Hiding and facing reality is a theme in this story. Odd Thomas goes to the monastery after a particularly violent incident in a mall in his hometown of Pico Mundo. Among the people who died was the love of his life, Stormy Llewellyn. Feeling terrible guilt that he was unable to stop this event, he left Pico Mundo to live in a monastery in the mountains. Odd has some rather unusual gifts. He sees dead people, or more accurately, he sees those that are no longer living but haven't passed all the way on either. Something troubles them enough to cause them to linger, and when they do, they seek Odd Thomas out for guidance and assistance.