Brother Odd is a novel by Dean Koontz, published in 2006. The novel is the third book in Koontz's series focusing on a man named Odd Thomas.
The novel begins seven months after Forever Odd
. During that time, Odd Thomas has been a guest at St. Bartholomew's Abbey, where he hopes to seek peace and understanding. After Odd sees a shade-like bodach
- portending great disaster for the abbey - one of the monks goes missing, and Odd is attacked by a mysterious assailant. As he searches for the missing monk, Odd hears a mysterious noise in a great snowstorm, and later sees an intricate, shifting pattern of bones against a window.
While looking for a body among the disabled children at the school, Odd hears from an autistic man named Jacob about the "Neverwas". Odd, on entering the bell tower to silence a poltergeist who rings bells, sees an apparition that resembles the traditional image of Death. By now the bodachs have multiplied, and Odd plans to bring the monks to the school to protect the children. He is suddenly drawn by a psychic premonition, and discovers the missing monk dead in a cooling tower, acting as a cocoon for another creature made of shifting bones.
Rodion Romanovich, the abbey's other guest, meets Odd in the garage to pick up the monks. Odd, suspicious of Romanovich, intends to leave him in the abbey, although he takes one SUV full of monks before Odd can stop him. On the way there, Romanovich's SUV is turned over by a bone-creature, and Brother Knuckles, Odd's confidant, runs into him with the other plow. Back at the school, Odd and Romanovich are able to determine that Jacob's father, the Neverwas, is John Heineman, a monk at the abbey known as Brother John and a former physicist who experimented with reality.
Odd and Romanovich, actually an NSA agent sent to spy on Brother John, venture back into the storm to find John's research lab. When they find him, Brother John reveals that he has created a computer model of the innermost fabric of reality. He believes that reality is created by thought, and has proved it by tuning the room to his thoughts. If he thinks something, it will be, and in that way, he created the bone-monsters and the Death apparition. Odd and Romanovich attempt to convince Brother John otherwise, but instead, he sets his Death spirit on them. As the monks defend the school from the bone-monsters, Romanovich is able to shoot John, killing him and all his creations.
Later, Odd decides to leave the abbey, but as he rides down the highway back to his hometown, psychic magnetism pulls him out of the car, where the book ends as he walks down the highway toward the unknown. After three adventures, Elvis finally crosses over. Odd and the dog continue along together, only to be united moments later with the ghost of Frank Sinatra.
Odd is the protagonist of the novel who sees dead spirits which have not moved on from the world, then tries to bring them justice. After a childhood with a psychopath mother and distant father, Odd went to work in Pico Mundo as a fry cook. He fell in love with a girl named Stormy Lewellen, only to see her killed during the climax of the first book in the series. He later took a leave of absence, and after that decided to go seek peace at a monastery. His only confidants there are the Abbot, the Mother Superior, and Brother Knuckles. He is also befriended by the lingering spirit of Elvis Presley
(who moves on at the end of the book, only to be replaced by Frank Sinatra
shortly after) and a ghost dog named Boo, Odd is an often philosophical, but very human, character, who is often reminded that his abilities do not constitute perfection, intelligence, or good judgement. He frequently makes pop-culture references, especially to science fiction movies.
Brother "Knuckles" Salvatore
So nicknamed because of his hands that appear to be all knuckles, Brother Knuckles was once an enforcer for a mob boss named the Eggbeater. He followed this life of crime until he read a book to the boss's young daughter. He was so affected by the morals of two children's books (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
and The Tale of Despereaux
, both by Newbery Medal
winner Kate DiCamillo) that he went to the FBI and became an informant in the witness protection program. Soon after growing tired of Vermont, he became a monk at St. Bartholomew's. Knuckles is one of only three people at the abbey who know about Odd's gift, and is also his best friend during his time there. When the school needs defending, he is the first recruited due to his past.
Brother John Heineman
John Heineman was once a world-renowned physicist. From childhood, he despised the concept of disorder and chaos, always believing that the universe had a fundamental order. He eventually gave away his entire fortune, much of it to St. Bartholomew's. He now lives according to monastic rules but still experiments with the fabric of reality, inside a laboratory known to the brothers as a mew or an adytum. Eventually, it is revealed that Heineman is the father of Jacob, who calls him the Neverwas. His experimenting has led him to build a giant machine that will create objects or even soulless beings according to his thoughts.
Sister Angela is the Mother Superior in charge of all the nuns as well as the convent school. Odd describes her as having the "sweet face of a grandmother but the steely determination of the terminator". She is one of the three at the abbey who know Odd's secret, and assists him in planning the defense of the school. She keeps posters in her office of George Washington
, Harper Lee
, and Flannery O'Connor
, admiring them for a shared quality that she refuses to disclose, even though she hints on it being humility later in the book, preferring people to figure it out themselves.
Rodion is a mysterious Russian librarian, who, like Odd, has come to the abbey in search of peace and solitude. Odd is initially suspicious of him due to his secretive nature. He is from Indianapolis, and Odd interrogates him about this often, hoping he'll slip up and reveal something. Later, he drives one of the SUV snowplows to take the monks to the school, even as Odd tries to leave him behind. Eventually, it turns out that he is not a spiritual pilgrim but an agent for the National Security Agency
, who has been sent to spy on and possibly kill Brother John. He is Odd's main ally during the assault on John's mew, eventually becoming his good friend. His name comes from the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoevsky
's classic novel, Crime and Punishment
, the murderer Rodion Romanovich Raskalnikov. It is unclear whether this is a fake name he has assumed or real, though he does reference its origin: in response to Odd's suspicions of him, Romanovich tells him that he does not judge Odd by his name, and Odd should not do the same.
Jacob is one of the only adults at the convent school. He suffers from a chromosomal abnormality and communicates only in cryptic phrases. However, he possesses an extraordinary ability to draw, and draws picture after picture of his dead mother. He tells Odd about the "Neverwas", something that said to let him die when he was very ill. It is revealed that his father is Brother John Heineman, who abandoned him and his mother when he was very young. Jacob is the main target of the attack on the school by Heineman's creatures.
Elvis is a lingering spirit who haunts Odd wherever he goes, but instead of being a burden is more of a companion. He stays in this world because he is afraid of meeting his mother, who he believes will be angry at his way of life. He switches often between the outfits he wore in different movies. Elvis keeps his entertainer personality in death, and will often resort to physical comedy since he cannot speak or sing.
Boo is a spirit of a dog
, the only lingering animal Odd has ever seen; at first, however, we are not aware that Boo is a spirit. He is a steadfast companion to Odd, and at one point helps him find Brother Timothy's corpse. He is a white German Shepherd