.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The group who stole the children.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Senoculus, which takes on Odd's form with some quite gruesome and creepy differences.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Rhinestone Cowboy. People, normal people, can't notice him. Also the estate at which his fellow Satanists are gathering.
  • I See Them, Too: Verena one of the children Odd is trying to rescue can also see ghosts, which works out plotpoint-wise when he has her follow Boo to safety while he draws off the Senoculus.
  • It Gets Easier: Odd notes that killing bad guys is getting easier, and it scares him.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Edie briefly thinks Odd is. Some amount of humorous arguing ensues before the misunderstanding is straightened out.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Edie Fischer. Odd says that he'd rather have her at his back than pretty much anyone he could think of.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: It's well established that the dead don't talk, so Odd is stunned when Alfred Hitchcock shows up and says hello.
  • Sadist: The Rhinestone Cowboy and the rest of the Satanists.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Mazie is a kind, soft-spoken woman... who happens to be the moving and driving force of Casa Bolthole which is a a bunker fitted with an arsenal to rival most military bunkers and she and her family are always inventing more weapons and technology with which to outfit The Resistance.
  • Spirit Advisor: Alfred Hitchcock.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Odd's list of possessed car movies: "The Car, Maximum Overdrive, The Love Bug."
  • Void Between the Worlds: Odd calls it "Elsewhere," a place between our world and a dark dimension, where the only defense against those things that prowl in, and strain against, this boundary is quick thinking.