Friday, June 27, 2008

Odd Thomas, Action Hero

I had done so much racing, jumping, crawling, running, dodging, scuttling, climbing, and swimming that I ached from head to foot and felt my energy ebbing.

During the evening, I had developed considerable admiration for Matt Damon. In spite of his amnesia and in spite of being opposed by numerous nefarious government goons with infinite resources at their command, he waded through squads of ruthless assassins, killing them or sometimes letting them live but making them wish they had never dedicated themselves to fascist ideologies, and he just kept going, indomitable and undiminished.

Here I was, a pathetic excuse for a paladin, complaining about exhaustion when I had not yet even been through a car crash. Already Matt Damon would have been through six. ...
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
Can you tell that Dean Koontz has been watching the Bourne Trilogy movies? I never thought about this before but the Odd Thomas books each do have an encapsulated "story style" about them. The first book is like the horror movie in the small town, the second definitely looms in my mind as a haunted house (or haunted castle would be more accurate), and the third is the "isolated in the mountains and snow storm and there's something big out there trying to eat us" horror story. This one is the "action movie" thriller story.

As such it is humorous and also startling at times. For one thing I never knew that Odd had it in him to be so ruthless. It seemed not quite in character to me. The omnipresent fog was a character in its own right and the people popping in and out of the limited visibility added to the isolated feeling that Odd had as he prowled the town looking for answers.

This is the smallest story and the least effective, in my opinion. I still enjoyed it but would not recommend it to those who don't already love Odd as a character. For those who do, it is a perfect "beach book" read.

The fact that it is a shallower, smaller story doesn't mean that Koontz still has much to say. He slips in plenty of choice observations such as this.
I have only been in a position to overhear bad men conspiring to commit evil deeds, and on every occasion, they had been pretty much like Joey and Utgard. Those who choose to livie criminal lives are not the brightest among us.

This truth inspires a question: If evil geniuses are so rare, why do so many bad people get away with so many crimes against their fellow citizens and, when they become leaders of nations, against humanity?

Edmund Burke provided the answer in 1795: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I would only add this: It is also essential that good men and women not be educated and propagandized into believing that real evil is a myth and that all malevolent behavior is merely the result of a broken family's or a failed society's shortcomings, amenable to cure by counseling and by the application of new economic theory.
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
Brother, you just said a mouthful.

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