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Books and bites: Odd Thomas

I might be a little late to the game, but I always get there in the long run. Odd Thomas is probably the most likeable supernatural detective I’ve ever encountered in my literary journeys. Dean Koontz has created a character that far surpasses your everyday ordinary gumshoe by making him almost psychic, a little naive, and by giving him a natural sweetness that makes your heart break for wanting to save him the hurt he will undoubtedly face in the pages to come.

8. Stare in wonder at all that goodness.
Shannon M.

Odd Thomas works as short order fry cook in Pico Mundo, California and he sees the lingering dead. He says the dead don’t talk, and he doesn’t know why. The morning of August 14th begins for our protagonist with the spirit of Penny Kalisto, a young girl who was brutally raped and murdered, taking Odd's hand and leading him to her killer. Harlo Landerson pulls up beside him in his Chevelle convertible and waves an amiable hello. Odd becomes overwhelmed with disgust and anguish telling Harlo knows about the memento the young man has kept in his wallet to remind himself of the heinous deed. Knowing that he has to be stopped, a chase ensues through the town and into a young woman’s home, where Odd saves her son and stops Harlo from killing again – all before his morning shift at the local diner.

And that’s just the beginning! The lingering dead aren’t the only paranormal entities he is sensitive to. He sees creatures he calls Bodach’s. They are not demons, nor were they ever human – they are the harbingers of evil. They feed off of darkness and hate, and will swarm when catastrophe is near. That is why the character of Fungus Bob, a particularly odiferous patron of his diner, becomes the object of Odd’s obsession when he sees several bodachs sniffing, caressing and swirling around the aforementioned petri dish, Bob Robertson.

A normal person would perhaps lose their mind when confronted with the impossible, but Odd Thomas draws strength from his friends; namely Chief Wyatt Porter- who is as close to a father as he’s ever had, Ozzie Boone - his best friend, Elvis - his ghost anyway, and most important and significantly, from Stormy Llewellyn - the love of his life, or as he would say, his destiny.

There is romance, action, fantasy, horror, tragedy, redemption and moments that will leave you breathless. Dean Koontz doesn’t need my stamp of approval but I’m giving it to him, just the same. Odd Thomas is one of the best written characters on shelves today.

In deference to Odd's exceptional abilities as a fry cook and his famous incredible light and fluffy pancakes, I tried my hand at a bit of the same, and while I may not have been gifted the ability to make pancakes that will enable the eater to see the face of God with each orgasmic bite, I think I came pretty close.

Odd Thomas's Fluffy Pancakes and Shannon's Homemade Strawberry Syrup


  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips (optional)

In a mixing bowl, add the salt, sugar, flour and cinnamon, whisk together and make a well in the center. In a measuring cup, pour your milk and add the vinegar. Set it aside for a few minutes to let it curdle and thicken. Essentially, this is the same as using buttermilk, but I didn't have buttermilk and this tasted just as good. I'm all about taking a shortcut when it doesn't affect the quality of the food.

No fancy instructions, really. Once the milk has thickened to a buttermilk like consistency, add it to the dry ingredients and break an egg into it. Give it a whisk until it just comes together. Try to avoid over beating the mixture because you'll beat out all of the bubbles. The vinegar in the milk, combined with the self-rising flour makes bubbles, and that's what is going to make your pancakes light and airy.

Ladle a smallish medium dollop into a buttered pan on a medium low burner. While the pancake is cooking, now would be the time to add chocolate chips to it, if you so desired. Don't over load the pancake with chocolate because then it won’t cook evenly and it will burn when you flip it.

I'd say just about a minute for each side, but everyone's pan is different, and some burners run hotter than others. You're looking for the brownish golden color. Brown is the color of flavor so if the edges are a little more done than the middle, no worries friends, that just means your pancake is going to be extra yummy.

In the meantime... you'll want to get a move on with the -

Strawberry Syrup


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 6-8 large strawberries

In a sauce pan, mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water like you're making simple syrup. Then add 6-8 frozen strawberries. It's actually that simple.

You have to keep an eye on the syrup and stir it occasionally. You're going to be watching for the consistency to thicken and for the strawberries to become soft enough to be be mushed down. Once the strawberries and syrup have gotten to the right consistency, get out a small blender and puree all the goods together, then return it to the sauce pan to cook for a few minutes more, just to make sure everything's just right. The strawberries may still contain a decent amount of liquid and they might thin out your syrup, in which case, cook the syrup until you reach the desired thickness again.

While you are chowing down on breakfast, pick up a copy of Odd Thomas, and just try to put it down.

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