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They escape from a secret government: two mutant creatures, both changed utterly from 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 government agent.

Drawn together in a deadly hunt, all four are inexorably propelled towards a confrontation with an evil beyond human imagining.

624 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Dean Koontz

955 books35.1k followers
Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Facebook: Facebook.com/DeanKoontzOfficial
Twitter: @DeanKoontz
Website: DeanKoontz.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,867 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,608 reviews5,999 followers
April 10, 2016
I haven't read Dean Koontz in years. I don't think I've missed much after reading this one though. BUT some of my other buddy readers think differently. They are wrong.
Dean Koontz can't even wash his panties in the same room with Stephen King.
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Now that I've put that image in your head, I'll ramble some about the book. You have this lab who had been creating super smart critters to fight. They never really tell how so don't be getting your sciency on for this one. There is a hit man who is offing the scientist so that might be why Koontz doesn't tell us. Who knows?
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I wanted at least a pretense of explanation. The lab has 'sired' a super smart dog and that other thing. The Outsider.
Then enter the guy character. He was sorta alright but not a character that would stick out in my head. For ex-Delta force I really expected a whole lot more bad-ass than he was.
Enter in Nora, she has lived her whole sheltered life in her mean old aunt's shadow. She has had really no contact with the outside world and is introverted as all get out. For about five minutes, because once she meets the guy she is the most beautiful woman ever and everyone wants to bang her.
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All these characters are pretty annoying. The only ones I liked? The Outsider and the Dog, Einstein. I do think Einstein should have been a chihuahua though.
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Chihuahuas rock. I have three and then I have the boy child's dog. (That's a whole nuther story on that one though.) But chihuahuas would have gotten this book an extra star from me. Because see how smart they are? (Blatant promotion of my own dogs coming here)
Faking sleep when tries to be made to go outside and pee in the rain: Smart!
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Being Spider-Dog to try and jump in mom's plate of food: Smart!
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Interupting mom's selfie taking to crawl on her shoulder wanting in the pic? Not really smart but you can't win them all.
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Then the Outsider.
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I wish he had ate perfect Nora and the guy and went on to make sciency babies with the dog, while they watched Mickey Mouse videos. Total win that would have been!
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I read this as a buddy read with Delee, Stepheny, 2.0, Ed and Kelly.
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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
July 30, 2018
I know this is a classic for many readers but I expected more, honestly. Watchers is my first read by Koontz so I have nothing to compare it to, but my first wander into his mind was disappointing. And a little weird.

It could partly be that this particular book doesn't withstand the test of time. There are definitely aspects that feel dated (I got a bit of shock when I realized how long ago 1987 actually was!). Even the array of stereotypical characters here felt old-fashioned-- ex soldier hero, abused beautiful damsel, cold-blooded psychopath, and a super precocious dog.

Admittedly, these days you cannot possibly meet a beautiful damsel in a thriller without her being behind it all, but I'd rather that than this sheltered abused beautiful virgin who is oblivious to her beauty and quickly breaks through her abuse trauma to aid Travis. And isn't it also very convenient that no one in this book has a job to go to because of inheritance, investments, or a mysterious caller who pays you to off people?

Watchers is about Travis (ex-soldier), Nora (damsel), Vince Nasco (hitman) and Einstein (the dog). Koontz takes us through several different perspectives and gradually (read: very slowly) uncovers the story about what is going on at Banodyne Labs. And... it's obvious, isn't it? I didn't really feel like there was much mystery here, and the ending just seemed to peter out under its own predictability.

Which might have been fine if I'd enjoyed the characters and/or the getting there, but all of the characters feel one-dimensional and based in stereotypes. And I like dogs as much as anybody but Koontz's dog love is a little weird, I gotta say. What's with having a "talking" dog as a main character, anyway?

Watchers is always the Koontz book that seems to get mentioned, but I'll try another if anyone has any better recommendations. For those curious about this: I should also point out that this thriller has some sci-fi aspects.

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Profile Image for Emma.
986 reviews1,006 followers
December 16, 2018
I don’t even care about all the things wrong with this book, I love it, I’m going to 5* it, and I’ll internet fight with anyone who wants to question it.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,487 reviews7,790 followers
October 17, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Somehow I’ve managed to live over five and a half dog years without ever reading a Dean Koontz novel. However, when I was presented with the opportunity to do a buddy read with . . .

