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Watchers - Dean Koontz

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Author: Dean Koontz / Genre: Horror

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    10 Reviews
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      12.06.2012 15:23

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      Brilliant suspense story full of hope and good humour

      I have always loved Dean Koontz and although his books are classified as horror this seems a bit narrow a category! His books are widely different, with themes ranging from genetic experiments, psycho killers and the occult but throughout is always seen the theme of good triumphing over evil.
      Many horror writers give an impression of impending doom and I always worry slightly that the authors are a little mad for their own good but Koontz is an optimist and this is clearly seen throughout his novels.

      Watchers is my favourite Koontz and my paperback is sadly wrecked with its much overuse!!! Happily I have now bought the kindle version....indestrucible!!!!
      Golden retrievers play a big role in most of Koontz's novels and in Watchers Einstein is one of the main characters. A love of dogs is not required to be completely engrossed in this tale where scientific experimentation has produced a pair of spookily intelligent animals that change the lives of all who come into contact with them!
      Everyone has always wanted to know what it would be like to find a way to communicate with their pet and this novel gave me shivers as Travis Cornell after finding Einstein soon discovers that this is no ordinary dog!!
      Romantics...do not despair, as Watchers includes a romantic interest as well as a very psychologically disturbed assassin just to make things even more interesting!!
      Enjoy

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      20.11.2011 22:34

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      A special book, a must read.

      I discovered Dean Koontz by chance, when a friend lent me one of his books, Dragon Tears, which spooked me. After that, I became addicted but I have to admit that not all of Koontz's books are of the same standard, so when I bought this one I had no idea that I would be thrilled, surprised, moved, shaken and stirred more than one of James Bond's famous martinis (which in fact is only shaken but not stirred!).

      I started reading and I was soon transported in a wood, hand in hand with Travis, the loner who, early in the book, finds a very special dog called Einstein. A few chapters later I ran with Nora out of the house where she was attacked and later still I felt for the "other" horrible creature, the bloodthirsty monster with a touch of good in his soul, and a passion for Mickey Mouse.

      I confess: I got so emotional that I cried. And I cried more that once!

      Like in many other books by Dean Koontz, the good characters are really good, moral people and the bad ones are very dark beings, but in this book each character is so real you will not forget them and the "monster" is not a total monster after all. I advise you not to read much about the plot before buying the book, just start reading and be transported in its world.

      Beware though: when you finish you might really really want to get a puppy golden retriever.

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      02.06.2004 00:06
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      The Watchers by Dean Koontz is one of the best books I have ever read! I have read a lot of Dean Koontz books but I have to say that this is may fav. They escape from a secret government: two mutant creatures, both changed utterly form the animals they once were. And no one who encounters them will ever be the same again: A lonely widower; a ruthless assassin; a beautiful woman; a governement agent. Drawn together in a deadly hunt, all four are inexorably propelled towards a confrontation with an evil beyond human imagining. The book is based around Travis, a loner looking to find some meaning in his life after losing his wife. Nora, a very timid and afraid woman ruled by her aunt as a child, stalked by Streck the offensive cocky tv repair man. Einstein, the wonder dog with human intelligence who has escaped from a secret government compound and will bring happiness to the lives of Travis and Nora, and of course the mutant creature that has also escaped, but this is no wonder creature, it is evil and leaves death along it way, it's main goal, to distroy Einstein! It will not take you long to get completely addicted to this book and once you start you will find it very hard to put down. By the time you get to the end of this book you will find that you have experienced a bit of a laugh, a few sad times and quite a few scares and shocks! This is a must have for any koontz fan, readers of Steven King and Richard Layman will also enjoy it!

