Dean Koontz
TwitterFacebookAnna on FacebookDean's AppDean's Fancorps
HomeBooksNewsAudio/VideoAbout DeanTrixieFor FansLinksContact

Dean Interviews Odd

Through a mutual friend — the renowned mystery writer, P. Oswald Boone, the only acquaintance of mine who both weighs 400 pounds and has eleven fingers — I arranged to meet Odd Thomas in a back booth at the Pico Mundo Grille, in Pico Mundo, California, where he has worked as a short-order cook. I agreed in advance that I would not ask about his heroic actions at Green Moon Mall last year. He is embarrassed by the subject and does not consider himself a hero. When I arrived, he was drinking a cherry Coke and had taken the liberty of ordering one for me.

OT: Or you could have a lemon Coke. I can get you one.

DK: Cherry is fine.

OT: I feel funny about this, sir. I’m afraid I’ve never read any of your novels.

DK: Well, you’re only twenty-one, and you’ve led a very full life. Not much time for reading.

OT: Actually, I’ve had a lot of time for reading. I’ve just never tried any of yours. I thought they were about vampires, but Ozzie tells me they aren’t.

DK: You don’t like vampire novels?

OT: Vampires, werewolves… I don’t find that kind of story convincing.

DK: Yet you see ghosts.

OT: I see the lingering dead, yes. But that’s just between us, right?

DK: Absolutely.

OT: That’s a secret. Only a few friends know about it.

DK: Your secret’s safe with me, son.

OT: Ozzie says never trust a writer.

DK: He’s a writer.

OT: Ozzie says that’s how he knows what swine they are. No offense, sir. I’m just quoting him.

DK: But he’s a writer, and you trust him.

OT: Yes, but he’s Ozzie.

DK: And I’m not half the man that he is.

OT: Barely more than a third, sir. But…I think I can trust you. I almost feel as if we’ve met before.

DK: I understand Elvis Presley hangs out with you.

OT: His spirit. Yes, sir.

DK: That must be cool.

OT: Cooler than if it was the spirit of Lawrence Welk, I guess.

DK: Why hasn’t he moved on to the next world? Has he told you?

OT: The dead don’t talk, sir.

DK: Or sing?

OT: No, sir. But now and then he does some fine dance moves.

DK: Does he still like fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches?

OT: The dead don’t eat, either. Which is a good thing. I don’t earn enough to feed them. And there would be an awful lot of dishes to wash.

DK: What does Elvis do when you hang out together?

OT: Sometimes we listen to his music. And he cries.

DK: The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll cries?

OT: Sometimes he’s a faucet, sir.

DK: But you like having him around?

OT: I do. Yes, sir. There’s something sweet about him.

DK: He’s not the kind of guy to shoot someone at the Vibe Awards.

OT: No, sir. In Elvis’s day, singers didn’t shoot or stab one another.

DK: Maybe they weren’t as passionate about their music as the new guys are.

OT: Or maybe they were sane.

DK: Why do these spirits come to you, Odd?

OT: Mostly for justice.

DK: Because they’ve been murdered?

OT: Not Elvis. But others, yes. And sometimes it’s just for comfort, reassurance.

DK: You’ve been given quite a gift. But the dead showing up all the time — that must be disconcerting.

OT: And they don’t respect the privacy of the living. I’ll be in the bathroom, and one of them will walk right through the wall.

DK: That would be annoying.

OT: Yes, sir. And constipating.

DK: Every gift has a price.

OT: I’m never caught up with the laundry.

DK: Laundry?

OT: All the running, jumping, and chasing — seems like it always leads me through one filthy place or another. I sometimes go through three pairs of jeans a day.

DK: What laundry detergent do you use?

OT: Whatever’s cheapest.

DK: Do you always wear jeans?

OT: Not always. I own two pair of chinos, but those are mainly for dressy occasions.

DK: When do you feel the need to dress up?

OT: Never. What do you wear when you write, sir?

DK: Jeans and Hawaiian shirts. But fortunately writing isn’t a filthy business.

OT: Ozzie says it can be when you’re dealing with Hollywood. Have you ever seen a ghost, sir?

DK: No. And I’m not sure I’d want to.

OT: Well, at least they don’t shoot at you.

DK: Do people often shoot at you, son?

OT: More often than I’d like.

DK: What kind of gun do you carry, Odd?

OT: I don’t carry a gun, sir. I’m a short-order cook. I don’t need much more than a spatula.

DK: Have you had strange experiences other than with ghosts? For instance, have you ever seen Big Foot?

OT: I haven’t had the pleasure of making Mr. Foot’s acquaintance.

DK: Extra-terrestrials?

OT: Like everyone, I’ve seen Mr. Donald Trump on TV, but I’ve never had a face-to-face encounter with a being from another world.

DK: So for you, it’s just ghosts.

OT: Yes, sir. I just see the lingering dead. But that’s enough. Believe me, that’s plenty.

Newsletter
Sign up for Dean's free newsletter and for news, previews, and more!
Text KOONTZ to 72636 for regular mobile updates.
Featured Video