Koontz (Odd Hours, 2008, etc.) drops Odd Thomas, likable fry cook and spirit-sensing savant, into Roseland, a castle near Montecito, Calif., a place “one hundred stops beyond Oz on the Tornado Line Express.”
Roseland was built by Constantine Cloyce, newspaper and film mogul. Think Hearst and La Cuesta Encantada. The estate is now owned by hedge-fund rich Noah Wolflaw. Wolflaw has invited Odd to take refuge, but only because the odd one is accompanied by a soul as prescient as he, Annamaria, a young, pregnant woman Odd met, who tells him soon the hours will “test your will and break your heart.” That, Odd knows, for he’s met a spirit on the estate reluctant to move to the Other Side, a murdered woman riding a giant Friesian stallion. From her, Odd learns that her son is in danger at Roseland. Odd explores the estate, encountering obscure security guards, a scarred and combative ruffian named Kenneth Randolph Fitzgerald Mountbatten, and “red-eyed demonic mutant somethings” intent on mayhem. The Koontz cadre will be familiar with the motif, and new readers might be charmed by the Odd, first-person narration, sarcastically humorous, yet gentle and whimsical. Odd explorations reveal the giant mansion and extensive grounds have only two women and one gardener on staff, and yet it remains dustless and immaculately groomed. Annamaria rests in the “guest tower,” offering Delphic pronouncements. Ever-imperiled by the mutant monsters with “large flat heads…blunt fleshy snouts…sharp tusks…and bodies recast in rough primate molds,” Odd does the dirty work, discovering 34 bodies of young women in a subbasement filled with steampunk contraptions designed by Nikola Tesla. Add Aleister Crowley, bondage games, combat shotguns, Beretta pistols, the membrane of time and the Hong Kong wealthy Chiang Pi-Yu, and it’s no wonder that Tesla’s ghost demands Odd pull the Master Switch.
Entertaining. Koontz's fans will gobble this one up.