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I jumped at the chance. What do I have to say now that I’m finished?????

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I mean LOTS better because I really had a pretty horrible time while reading this one. In case you too have spent decades ignoring Koontz, here’s the lowdown of what Watchers is about. We start with Travis, a supposed former Delta Force member who must have suffered some severe head trauma or something that made him no longer be awesome. Then we meet Bella Swan Nora. Poor Nora is a special snowflake who was forced to live as a recluse by her crazy ass aunt. Now that evil Aunty has finally kicked the bucket, Nora can let her freak flag fly. Ha! Not really. Nora can pretty much only drone on and on and on and on about how difficult things were for her while Travis tells her how much she is smart, she is kind and she is important. (I would like it to be on the record that I will gladly volunteer as tribute to deliver the bitchslapping to Nora that she sooooooo deserves.) Finally, we get to meet the star of the show – a/k/a the smartest pooch ever grown in a lab. No offense el doggito, but there can only be one Einstein . . .

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Anywho, the whole story is about how Travis finds supermutt and then finds Nora and they fall into instalovey loveytimes and discover that Einstein is a real Einstein all while trying to keep it on the downlow that they have the dog everyone and their . . well dog is looking for while trying to avoid an abomination that was also created by the government known as “The Outsider” and not to mention not get whacked by a mafia hitman. You’d think with all that going on this would’ve been interesting, huh? Well, you’d be wrong ‘cause it was boring as shit. . . .

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Basically this was eleventy trillion pages of a lesson on man’s inhumanity to man written by a dude who seriously has a thing for dogs. Like so much that I’m pretty sure he’s one of the people all the right-wing nutters were thinking about wanting to marry his pet when they were trying to keep gay marriage illegal.

Save your breath if you want to troll me. One thing I know for certain is . . .

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Just ask Edward. Okay, maybe not him. Ask Shelby instead. I’d tell you to ask Delee but her interwebs is broke, Ron 2.0 disagrees with me 100% of the time out of spite and it will be October before he gets a review posted anyway, and Stepheny is on like Chapter 1 still so she doesn’t even know the snoozefest she’s about to subject herself to.
February 8, 2022
I knew I was going to like this book when I saw it had a dog on the cover. 😂
This book was surprisingly fast-paced despite its hefty length. There were a lot of situations to keep the story going and keep you enthralled until the end. However, my favorite parts were with the dog and reading about his crazy adventures.
Despite its maturity, the book holds up well today and doesn’t age itself too much. In fact, some of the lines that were dated made me chuckle here and there.
There was a side story about a character named Vince that I felt was a little unanswered and seemed kind of random so I do wish that had been explained further. Also, certain parts with a couple characters played out wildly unrealistic, but it didn’t distract me too much from the story.
I’d like to give a shoutout to my Goodreads friend, Jim, who recommended this book to me after I didn’t rate ‘The Other Emily’ well. I’m happy I gave Koontz a second chance. I own Devoted on kindle so that’ll be next on my Dean Koontz list! 😊
Profile Image for Maciek.
567 reviews3,412 followers
December 27, 2009
Very overrated...I had high expectations for the book, because of the almost universal applause it gets...and it turned out to be yet another Koontz dog novel.
The characters in this novel are shallow and cardboard - the ex delta force soldier, a widower, falls in love with an abused woman. Of course despite her abuse lasting for years she gets out of the shell in several months and gets pregnant, drives a car, even uses weapons !
The scene when they have weapons hidden all over their house is quite hilarious. Also, of course both of our heroes conveniently either invested their money/or inherited a large sum from a dead aunt, and don't have to work for the rest of their lives...and did I mention that the dog is special ?
2 words: You can read this book if you are a Koontz fan, you might even get engrossed in it, but it's one of those books that you forget the moment you put it back on the shelf.
Profile Image for Simeon.
Author 1 book384 followers
October 28, 2011
Unputdownable, with surprisingly deep characterization, and a super-smart dog that runs around adorably.

+ a nightmarish monster that escapes a laboratory and starts munching on the peaceful population of modern suburbia.

