Full disclosure: I am a MASSIVE Dean Koontz fan.
I was about 12 when Watchers was suggested to me by my always reliable and amazingly like-minded Aunt Denise who figured that Mr. Koontz was right up my alley.
OH. JEEZ. OH. WOW.
I was amazed. It was upon completion of Watchers (again by Dean Koontz - no I don't make a cent off of suggesting him to you or continually mentioning his name - Dean Koontz, how dare you think otherwise - if you must know...I make dollars) that I vowed to read everything the man had ever written.
It took a bit of time, but I accomplished that goal a few years ago (the man is prolific and I was behind when I started the journey - FYI). The point to all of this exposition is that I get the man pretty well. His writing has evolved over time and he's gone off on different avenues occasionally. Over the years he's developed a fairly strong formula. He writes multi-genre tales that follow moralistic characters that usually involve a normal man and woman that must come together in order to confront something extraordinary. More often than not the supernatural is involved. Sometimes a dog. The two protagonists usually fall in love.
It sounds generic - BUT IT'S NOT. If you leave this article with nothing more than Odd Thomas and Watchers, I'm happy. I trust that after you read those brilliant novels, you could read ANYTHING of his and get sucked in the way that I was. Try Hideaway, From the Corner of His Eye, the Husband, By the Light of the Moon, Fear Nothing, Twilight Eyes, etc.
The man is truly brilliant.
I digress - as I have a tendency to do, for example, I could write about the brilliance of rainbows (double and single alike) and the loveliness of all types of flowers in their wondrous forms - but that's not the point of this article. The point is Odd Thomas.
Koontz has only ever written about one character twice. The first was Christopher Snow AKA the Moonlight Bay trilogy (which has yet to see the final installment), the second is Odd Thomas.
Odd Thomas starts out as a young man (title character - duh - yes, his name is Odd Thomas) who happens to be able to see things that most people cannot see. He see's ghosts, visions, and vicious creatures that he call's Bodachs that herald great pain, suffering, and turmoil. The more Bodachs that show up, the bigger the problem. When the first novel starts, he's a simple fry cook working in his hometown of Pico Mundo (a made up desert town that could be a number of different places North-East of San Diego). He is followed by Elvis Presley who, like all spirits in the series cannot talk to him but can issue methods of encouragement and advice by way of mannerisms, facial expressions and moods. Something bad is about to happen in Pico Mundo because the Bodachs are all over town. Someone has to do something about it - and while the lad would love nothing more than to avoid violence and live out a peaceful life, he's loathe to ignore evil no matter how he might tell you he's trying to just do his own thing or go his own way.
Please, do yourself a favor - read the book. No matter what eloquent sentence or poetic passage that I might put forth can do justice to such a read. We'd be here all night, and by then, I'd just start pounding out the entire novel on my keyboard, a devil's care to how much I plagiarized the author.
By the end of the novel you will feel hope, passion, terror and pain. You will cry, more than likely, sob. Odd Thomas will touch you and move you to heights of compassion you no longer believed yourself capable of and to a depth of feeling (that warm fuzzy stuff) you didn't think you could succumb to.
Good news for all you slackers...here comes the movie.
Except it doesn't.
Koontz used to allow a lot of his early material to be made into movies. But then horrible things started happening:
Watchers was made with Corey Haim (in a role that should have been occupied by a 36-year old man):
Hideaway was made with Jeff Goldblum ('nuff said - even though I like the man):
We live in an era of unequal respect for the written word. However, it's only through so many historic misfires that Hollywood has learned: FOLLOW SOURCE MATERIAL = BOX OFFICE GOLD. Stephen King can attest to this as much as Koontz can.
There is a REASON bestseller exists. The old school method was to simply use the title and do whatever you wanted (i.e. EGO). Yet now, the more that any said popular material gains strength Hollywood has become afraid of straying from the source material. And rightfully so. What should be simple common sense has been learned through failure. So many good books have been sacrificed on the altar of Hollywood - doing whatever they want to do. Yet, when you already have a strong following right out the gate, the last thing you want to do is piss off the fans. The originators of the excitement. Again, this is common sense, but you can't have high hopes for insane, coke-heads that are given the keys to the kingdom via family-run "businesses".
Thus we come to the Odd Thomas situation.
In the years that followed so many horrible adaptations, Koontz took charge of the reigns and only allowed certain projects into the hands of the insane and Liberal wild-bunch. Mostly he allowed mini-series to be made out of his books as long as he had some control over the projects via production titles and some form of written input on the screenplays. King does the same thing now, btdubs.
However, Odd Thomas is a different development.
Stephen Sommers is in Hollywood jail. Having made the Mummy and the Mummy Returns he was once on a high, however since then he's made Van Helsing (a massive creative flop if not a financial one) and was thrown off the set of GI Joe. I don't blame him for seeking redemption. In Koontz he has seemed to found it.
Sommers' screenplay was greenlit. He brought together an inspired cast (Anton Yelchin as Odd is the stuff of dreams) and shot the damn thing. It's now done and awaiting distribution...waiting, and waiting.
The waiting has no end in sight.
Koontz himself has seen the movie and loves it.
Read the article above and lament with me why we haven't seen Odd Thomas on the screen. It's there...ready to go!