Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

Dean  Koontz

Olivia  Azulay 

Law Enforcement and Organized Crime: The Cases of Whitey Bulger and Lucky Luciano

Desire Versus Destiny in Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas Series

Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series follows the life of a young man named Odd whose supernatural powers, for better or worse, dictate his destiny: to help people who are both living and dead. Throughout the series, Odd protects his close friends from danger that he senses from shadow creatures he calls bodachs and using his prophetic dreams to inform his decisions. As he is experiencing these extraordinary circumstances, Odd also struggles to understand who he is and what he is capable of. At the same time, there are characters in the series that support him along the way: his girlfriend Stormy and father figure and mentor, Chief Wyatt Porter, both of whom are aware of Odd’s powers. Stormy helps Odd to feel normal and not worry about what might happen next in the world. Chief Porter also brings normality into Odd’s life by giving him a sense of direction. Both characters push Odd to strengthen his sense of self and to fulfill his destiny.

Odd Thomas always uses his powers to help others, whereas some law enforcement officials used their powers for ill when dealing with organized crime figures such as Whitey Bulger. Bulger, once one of the most dangerous mobsters in twentieth-century Boston, rose to power assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI made Bulger their top informant on Italian Mafia activities. This corrupt relationship protected Bulger and saved him from capture until 2011. Other law enforcement officials, however, used their power for good. For example, Lucky Luciano, king of the underworld in New York City, profited from the illegal liquor trade during prohibition. Feared in New York, he ran businesses involving prostitution. During this time, the police worked to build a case leading to his arrest; they were able to capture Luciano and ensure his imprisonment. Just as Luciano was brought to justice, Bulger was eventually captured by the FBI and sent to prison for two life sentences. In the twentieth-century, organized crime distracted some law officials from their duties, enabling crime figures like Whitey Bulger to escape prosecution, while other law enforcement officials worked to gain justice without the help of crime figures.

Major Works Consulted:

Boeri, David, “Bulger On Trial.” (Accessed April 4, 2014).
Cullen, Kevin, and Shelley Murphy. Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.
Koontz, Dean. Brother Odd. New York: Bantam Dell, 2006.
---. Odd Thomas. New York: Bantam Dell, 2003.
Photo Credit: "Dean Koontz." Photograph. Dean Koontz. Web. (Accessed April 30, 2014).