An immaculate mix of horror, romance, and action.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,006 followers
March 28, 2016
I went in to this hearing that this was the best Koontz book ever. Of his books I have read, I would not say that this was my favorite (maybe not even in the top 5) - but it was still pretty good.

The following may get me "booed" by some, but I am not really a dog person and Koontz often has a golden retriever as a main character. I think that fact may have tainted my feelings about this book a bit. I don't mind having a pet or an animal as a main character in a book, but here it felt like a bit much to me.

However, it still was an entertaining read with interesting characters and some good thrills and chills.
Profile Image for Ɗẳɳ  2.☊.
159 reviews299 followers
February 13, 2020

“We have a responsibility to stand watch over one another, we are watchers, all of us, watchers, guarding against the darkness.”

Travis Cornell truly believes he’s cursed. Seemingly, everyone he’s ever loved has suffered an untimely death, including his entire army unit and more recently his wife. He’s all alone in the world, scared to make any new connections, slowly slipping into a dark depression. In an attempt to lift his spirits, he revisits a favorite childhood destination—the Santa Ana foothills. He needs some time to decompress, commune with nature, maybe shoot a few snakes or shoot himself, who knows? As he’s hiking down a trail, a Golden Retriever appears in his path refusing to let him pass.

All her life Nora Devon has been under the thumb of her overbearing aunt. Homeschooled and locked away from the world; constantly reminded of the dangers of men. Taught to live vicariously through her books and artwork; never daring to venture out into the real world. So browbeaten that even after her aunt’s passing she still suffers from crippling agoraphobia. When Nora finally does go outside, she quickly realizes that everything her aunt warned her about is true. She’s immediately stalked and harassed by a lowlife bent on having his way with her. Trapped and reeling, with no apparent means of escape, a Golden Retriever arrives just in the nick time to thwart those advances.

Vince Nasco is a deranged hitman who believes his special superpower allows him to absorb the very life force of his victims. He’s confident that once he’s killed enough people he’ll achieve immortality. One day soon a Golden Retriever may put that belief to the ultimate test. Ssssnap.

Meanwhile, there’s some strange goings-on at Banodyne Laboratories, including a couple of accidental deaths and a lab explosion. Along with a string of grisly murders in the surrounding foothills, and a frantic NSA manhunt. What the hell’s going on, and who or what is “The Outsider?”

This story required suspending my disbelief, which isn’t a problem in and of itself, but, when combined with mediocre writing and some truly cringe-worthy dialog—like a black NSA agent yukking it up with his redneck sheriff buddy—that’s a tall order. The sections with Travis and Nora eventually became insufferable as well, because he continually had to reassure her and stroke her fragile ego. There were also a few too many dated references, and, of course, all the shenanigans with the phone tracing added a lot more excitement to the tale then would have been possible with a more modern story. There was also a major plot hole in the ending.

Overlooking all its shortcomings, the story was fun, in a sappy kind of way. I totally get how this could be a comfort read for those who grew up with Koontz—the love just oozes off the page. So much so, I was this close to rounding up my rating until I made one crucial mistake—I picked up that next Jay Porter book, before writing this review, and was reminded of what good writing actually looks like. Sorry guys, but Koontz is a hack, and, to be perfectly honest, I’m more of a German Shepherd kind of guy.

2.5 stars - If this is the best Koontz can do, I think I’ve seen enough. Adios Deano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RaG7...

“The human species is a parade of fools, after all, and I am often at the front of the parade, twirling a baton.” —Dean Koontz in the afterword

Buddy read with Eazy-E, The Lost Connection, Annie Wilkes, Boss Hogg, and the Monkey Queen.
Profile Image for Lee  (the Book Butcher).
278 reviews73 followers
October 24, 2022
This was supposed to be such a great book on the PBS great book list. Koontz best work by his own admission. It was good but i think my expectations were too high! i feel a little underwhelmed in the end!

The setup to this has some very rememberable characters. First is the ultra-smart golden retriever built in a lab but misunderstood, Then the ex-military depressed widow, and then the confused beauty who think she is ugly. The couple gets married as the dog proves he has a soul. There is also a black agent, a serial killer, and another research project developed like the dog to become a killer. the main problem i had was its length and the character were good but a little to polished. maybe that's the point I've heard of the characters, so they have become part of the lexicons of literature. well i won't go that far the character were very polished. we spend alot of time proving the dog has a soul then everything is wrapped up very quickly. I don't want to be weird here but i have a lot of pets. each one has a very distinct personality. i not going to say a soul but it's safe to say i believe animals have more emotional status than when this was written in 1987.

