Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: Del Rey Trade Paperback (Ballantine Books)
Author: Queenie Chan and Dean Koontz
Art: Queenie Chan
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $10.95 US
Release Date: Available Now
I see dead people … and Elvis.
As a guy who spends his days reading lots of manga and his evening watching anime (I think I might have an addiction problem), I sometimes come across a rare find that goes hand-in-hand with another hobby of mine which is simply reading novels. I was surprised when I came across In Odd We Trust by Queenie Chan and best-selling author Dean Koontz on my desk. Could this manga be related in any way to Koontz’ series of novels featuring a fellow named Odd Thomas? When I cracked open the manga, I was not only pleasantly surprised but I was also happy to see that the manga managed to capture all the things the make the Odd books such a delight to read.
If you’re not familiar with Koontz series of novels featuring Odd Thomas, then you are in for a real treat. You see, Thomas Odd is the main protagonist of the novels“Odd Thomas,” “Odd Hours,” “Forever Odd” and “Brother Odd.” He’s a friendly, upbeat and genuinely likeable to the point that you won’t help finding yourself following his interesting exploits without question. You see, aside from being the town of Pico Mundo’s best pancake-flipping cook, he is also a young man who is able to see and communicate with spirits. In fact, he’s met former President Lyndon Johnson and is being followed around by the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley.
In fact, Odd introduces himself to us by saying: “My name is Odd Thomas and I commune with Elvis.”
We don’t know how it is that Odd has the ability to see the dead but the young man not yet in his 20s knows the whys. You see, most of the deceased have unfinished business or died of causes that are not quite natural. Being the nice guy that he is, Odd Thomas finds himself helping his spectral friends move on by solving the mystery behind their deaths. This isn’t an easy feat seeing as the ghosts he sees aren’t able to speak for some reason.
In Odd We Trust is the perfect introduction to the Odd series if you never read any of the Dean Koontz novels and co-author Queenie Chan does a great job of capturing the novels’ narrative without have to backtrack for those readers who love the books. The story tells the tale of a young boy who was killed during a home invasion. A child’s death, of course, has the town and county surrounding Pico Mundo, California uneasy. Of course, one day while walking to work in the Pico Mundo Grille with Elvis, Odd sees the boy staring blankly at a newspaper that recounts his own death.
While Odd is a master of making savory pancakes, he’s also one that doesn’t shy away from helping Police Chief Porter who just happens to know about Odd’s unique ability. The mystery surrounding little Joey Gordon’s death leads to a friend of Odd’s pistol-packing girlfriend, Stormy, named Sherry Sheldon. Sherry is not only a housekeeper but she’s also a nanny who worked for the Gordon family. Having taken care of little Joey, Odd believes Sherry would be able to help break the ice seeing as the ghost of the child is far too shy to communicate with him.
Oh, but there’s more. Notes keep appearing and they seem to be pointing at Sherry and the children she takes care of so Odd and his lovely girlfriend Stormy believe the child-killer could strike again and strike soon. In true Dean Koontz fashion, the story follows Odd who makes good use of his ability to speak to spirits as well as a talent that allows him to locate anyone just by thinking of their face. The story even captures the charm of the familiar characters, lightly touching on their pasts and thus fleshes them out just as well as the novels. There’s even a surprising ending even after the mystery is solved and the murder identified. This, in short, is what makes this graphic novel such a great addition to the Odd Thomas series.
Manga fans who also happen to be fans of Dean Koontz will be pleasantly surprised by In Odd We Trust. It’s true to the tone and feel of the series as well as the character so this should appeal to the Odd fans out there. Then again, you don’t have to know who Thomas Odd is to enjoy this refreshingly deep and entertaining title that isn’t short on surprises or ghosts.
Fans of Odd Thomas as well as Dean Koontz will absolutely love the story and seeing one of Koontz most likeable characters come to life in manga form. The pairing of Chan and Koontz just makes the story a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read. This manga even includes an excerpt from the first Odd Thomas novel and a word from Koontz himself.
It’s funny but Queenie Chan’s vision of what Odd looks like is just how I imaged him to be as do Koontz other characters such as Stormy. Chan also includes sketches of the characters with her thoughts on putting a face on Odd and the other characters.
If you’re not familiar with Dean Koontz Odd series of best-selling novels, In Odd We Trust is the perfect introduction. If you read the novels and loved them and you don’t consider yourself a manga reader, missing this would be a real crime. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Odd in a continuing manga series.