Twilight Eyes by Dean R. Koontz



Twilight Eyes Twilight EyesDean Koontz; Berkley 2007WorldCatSlim MacKenzie is 17 and estranged from his family. He has left his home in Oregon after killing his uncle. No one else knows that his uncle was really a goblin hiding inside human skin. Slim’s “twilight eyes” are a different, dark color. He has a psychic power that enables him to see goblins hiding inside presumed humans. After running away from Oregon, Slim goes east to join a carnival.

Before he has a chance to be a carnie, he kills a goblin at the carnival the night he arrives. A goblin can appear in its natural, monster shape. But when it dies, it assumes its human body so that normal people never know what is happening. When Slim goes to dispose of this goblin’s body, he discovers it is missing. Someone else has removed it. Who in the carnival would have done that?

Slim is accepted to work at the Sombra Brothers carnival. He goes to work for Rya Raines, who owns numerous concessions in the carnival. Her goal is to one day own the carnival. As they travel, Slim and Rya get close to each other. There is a problem when they reach Yontsdown, Pennsylvania. The community is run by goblins. Slim knows the carnival and Rya are in trouble. He doesn’t know if he can handle all the goblins Yet he doesn’t know if anyone can, or will, help him. He wants to protect humanity from the goblins. It may cost him his relationship with Rya or even his life.

If I had noticed this book when it was first published over 20 years ago, I would have dismissed it without reading it. I’m not a fan of true horror and I would have seen this book only in that light. Fortunately I’ve since grown to appreciate Koontz’s work and know that his books are not all blood and gore. There’s a good story to go with this one and a satisfying romance as well.

The premise itself is intriguing. Slim’s psychic abilities allow him to see goblins as well as hints of the future. He is able to change that future if he acts in time. He is the narrator, so the reader knows he will survive, but not the cost of that survival. Koontz does a good job of reminding the reader that Slim is, after all, only 17. What he needs to do would be difficult for a person with a lot more maturity, let alone one of his years. But his life hasn’t been easy, and he had to grow up.

Koontz pulls a cool twist at end of the first half with Rya’s story and her allegiances. I would have been happy if the book had ended there (as it was briefly). The second half, though, gives a more sinister plan for the goblins and more hope for the humans. It is chilling.

Twilight Eyes never quite becomes real to the reader. It stays fictional even as it tells a good story. A similar story line by Koontz was told much better in Odd Thomas. Even so, if you like Koontz or an interesting tale, you’ll like this book.

Notice:  Graphic violence; Suggestive dialogue or situations

More books by Dean R. Koontz

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