Good book but a little underwhelming will try another Koontz book later!
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,245 reviews970 followers
August 28, 2019
This was one of the first books I ever read by the author and I was hooked. He has a way of frightening you witless but not allowing you to put the book down. I HAD to know how it ended. A classic.
Profile Image for Bianca.
94 reviews3 followers
March 4, 2008
I totally enjoyed Watchers. Honestly? it is what it is, and, yes, some of the characterizations and descriptions were a bit, well, heavy handed. But--the dog, Einstein, is completely irresistible. Mostly is a real page turner. It was my before bed reading, and most nights it gave me nightmares, but I couldn't stop reading. And did I mention the dog?

In the first chapter, Travis Cornell is hiking in Santiago Canyon, and he finds (or perhaps is found by?) a stray dog, who seems to be warning him about something lurking in the woods. Initially skeptical, Travis eventually realizes something IS following them, and, taking the dog with him, he heads for home. As Travis soon learns, this is no ordinary dog. I won't say why because how Travis discovers the truth about Einstein makes for fun reading. But as their relationship develops, the dog rescues him in all kinds of ways, most notably by introducing him to the lovely (but terribly introverted) Nora.

The bad guys in this book are really, really bad. With one exception--Koontz nicely complicates the evil thing that's pursuing Travis and Einstein. In a Frankenstein's monster kind of way.

In his afterward, written considerably afterward, Koontz talks about how readers continue to tell him how much they love this book. (It's because of the dog.)

Finally, it's worth thinking about why a dog with human intelligence is so darn appealing. What cultural fantasies about dogs and dogness--and human-ness--are played out here? Nearly every one--the way humans project all kinds of desires and moral behavior onto dogs, the idea that dogs make us human, that their goodness and loyalty bring out the best in us.

And, FYI? On the official Dean Koontz website, you can find a list of his other dogs stories. I'm planning to sample a few more.
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews430 followers
October 4, 2022
No wonder this took me a while to read, it was actually quite a long book - 624 pages but I loved every single one of them. This is another I picked up on sale at Amazon and I went into it blind. I’ve long planned to have a dabble in Koontz’s back catalogue.

It looks like most of you have read it anyway so I won’t belabour the plot. There was a lot of foreshadowing of disaster to come and I kept waiting with bated breath but apart from a few animals and some humans being ripped apart by the Outsider nothing bad really happened.

So Banodyne Research Laboratories have been doing genetic engineering experiments on animals (which should be verboten). One such experiment was to develop a normal looking dog (they chose a golden retriever as they are so popular) and aimed to give it super intelligence. Tick - until the clever little mutt escaped. Another guy was developing a fearsome and fearless killing machine. Based on a baboon this poor creature, the aforementioned Outider, was made bigger, it’s head misshapen to accomodate lots of nasty sharp teeth and a bigger brain. It was ugly and very vicious. It too escaped and wanted to hunt down the dog.

The dog saved Travis Cornell from certain death by heading him off a certain path while on a walk and then he saved lovely young woman, Nora, from a would be rapist. Travis and Nora got together and adopted the dog which they named Einstein because of his super intelligence. They also taught him heaps until he was reading books and putting words together using scrabble tiles.

