I started reading Dean Koontz novels like Twilight Eyes and Watchers because of my grandmother. She lived next door to us and was never without a book in her hand. Her shelves burst with pulp, horror fiction, and books about famous serial killers. I wasn’t interested in much besides the horror novels. She had everything that Koontz had written at the time, including this one.
It really frightened me at the time. I was probably ten or eleven years old, and this book combined a lot of the things that scared me. I thought it was a great story, and I’m writing this review today wondering if I should go read it again to see how my adult brain treats something that scared me as a kid.
Plot summary of Twilight Eyes
A man named Slim–at least, that’s what he calls himself–gets into a bit of trouble when he kills a person. Except that it wasn’t a person. It was a “goblin.” When you hear that word, you might picture the goblins from The Hobbit, or from a horror movie. But these are a little different. The goblins in Koontz’ book can hide inside of people. They can mimic their actions and nobody can tell that they are actually hiding inside the bodies of humans.
Except Slim, that is. And after he kills the goblin, nobody knows that it wasn’t actually a human, so he joins a carnival to avoid an unpleasant murder investigation that would put a damper on all his grand plans.
As he travels with the carnival, Slim learns–in ways that I won’t spoil–that there are other people who can see the goblins. But wait! It also turns out that the nasty little beasts have a plan for humanity, and it is not something that the humans would be interested in, should it ever come to pass.
I was absolutely terrified by this book. The thought that a monster could mimic a human unnerved me, and the descriptions of how nasty the little beasties look really rattled me. And now, as I write this, I’m kind of laughing because it doesn’t sound scary to me at all.
And with that, I think I’ve convinced myself to pick Twilight Eyes up again to see how it stands up now with 20ish years between readings.
But if you’re a fan of Koontz, as I still am for the most part, I think you might like it.