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        12.04.2002 15:02
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        I started the book with little anticipation, as I had not enjoyed the only other Koontz I had ever tried. However, within pages I was gripped and found it hard to put the novel down. The appearance of the book was not promising: a drawing of an old house surrounded by a green haze on the front and a photo of Dean Koontz on the back, who looks mysteriously identical to Burt Reynolds. However, the contents proved to exceed all expectations. THE STORY Travis Cornell is a lonely man who has suffered much loss in life. One day he comes across a golden retriever in the woods, who warns him of danger and together they escape from a being, threatening and powerful, lurking in the forest. Travis quickly realises that the dog shows unprecedented intelligence on a par with that of a human and he names him Einstein. Einstein does a little match-making and Travis soon finds himself with a new girlfriend, Nora Devon. They find a method of communicating with the dog, who tells them that he was the result of a laboratory experiment. The other creation of the laboratory was known as the ‘Outsider’, a hideous creature genetically engineered from a baboon to be a killing machine. The three soon find themselves on the run from the Outsider, the National Defence Authorities and a hitman, Vince Nasco, who wants the dog for himself. GOOD v EVIL The book has a recurring theme of good and evil. Einstein embodies goodness; he is intelligent, kind and caring. He would do anything, even risking his life, in order to protect his owners. He has sharply tuned instincts, which he always uses for good. The fact that he is characterised in the book as a golden retriever helps to reflect this. He is man’s best friend, he is a loyal and trusted companion, he is good. The Outsider is hideous to behold, reflecting his evil nature. He was designed to kill and his very presence is enough to make o
        ne shiver with fear. He kills numerous people throughout the book. These killings are purposeless and mindlessly violent. He was designed to kill, he was designed to be evil. The theme is once more reflected in the comparison between Travis Cornell and the hitman, Vince Nasco. Vince Nasco is heartless; he kills for money and for pleasure. He gets an almost sexual thrill from murder, enjoys prolonging his ‘hits’ with torture and a slow death and has no conscience. His ultimate ambition is to murder a pregnant woman. Travis on the other hand seems loving and devoted to those in his life. He would risk anything to protect Nora or Einstein and, in this respect, shows similar qualities to the dog itself. He, Nora and Einstein form a close knit triangle of ‘good’ and together they stand against all that is evil in the world. MAN AS GOD Both Einstein and the Outsider were created as man. Man has the power of life and the power of death. In this respect man is like God. However, if man is to succeed in this comparison he must be godlike in other respects. He must respect his creations and give them the freedom and dignity they deserve. This is one of the reasons why Travis and Nora and, as the story develops, other people are so determined that Einstein should remain free. Man cannot create with one hand and then constrain that life with the other. By creating a being as intelligent and anthropomorphic as Einstein man owes it to his creation to dignify it with the respect it deserves. The Outsider is also a creation of man and, while we may find it hard to feel the same sympathies for it as we do for the dog, we do eventually begin to pity this creature. It is ugly and shunned and hated by even its creators. It kills because it has been designed to do so in so doing increases the loathing of humans towards it. The Outsider knows it is ugly, it knows it is feared and yet is as inte
        lligent as you or I. It pains it to know how it appears to others and to realise how inhuman it is. It is so aware of its own monstrosity that after killing a person it will rip out the human’s eyes, symbolic of hiding its ugliness from the world. If man has the power to create it should be used with care. Man must be responsible for its own actions and must accord its creations the ‘humanity’ they deserve. CARRY ON KOONTZ The book was gripping from start to finish. There were enough storylines and characters to keep you interested but the plots were woven together carefully with no resulting anomalies or unbelievable leaps of coincidence or logic. The book had nice goodies, scary baddies and a moral tale. The storyline was credible and the book wholly satisfying. The book not only met but far exceeded my expectations and I am eager to digest more Koontz as soon as possible.