This domestic bliss was, however, always under threat by the Outsider, the NSA and a an assassin. That’s a very simple summary. Naturally the star of the book is Einstein and I was preparing myself to bawl my eyes out when he was finally cornered. Travis thinks he has found redemption after a string of bad luck runs in which everyone he’s ever been close to ends up dying. And Nora who was brought up by her bitter and twisted Aunt Violet thinks she is ugly and useless and is painfully shy. They all kind of save each other. I thought it was a very heartwarming story.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,566 followers
September 10, 2013
This is one of the most popular novels of Dean Koontz. The story appeals not only horror fans but I think that readers who like techno-thriller may find quite amusing the book, since the story uses in a very creative way elements of science fiction and indeed you have a plot full of suspense. Also, the book has clearly many of the trademark things of Dean Koontz. You have a smart dog and can be easily one of the smarter dogs in Koontz's book, if not the smartest of all. If you are a dog-lover, this book will appeal to you totally. The narrative is fluid and it doesn't have much characters so, you will get into the book quite quick and you'll be way entertained. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews314 followers
October 24, 2018
Wow!! Just wow!! I loved it. This book had EVERYTHING!! It’s my first Dean Koontz book, the writing, the story, all of it was fantastic. Great characters as well!! One of my all time favorite books.
Profile Image for Jamie.
73 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2013
blah.... Now, I know that when someone writes a book it doesn't have to reflect real life, but does that mean that they couldn't at least try to make it seem real? Like whatever is going on in the book could really happen in the 'real' world?
Do you think that Dean Koontz could have wrote a book that wasn't so drippy with sentimentality towards his favorite breed of dog, that other people could actually get through it?

Well, I did - barely. It was soooo dang painful too. All his annoying story recipes were present such as: beautiful, perfect woman; strong, manly (yet so thoughtful)man; and technology gone awry. The point? To save one beautiful and amazingly smart golden retriever (can he talk? Oh, do you have to ask?) from a crazed and Evil baboon/pig (how evil? Evil enough to kill an amazing golden retriever, so thats pretty darn evil). Will you wish you had spent your time doing something else? YES!!!
Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
1,014 reviews75 followers
June 29, 2022
This is sincerely one of my favorite Koontz novels. Nora Devon and Travis Cornell are memorable characters, but really the star of this book is Einstein, the gifted golden retriever. If you are at all familiar with Koontz, golden retrievers are common characters in his novels, along with a host of others like a pixie blond female that almost become tropes. Part of the magic and awe in this book is the idea that the government is tampering with animal DNA, and conceivably creating organisms that are smarter and/or fiercer than organisms that already exist on this world. (Another trope would be the crazy government conspiracies like the one in this book.) Einstein is one such creature, but the Outsider is another. The ethical questions raised by this novel are not unique to this Koontz book. He does a great deal of soul searching sometimes and here, it works better than others.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
June 28, 2014
An entertaining and touching story that is part sci-fi, part romance and part thriller resulting in a fast-paced read. If you are an animal lover, you will surely love Einstein the dog, but probably feel sorry for the Outsider too. One of my favorite character's, other than Einstein of course, was the attorney, Garrison Dilworth. What a tough old dude! Enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,753 reviews700 followers
July 25, 2013
I recently reread this old favorite of mine as an unabridged audiobook. It was one of my childhood favorites so I was almost afraid to touch it and ruin the mystique I'd built up around it. Surprisingly enough, I managed to enjoy most of it despite the fact that I've become much pickier and crabbier about my reading choices as I've, eh, matured.

This is Koontz's famous tale about genetically engineered animals which is probably much more probable and frightening now than it was in 1987! Political bigwigs have managed to fund and create "The Outsider", an intelligent killer who lives for the thrill of the kill. They've also created a golden retriever with the intelligence of a bright human (I state this because many dogs I know are smarter than many humans I've come across). The government intends to use the dogs as spies to learn about the ever elusive "enemy". After all, who would ever suspect a goofy retriever of spy tactics? These two genetically altered creatures are so smart they outsmart the scientists and escape the lab. The "Outsider" goes on a killing spree while the retriever finds a loving home with a kind man who names him "Einstein". For some inexplicable reason, "The Outsider" hates Einstein. Hates him with an undying passion and wants him dead (jealous of his doggy beauty, perhaps?). Because the two are psychically linked, it spends its time tracking down the dog when not decapitating innocent people and animals, that is.

The remainder of the book is filled with the antics of a crazed killer-for-hire, corrupt political goings-on, "The Outsider's" quest for death and destruction and the gooey-sweet love story between Travis, a victimized woman who is so naive as to be completely unbelievable and whose name I've already forgotten and Einstein the dog. This is the kind of love triangle I enjoy, haha.

