Odd Thomas, the eponymous first book in a series of the same name by Dean Koontz earns an Edgiest rating and a Catholic rating. This book, and the series following it, are truly what we are talking about when we talk about Edgy Catholic. A touching love story wrapped in a supernatural thriller, the work hits some very edgy content early and hard, featuring the ghost of a rape victim and a confrontation with the rapist. The Odd Thomas character’s ability to see the spirits of the lingering dead confronts a world skeptical of any hint of an afterlife and the characters are not just Catholic, but seriously Catholic enough to be in a committed yet chaste dating relationship. There are also scenes that take place in a Catholic church, and an uncle of Mr. Thomas’ love interest who is a priest.
Edgy Catholic highly recommends the entire series. The work does contain some profanity, though the author at times cleverly alludes to foul language without writing it. We do note a certain quickness to judge and execute judgment in the Odd Thomas character, who relies on an intuitive sense which has a supernatural component. The villains in the Odd Thomas world mostly start and finish beyond the reach of redemption, which may be a little off the mainstream of Catholic thought. But, the bad guys in this first installment? Oh, they are awfully bad. And Odd Thomas? Well, he’s summoned into action mostly at the last moments when stopping the bad from happening requires force, often deadly force. That’s edgy, and mostly Catholic. I did find myself at times wondering if Mr. Odd Thomas might be advised to head to the confessional, just to make sure he hadn’t crossed any lines.
As an afterthought to the above as I write reviews for other books in the series, I think it wise to add something about the villains in each to do justice by Odd Thomas. The villains in this one were wannabe Satanists who were intent on mayhem and not easily dissuaded through persuasion of any kind. Often, the villains in the Odd Thomas story are of this variety, so we understand the lone hero being a little quick on the draw. Perhaps, having written my own supernatural thriller where the only power the hero has is in persuasion away from evil I am a little quick to judge the resort to force to fight evil. In the real world, it often comes to that. And, the Odd one suffers terribly in his journey, so I would like to temper my criticism a bit. There are times throughout the series, however where the character uses preemptive force that I found to be edgy, as I sat in the comfort of my home, safe and sound. Mr. Koontz does make clear along the way that his hero’s actions need to be considered in terms of wartime realities where decisive deadly force is justified. Just, if you are expecting an old-time sheriff who waits for the villain to go for his gun before he acts, well, that is not Odd Thomas.