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          12.03.2001 03:29
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          Travis Cornell lives out in the Californian Hills escaping life’s responsibilities and fears after a traumatic life up to his 36th birthday. But life for him is about to get a whole lot worse whilst he’s out shooting snakes too pass the long hot days. Cresting a hill on a long walk with his trusty rifle I hears a rustling in the bushes not thirty feet from where he is standing. Thinking its probably a wild boar or something equally unmenecing he continues to wander along the track with his memories. But thirty minutes later its till out their and its closing the distance as Travis begins to think twice about what’s in the scrub and makes haste. The thing is closing and he needs to push on, when his path is suddenly blocked, not by the beast but a young dog with bright clear eyes. The dog also seems concerned and seems to lead Travis away from the danger as the two run for their lives.As they get their breath, Travis considers what has just happened and what to do next.The dog seems to instantly befriend our fugitive as the two head off to safety. Travis takes him in and feeds the dog as the two bond. But this dog is no ordinary dog and seems to be exhibiting high levels of intelligence and does things normal dogs just don’t do earning the name of Einstein by his new owner.. Meanwhile the local cops are finding bodies up in the hills and their deaths are very gruesome indeed so the FBI are called to find out who or what is doing the slaughter. Santa Barbara cop Walt Bridges hasn’t seen murders like this before and he wants his old pal at the FBI to stop the killing, and quick because what ever is out there, not only kills but cuts the head of for a trophy before eating the brains. But what Vince Nasco of the FBI is not telling his pal is that something has escaped from a science lab near San Fernandez, and its not human. Lonely but beautiful Nora Dean also has her problems, but not head eating monsters b
          ut perverted TV repair men who want to take advantage of a painfully reclusive girl on the edge of a quiet town. He calls her on the phone and teases saying he’s going to rape her now she’s all alone after her domineering mother dies. Nora is very scared and wont leave the house as panic attacks rip through her every time the phone rings, it could be him. Who else would ring a nobody like her she thinks. One day Einstein stumbles upon Nora whilst out walking with Travis and sets about a spot of matchmaking. Are the two lost souls destined to be together. Einstein thinks so. The two hook up and romance blooms as Travis brings her out of her shell and his to some extent as the two become one. They are not the only ones who are showing signs of change. Einstein seems to be a lot cleverer than they thought and begins to communicate his story to them through a typewriter and special signals.(no he doesn’t type). But the lab would rather like the dog back as it to escaped from their lab and the two escapees seem inexorably linked in a way Travis and his girl haven’t quite worked out. But if they want the dog, which the two will never surrender, they have to underground and change their ID care of a few unscrupulous characters from his older Vietnam days. As the FBI close in on the two who flee north to the cooler climes of The Redwood forests its not only the secret service that are pursuing the dog. And what ever that thing is its growing stronger and faster, almost learning by their mistakes. The to escapees seemed to have been results of genetic government engineering. One designed to be a killing machine and the other to the good of mankind. As the body count rises and the beast nears the confrontation they will have to endear it seems the thing has emotions to and cuts the heads of of the victims as it cant bare its own ugliness when it looks in the mirror. Its hatred of Einstein is based on jealousy and it
          wants to kill the dog so the torment will end. It doesn’t really matter how tame the plot is in a Koontz book because author is the suspense master that makes you finish any of his books regardless of how dull they seem. This is not his best but it’s still readable and worth picking up from the local library for a lunch time read in the spring warmth as you watch the world go by.

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            22.02.2001 18:37

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            This is the first novel I ever read written by Koontz, and to this day I must confess that it is still my favourite. Indeed, it may very well be my favourite book of all time. The strength of the story, of course, lies with "Einstein", and his interaction with the other characters in the story. I'm not a dog lover by any stretch of the imagination, but I fell for this dog deeply. Koontz does a brilliant job of describing Einstein's feelings (read the book and this statement will make more sense, I assure you), so as you begin to view the dog as a human. It happens so gradually through the novel that you don't even realise it till it's too late. The main theme of this book is LOYALTY. Not just with Einstein and the other characters, but more so with the humans he comes into contact with. I'm not sure if Koontz is a dog lover or not, but he sure made one out of me! I have read this book more times than I care to mention, and each time I am still filled with the same emotions at the same places on the same pages...This novel is indeed THAT powerful. Regardless of whether you enjoy pets or not, do yourself a favour, and read this novel.

