In this thrilling, rather poignant sequel to Koontz's Odd Thomas (2003), the young psychic seeker visits a California monastery poised for attack by shadowy foes.
Koontz marvelously sets the scene in the tight, heart-stopping first chapter: One December night, Odd Thomas, a 21-year-old hard-luck kid from Pico Mundo, Calif., now a guest of several months at St. Bartholomew's Abbey in the Sierra Nevada, follows some ghosts on a mission to Room 32 of the monastery's school for handicapped children. Called “bodachs,” after evil spirits in British folklore, these horrifying protean spirits prefigure some kind of disaster to the children—and Odd, using the paranormal gift shared exclusively by the dog, Boo, has only a day or two at most to try to find out what the danger is and how to block it. Odd, tragically, lost the love of his life, Stormy, 16 months before, when she perished in a fire, and yet she now seems to be speaking through one of the paralyzed children, indicating to him who among them might know more about the imminent threat. Indeed, evidence points to Jacob, a retarded artist at the school, who renders in his drawings startlingly realistic depictions of a ghoulish, bony creature at the window that he calls the Neverwas. Meanwhile, Odd interviews numerous folks at the monastery, including a former New Jersey hit man for the Mafia, a world-renowned physicist who turned increasingly self-tortured and the inimitable Mother Superior, as steely as General George Patton. Terrific characterization and patient plotting mark Koontz's work, and this novel about the triumph of modesty over hubris proves exemplary on both counts.
A work both exciting and engaging—and with its heart in the right place.