I still loved Einstein this time around but spent a large majority of the book annoyed at the woman character who was all helpless, pathetic and needed rescuing. She was 30, THIRTY folks, and so sheltered and beaten down by a crazy old aunt that she had absolutely zero life experience and was completely missing a backbone. I don't remember noticing those things when I was a teenager or maybe I just accepted them as normal because I didn't know any better at the time. If that's the case, maybe getting older isn't such a bad thing ;)

I enjoyed the re-read and recommend this book to any dog lover and Koontz fan. It's still one of his best but not quite the five star read I remember.
Profile Image for Craig.
5,143 reviews122 followers
May 27, 2022
Watchers may be Koontz's most popular novel and is certainly one of his best known. It isn't my favorite of his works, but I think it's deservedly a classic. It's a tightly written thriller, a romance, a dog story, a science fiction tale.... something for everyone. A great place to start for anyone wanting to give him a try.
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,890 reviews74 followers
December 12, 2019
I once went through a Dean Koontz phase, which involved me going to the bookstore and completely clearing an entire shelf's worth of Koontz paperbacks. I voraciously devoured (not literally, of course) them all in a relatively short span. (I'm pretty sure I missed a few meals and a shower or two.) What Koontz lacks in literary depth, he more than makes up for in readability, suspense, and just plain, old-fashioned good storytelling. "Watchers" was, hands down, my favorite of his mainly because the protagonist is a dog, and the most lovable dog-hero in all of horror fiction. (Die-hard horror fans know that there is a weirdly popular sub-genre of horror fiction in which dogs are the protagonists. I suppose it's completely understandable as to why the sub-genre is popular. Everyone loves dogs. People who don't like dogs are obviously evil.) I honestly can't remember much of the story, except that there is a monster, a man and a woman who meet within the first couple chapters and have fallen in love in by the last couple of chapters, and a psychotic government agent involved. Granted, that describes nearly ALL of Koontz's books, but so be it...
Profile Image for Ken.
2,208 reviews1,330 followers
May 24, 2022
I've surprisingly not read much if Koontz, but knew this novel to be one of his popular story in his bibliography.
It definitely reaffirmed that I should read more of his work as a simple formula of a friendship between a man and a dog is grippingly explored with the aid of some government genetic experiments.

From the outset we know that there's something special about the golden retriever that Travis stumbles across, it's the fun of seeing how he'll be able to communicate with the animal that he names 'Einstein' that makes this such a fun read.

The added threat of another mutanated creater dubbed The Outsider adds some jeopardy to the narrative, whilst the introduction of Nora adds some romance to the proceedings.

Overall a fun gripping read with a simple hook.
Profile Image for Richard.
452 reviews108 followers
January 22, 2013

I did not enjoy this book at all. I seem to be one of the few people though judging on the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I pretty much skimmed the last 200 pages which is the first time I’ve ever had to do that with a book but I knew I would be reading it all month otherwise.

The concept/plot of this book was intriguing to me and the whole ethical dilemma of animal testing with a bit of action thrown in for good measure sounded like it could be onto something. Add into that there is a Labrador running around in it then I was looking forward to it as I’m very dog friendly and was able to picture one of our Labradors as the lead.

But somewhere along the way it went bad. I could not get into this book at all. The characters weren’t likable (except Einstein) and the pacing was dire. It felt like I was able to skim the last few hundred pages as I could tell when the pointless descriptions were coming and could jump to the bottom of the page and have missed nothing.

Even the ending was a bit bland and predictable. It seemed that some of the main characters in this weren’t even considered until the end and were just neatly added into a passage to tie off loose endings.

The dog was the reason this kept me from putting the book down, I persevered but I probably shouldn’t have. I didn’t look forward to picking it up which to me made it seem more of a chore than anything. I don’t think I will bother reading anymore by this author as this seems to be one of his highest rated. The only silver lining will be that the next Stephen King novel I read will feel all the better.
Profile Image for Brendon Lowe.
173 reviews33 followers
June 8, 2023
One I read way back in the day and remember it being considered one of his best. On this re-read it definitely is top tier Koontz.

What he does best I believe is his characters. Koontz makes you genuinely attached to them. You feel their fears, love, concerns and become invested in their plight. Nora and Travis are so likeable and with such good development of their backgrounds and character traits it makes their journey deeply personal.

