on July 13, 2004
As with many of Kings book's, a rereading of Watchers brings a number of Koontz cliches into sharp focus (see lady naava's review). If you are familiar with the genre and Koontz in particular, either skip this one or read some negative reviews to prepare you for some of the cheesy, too-convenient Koontz cliches. (...)
That said, this book is an incredibly effective page turner. This is as far from a slow starter as you are likely to find, and is the polar opposite of a slogging march to "disappointment-land" like Pet Cemetary. It's certainly not high culture, there are some self-serving plot devices (bordering on juvenile male fantasy--brooding loner with heart of gold rescues damsel, etc.) and the novelty of the idea of a chimera has worn off a bit (this book is pre-Discovery Channel), but as a light entertainment and stay-up-all-night page-flipper, this book is awfully effective.
If you love dogs, want a good scare (might not be as scary as it was 10+ years ago), and can stomach some of Koontz's romantic plot devices, this will probably be an all-time favorite. If not, better to skip it.
on October 4, 2003
Watchers was a great thriller and extremely well written.
Two beings were created in a lab with near human intelligence. One is a golden retriever normal in every way other than his intelligence. The other is called The Outsider. A frightful being resembling no animal or man. Both beings escape from the lab and are free in the wild.
A man named Travis finds the dog and soon learns of its secret, however he is unaware that the dog still has more secrets to reveal to it. Along the way, Travis and the dog, newly named Einstein, meet a woman named Nora. Nora has been sheltered all her life and Travis befriends her and finds their friendship quickly grows into something more.
In the meantime, The Outsider is still out there. The NSA are searching for both The Outsider and the dog which means that Travis and Nora have to watch themselves carefully.
Without giving anything else away, I'll just say that I completely enjoyed this book. Animal stories always hit me right in the heart and Einstein, with his human-like intelligence, is completely endearing. I found myself reading the book at a quick pace, always wanting more and always thinking about where I'd just left off when I wasn't able to read. There are very few boring moments in the book.
The only subplot I could have done without was that of a man named Vince who kills the scientists who created The Outsider and the dog and believes that taking lives insures his own immortality. The entire subplot is almost ridiculous in its ending.
If you're an animal lover or dog lover, this book is a definite read. You will find yourself looking after Einstein and thinking about him long after you put the book down.
on August 17, 2001
In this 1980s work by Dean R. Koontz, familiar territory of genetic experimentation is explored, and the theme of man aspiring to godhood recurs throughout the novel. The basic plot concerns a genetically enhanced dog, 'Einstein', and his nemesis, a quasi-baboon creature called 'The Outsider'. These two have a telepathic link, and since The Outsider wants to destroy the dog, most of the story involves the pursuit of evil after good. The main human characters, Travis and Nora, are complex and well-drawn. The peripheral characters are those found in many Koontz novels, some compassionate, some doomed, some tragic. The best scenes are in the beginning, where Travis meets the dog, and later, when Travis, Nora, and 'Einstein' try to communicate; picturing a dog playing scrabble -- and learning to read a book -- is priceless. There are some obvious plot developments, and the ending is a little unfinished, but there are enough twists and turns to keep one interested in how it all pans out. A good summer book.
on February 6, 2001
One of my favorite books is Nightfall by Isaac Asimov. I recently loaned the book to someone and in return she gave me a copy of Watchers. I hope she enjoys Nightfall as much as I enjoyed Watchers. One thing I like about sci-fi is the fact that make a leap of faith to create the scenario for a great story, be it time travel, contact with aliens, interstellar travel, or in this case genetic engineering taken to perhaps impossible extremes. No matter how enticing the scenario may be, the story is not going to work unless you have believable and interesting characters, a good plot and a good writing style, all of which this book has. I had never read anything by Koontz, but this story began with a very eerie fear of the something lurking in the dark that certainly got my attention. The rest of the story continued to hold my attention, with very human characters and their relationships to others, as well as the sense of the hunt and a final confrontation. About the only thing that didn't appeal to me that much was the fact that Einstein's intelligence seemed at times to be a bit too developed and too far-fetched, but, what the heck, it still made for a great story. When I finish the book I'm currently reading, I think I'll go look for another Dean Koontz book.
on April 9, 1999
I never actually thought it was possible to generate some sympathy or even a miniscule of sympathy, or possibly garner any level of loyalty for someone. . . something that is in with out a doubt a monster.
Initially I thought, what a terrible looking creature, with a terrible insatiable habit to commit evil.
