Today I want to talk to you about Watcher by Dean Koontz, while this is not typically thought of as a horror novel, rather it is listed as suspense, I feel it works well enough as a horror to look at it here.
The book was published in 1987 and is credited as being on of the books that raised Koontz’s status to that of a best-selling author.
Our main character Travis is a former solider and retired real estate salesman, who has become depressed due to his previous life experiences and now feels that his life is pointless. While on a hike, he encounters a golden retriever which follows him, and they take an instant liking to each other. Travis takes the doggo home and calls him Einstein due to the pooch’s high intelligence levels. The dog does not speak but clearly understands English and can respond in such a way that his intelligence in unmistakable.
We also meet Nora, who is being stalked by a creepy asshole, Arthur. Eventually Travis and Nora meet when Travis rescues Nora from Arthur, with Einstein’s help. Travis, Einstein, and Nora become a family and Travis and Nora keep working to find better ways to communicate with Einstein.
However, through the story it is apparent that Einstein is afraid of something. That something is the outsider. Einstein and the Outsider are both genetically modified creatures, hence Einstein’s intelligence. However, where Einstein only had his intelligence modified the Outsider is an amalgamation of various animals with the soul drive to kill Einstein.
Federal agents are also in pursuit of Einstein, and finally they are also pursued by an assassin who was hired to kill those who know how to kill the Outsider but also wants Einstein to sell.
I don’t want to spoil the ending here, it’s best experienced first-hand. There’s a reason this book is credited with being on of the ones that made Koontz a best seller.
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