The basic story is a genetically advanced dog escapes from a Government lab along with a hybrid creature known as the Outsider. The NSA becomes involved to track them down and keep it all hush hush however with the Outsider rampaging and leaving mutilated corpses in its wake as he attempts to track down the dog to kill him. Nora and Travis become involved with the dog and soon realise he is no ordinary mutt and has special abilities.

Nora and Travis are on the run to keep the dog safe however with the Outsider, the NSA and a hitman on there tail it leads to a tension filled novel full of horrible deaths, heartwarming moments of love and memorable side characters. Its Koontz at his best.
Profile Image for Paul.
178 reviews61 followers
June 6, 2020
Started out so good. Nice character development, danger, mystery, horror. And then Koontz trys to write romance. No! No, no no no! Very unpalitable. The characters lost their development (I don't know who they were at the end). And Koontz's love for dogs (all-be-it touching), just doesnt work.
What was a solid 4 star turned into a weak 3 star. So-be-it 3 it is. ;-)
Profile Image for Gareth Is Haunted.
327 reviews49 followers
August 10, 2022
Another book I feel highly disappointed by. Had browsed over others reviews beforehand and felt excited to get stuck into this novel. Sadly I came out the other end with a bunch of bad feelings about this book. Maybe it didn't help that I had previously read a Dean Koontz book featuring a similar mutt within the past 6 months that everything felt overly sentimental throughout and followed a thoroughly trodden theme. There was even one point where I almost quit reading as it was so drawn out and for the most part unnecessary. I will read more Koontz but not one featuring a Golden Retriever.
Profile Image for Liane.
766 reviews2 followers
December 24, 2020
This was a solid book. Better than 3 stars because the characters, including animals, were more complex than a standard novel.

I didn’t find it that suspenseful or scary, which was good for me, because that genre doesn’t generally appeal to me.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,795 reviews965 followers
October 23, 2019
Well damn, a Dean Koontz book made me cry. The last one that made me cry was "Odd Thomas." This book hits me everywhere. Though I could have done without the whole ssnap guy (Vince) the rest of the book just works perfectly. I loved the characters (Travis and Nora) I fell in love with Einstein and also with everyone along the way who wanted to keep Einstein free. This book hits all the feels and I can see now why after the success of this book Koontz had to just have a dog in every book he put out. I still wish he stop that though.

"Watchers" starts off with Travis Cornell out in the mountains when he comes across a golden retriever. The animal will not allow Travis to cross down a path in the woods and feeling something ominous, Travis ends up taking the dog home with him. Over time Travis starts to realize that the dog he nicknames fur face and then calls "Einstein" is quite special.

We then transition over to Nora Devon who is living alone in her dead aunt's home. Nora's aunt was not loving and constantly told Nora how she was not pretty enough, a mouse (not a cat) and how she would be better off staying away from men. Now that she's gone Nora feels adrift, but wants to change her life. Things do change for her when she comes across Travis and Einstein in a park after a terrible encounter with a man who is hell-bent on stalking Nora.

And then Koontz introduces a crazed killer (Vince) who has ties to Einstein in some way we don't know and then a mysterious agency man who is tracking to track down Einstein as well.

Koontz develops all of the characters (except Vince) quite well. We even are able to get shifting points of views about something darker than Vince that appears to be after Einstein as well. Koontz always goes over board in my opinion with his villains and Vince was definitely too much for me.

The writing really works here and a few times can move a reader to tears. The flow actually works as well though I admit I started skipping Vince's sections because they were too grim even for me. Also Vince seems to be a precursor to the killer in Koontz's "Intensity" novel. One of these days I will get around to posting a review for that book too.

“Plain, homely women like you and me will never lead a glamorous life, never go to exotic places. So books have a special value to us. We can experience most everything vicariously, through books. This isn’t bad. Living through books is even better than having friends and knowing . . . men.”

Good lord. I love books but this whole sentiment had me wanting to hug Nora. Her aunt was vile.

"We have a responsibility to stand watch over one another, we are watchers, all of us, watchers, guarding against the darkness."

We do and this sentence actually made me cry.

The setting of the book takes place in the late 1980s. Half the things that Travis and Nora do to avoid detection would probably be impossible now and I pretty much laughed at Travis making a ton of money in real estate. That said, the heart of the story (two people who love a dog) is what keeps this story so timeless. At least in my head.

The ending was delightful and I loved every bit of this terrific book.
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