Dean Koontz in is usual fine way of incisive writing, makes known why this beast behaves the way he does, definitely not of his own choice. This beast didn't ask to be drawn this way, or even to volunteer to act as some kind of special government project. he has the same vulnerablitiy and frailty in his emotions that we as humans possess. yet, ironically it is his oversensitive nature that leads him onto this jealous rage to seek, kill, and destroy his cell mate, a dog housed within the same lab that has received all the preferential treatment that he did not, hence search kill and destroy this dog regardless of what the cost.
It's tragic that this "beast" -although the appropriation of this title solely belongs to the men and scientist that created it- has to face the reality of anyone. . . anything, that doesn't fit into our standard mode of existence.
I would have liked to have seen Dean arrive at a different conclusion, but nevertheless, I'll take the cards that have been dealt to me as a reader.
Thumbs up ! I enjoyed the emotional ride.
on January 11, 2002
I don't read much horror, but I used to read a lot of Stephen King when I was in my 20's. However, this is still my favorite horror novel. A government experiment produces a super-smart dog as well as a smart monster, they escape, and mayhem ensues. I've only read a few of Koontz's novels, but his writing ability never ceases to impress me. Horror, sci-fi and fantasy (and probably mystery, romance...) authors are often not considered to be great writers, but that's a mistake. This book has horror, romance, action, and the special animals. One warning: the movie based on this book is TERRIBLE. I can't over-emphasize this. I think I read that Dean Koontz made them remove his name from it - that's how bad it was. The main character was changed from being 30-something to a teenager (because teens are the biggest horror movie audience), and what was perhaps even more crazy and laughable, 1 good and 1 bad
character from the book *were combined into one character in the movie*!!!
on August 28, 2002
Watchers is some seriously fun Koontz. To add 'with a heart' would be pointless because that describes everything he writes. Unfortunately 'great' doesn't describe everything he writes but it sure does this one.
One of his early works, Watchers shows clearly the formula pattern Koontz employs in all his books. Yes, this becomes very tiresome later on in his career (though some real brilliance shines through later as he matures), but this story is fun from start to finish. The simple fact is that Koontz writes a great story. His dialogue comes from some other planet but is easily overlooked in most of his work. This guy loves to tell a story and he tells a great on almost every attempt. His love, and inclusion in all his stories, of animals goes far to forgive him his few transgressions as a writer.
You'll cheer for these characters, race to end of the book, and then feel genuinely sorry you've reached it. This is bubblegum for the brain at its very best.
on August 15, 1996
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. As with most of Dean Koontz's
books, I do not recommend reading it at home alone at night. In this
book Dean Koontz manages to make the characters three dimensional, even
the non-human characters. As with many of his books, he has included
a dog as one of the main characters in this book, and his ability to
explain canine behavior is very enjoyable.
This book focuses on the escape of two very different creatures from
a laboratory conducting DNA research. One is a golden retriever with
near human intelligence. The other is a vicious hybrid creature
genetically engineered to be a terrifying force on the battlefield.
The creature is stalking the dog and killing anything that comes in
its path. The dog teams up with a paralysingly shy young woman and
a depressed man and turns their life around. The dog and the couple
are then hunted by the NSA, the creature and a crazed psycopath.
on March 6, 2001
Watchers brings the childhood "bogeyman" to life! An engrossing and terrifying read that nearly kicked me out of my seat!! I could not put this book down. To tell the truth, however, during the parts when Detective Lem and the other policemen were involved, the suspense in the plot took a sudden downfall. I was clearly disappointed, but made it my goal to skip the "annoying" parts and finish the book. As a result, the remainder of the novel truly made up for the "boring" parts. Koontz has a way of causing the reader to feel sympathy towards the characters. I even felt sorry for The Outsider at times! If you're looking for a suspenseful novel, then Watchers is what you are looking for!!
on January 14, 2002
First off, this is one of the better Koontz novels I've read. It was gripping, fast paced and an extremely good read. If you enjoy Koontz and have not read this one yet, I suggest you give it a run.
Sadly, Konntz does not explore any new ground and the typical Koontz formula is applied to Watchers with a different plot and setting. Down and out characters that are going through problematic times, ex-military is usually involved, a character has some kind of supernatural powers, a love interest is always involved - a kind of mutual healing for both characters, good vs. evil.
For Koontz' formula, this book works, if you are looking for anything new from Dean, I'm not sure where to direct you.