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            25.09.2000 04:23
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            The Watchers by Dean R Koontz This is less of a horror book than some of Koontz’s, but one of his most enjoyable reads. Two creatures have escaped from a secret government laboratory where they have been genetically mutated. One of them, a golden retriever, has been given great intelligence. He hooks up with a man called Travis, who quickly realises this is no ordinary dog, although it is sometime before he realises just how intelligent the animal actually is. The dog is on the run, not only from the laboratory, but from the creature that escaped with it, The Outsider, genetically adapted to be a perfect killing machine. A creature that believed it was so ugly it wanted to tear out its own eyes and that of everyone who might see it, and a creature who hated the retriever with a violent, relentless passion.

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            24.09.2000 05:11
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            I'm ashamed to say that up until I was 17, I'd read about 20 books in my life, and most of them were forced upon me at school. Then I met a girl called Mairi, who gave me glandular fever. while I was in bed re-cuperatng, she dropped round a copy of a book I'd only seen as a film with Cory Haim. Yup, it was Watchers. Isn't it nice to have a moment in your life that you can pin point to changing you slightly? Anyway, film wasn't too good, so I was a bit cautious about the book. But then I met Einstein. I've always harboured thoughts that acts and dogs would be good conversationalists, if only they'd talk, and this mutt in the book was (I think) what made it all so special for me. Ok, I knew about him from the film, but it's never the same, huh? So, I get quite near the end, and (I won't spoil it and tell you why) there's a peom of sorts dedicated to dogs. Now, you have to remember I was ill, and a bit out of it, but this struck me as so profound, and meaningful, I had to stop reading for a couple of hours to let it sink in. And this is where me love affair of Koontz's books grew, from catching glandular fever. Yes, he's written better books than this, but I don't think personally, he's ever brought such emotion into my heart as he did with this one. Story was good too by the way!! Seriously, it's a great read, filled with beautiful characters, and ones that make you want to put the book in the freezer. There's only one of his boks that I love more than this, and that's Lightning. C.ya Recess www.recess.co.uk

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            30.08.2000 22:27

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            Dean koontz is an underrated writer,his books are often better written and have more exciting story lines than stephen kings.if you haven't read any of his books before than you really are missing a treat,he is a great author and this book is no exception,the story line is unexpected,there are always twists and it will make you oversleep as you'll be up half the night saying,just one more chapter !Won't spoil the story line by telling you what happens,you can read that for yourself,but make sure you try his stuff,he has also had a tough life in reality and you can't help but wonder if any of this is based on real life experience.

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            29.08.2000 03:19
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            I have read quite a few of Dean Koontz's books; I can't really classify him as a horror writer. His books are not particularly sci-fi either, so I would class him as an x-file writer, as most of the stories revolve around mutated creatures, strange children, secret experiments etc. The latest book I have read is Watchers. The story is about an secret government experimental centre, called Banodyne, the government are developing a clever dog that can infiltrate the Russians, and a half ape half man like creature that is made to kill. The two creatures escape, the dog befriends a man Travis Cornell, he finds out that the dog is extremely intelligent and names the dog Einstein. Thanks to Einstein Travis meets the woman of his dreams Nora. The threesome seems to get one really well, and they treat Einstein like their child. But the other escapee known as the outsider, is hot on the dogs trail, the outsider wants to kill the dog, it's driven by hate and rage for the dog, the government are also searching for the threesome and a ruthless assassin is hot on there trail. This is a story of survival; they are driven by there love for each other and Einstein. Unbelievable there is some sad moments in this book, such as when Einstein contracts distemper. As I said I wouldn't consider this as a horror story, more like something out of the x-files. Although I would definitely recommend this book. It's thrilling, exciting, and sad it tackles every emotion, known to man.

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