I have a Dean Koontz challenge to do this year in honor of my friend John Gugie. Also I have had a large amount of his stuff for awhile that has been weighing the TBR pile down. Watchers was a great choice to start with as I've always wanted to read it, the story sounds interesting, and it came so highly rated.
I struggled between three and four stars, ultimately deciding on three as I think a bit more could have been diced into the plot to make it more exciting. I actually just wanted to like it more, I really did. There were problems holding my enjoyment back and some annoyances that kept getting in the way, even if the story really was fascinating.
Plot-wise it's unique and I dug the simplicities of it. The dog was awesome and he and the Outsider, by far, the best characters of the book. I like everyone, but as I've always thought, Koontz is more of a plot guy rather than a character one. His strength is in the story - he weaves nifty scenarios with plenty of suspense packed in.
This is awesome for a writer, but sometimes his characterization skills muddle up the book too much and bring the rest down. His romantic relationship in this book was too realistic and contrived to me.
The heroine had a back story which was psychologically twisted and kept me reading, intrigued. When the hero and she got together though, they became more one-dimensional, too good to be true, and the dialogue started sucking. When he write romantic interaction, the things they say to each other and the way they say it really brought this book down and I kept getting irked by it! He always writes villains exceptionally well, though, and the hit-man was interestingly complex.
It was never boring as something was always going on, but for the most part little was seen of the big bads and most of it was on the relationship trio dynamic between Travis, Nora, and Einstein (the dog). How sweet and funny that dog was. I read a joke the other day that since this book Koontz seems to enjoy injecting a dog into almost all the romantic relationships in further books, and it does work well here. The ending was the shining area of the story, especially the last scene with the Outsider. Would have enjoyed more scenes with him and the psychological imbalances. I also dig that it jumped around less than some of his other stuff when it comes to characters and their viewpoints; the jumping around settled down more toward the second half, which helps.
Overall recommended, Koontz fans should love it. For suspense fans looking for a thrill, may be better to have this one on the back-burner for when in the mood for a more drama-laden story, on which this is heavy with.
“You've taught me that we're all needed, even those who sometimes think we're worthless, plain and dull. If we love and allow ourselves to be loved...well, a person who loves is the most precious thing in the world, worth all the fortunes that ever were. That's what you've taught me, fur face,and because of you I'll never be the same.”
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