When bodachs appear at St. Bartholomew's Abbey, Odd Thomas knows that his peaceful retreat is about to turn chaotic. He came to St. Bartholomew's to get away. He is still grieving for his Stormy who was killed 16 months earlier. It's the first time he has been away from his home town of Pico Mundo in the eastern California desert.
Bodachs are dark creatures similar to ghosts that feed on death. They start arriving before the killing event happens. When they appear in numbers, the event will be catastrophic. Odd is watching for his first snowfall when he and Boo, the dog at the abbey, see the bodachs.
He follows the first ones up to the hospital for disabled children. He finds one hovering over a comatose girl. He knows now that the hospital is in danger. Only a small number of people at the abbey knows that Odd Thomas has an unusual gift - he sees ghosts of dead people who haven't gone over yet. Elvis is one of his most frequent visitors. Along with ghosts, he sees bodachs. Until now the only ghost Odd has seen who belongs to the abbey is a brother who committed suicide over two years earlier. He knows he can now expect more.
A blizzard hits the abbey and hospital at the same time as the dark spirits. When a brother disappears overnight, the police come for a short time the next morning. They find nothing and leave before the weather snows them in. Odd knows the brother is dead, but doesn't tell the police because they won't understand his gift or how he knows. Now Odd has to try to discover what is going to happen before many of the children, nuns, and monks are killed.
Once again Dean Koontz uses Odd Thomas' unique, sardonic voice to tell a suspenseful tale. Brother Odd keeps the reader pulled in. The reader has to wonder about those things Odd thinks he sees in the snow. When Death appears the reader knows something is very strange, not just a little strange. The suspense builds. The bad guy is an interesting surprise.
I had some trouble with this one because of the solution. Except for the ghosts, the last two Odd Thomas books stuck to "reality", making it creepier. This one has a twist that jars. The solution feels contrived. It seems like Koontz wanted to keep everything at the abbey but didn't have a good way to do it. I chuckled, though, over the movies Odd wanted to watch with other characters when "this is all over".
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