Monday, October 29, 2007

Watchers (and peripherally The Good Guy)- Dean Koontz

Koontz wrote Watchers in 1987, and it's so similar to The Good Guy (2007) that you really need to read only one of these books. If you're a real "dog person" (like me), go for Watchers. I chose it for the RIP2 challenge and added Good Guy to my TBR just because I like Koontz. I had enjoyed The Taking, relishing the theme of good versus evil and Koontz' metaphysical bent. Watchers qualified for RIP because of its supernatural element, taking "supernatural" in its purest sense - being "above and beyond what is natural." It's this element that distinguishes Watchers from Good Guy. Travis Cornell finds a very special dog and at the same time becomes the prey of a genetically altered, highly intelligent killing machine. He meets and falls in love with a young woman - a loner burdened with a tragic past, and they spend most of the novel attempting to elude not only the beast that psychically pursues them, but also a human psychopath - a contract killer who savours his work and whose latest job is to find them and the dog.

Summing up plot similarities between the two books:
  1. Both male protagonists are former military with superior combat skills.
  2. Both men have avoided close relationships.
  3. Both female protagonists have also experienced trauma and have avoided society.
  4. They fall in love and are relentlessly pursued by a sadistic hit man.
  5. The hit men both think they are somehow superhuman. Invincible.
  6. Both books deal with the battle between good and evil.
  7. The fleeing pair is also pursued by law enforcement/government agency.

Now, about the dog. All of Koontz' dogs (that I've encountered) are wonderful. You'll find some in The Taking. They are the embodiment of good, loyal and often brighter than the humans. With Watchers, Koontz has created the most lovable and intelligent of puppies. Everyone should have an Einstein, the result of genetic experiments (I'm not giving anything away - you'll figure this out from the jacket cover). I must admit I kept reading mid-book (which dragged a bit), simply because of the dog. I did become frustrated with Travis and Nora who appeared really slow to realize the full extent of Einstein's brilliance. Their experiments became tedious and I found myself shouting, "For Pete's sake, he's trying to tell you he can spell!!!" - or some such.

The beast is truly terrifying - not just in its bloody focus and canny intelligence, but also because you know a similar being could possible be created in some secret lab. He's a monster that really could exist. And, in the end, you wonder who the real monsters are - the beast or his creators.

Good book - thought-provoking, slows down in middle, but has enough bangs to keep you going

Recommended - 3.5 stars

1 comment:

terry said...

Great review! You motivated me to read this one. I enjoyed it, although I'm left with the impression that there is a certain repetitiveness to his themes and characters.