||The neutrality of the style of writing in this article is questioned. (November 2009)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3561.O55 W38 1987|
The story begins in Orange, California. Travis Cornell, a former Delta Force operative, feels that his life has grown pointless, and is exploring a canyon near his home when he encounters two genetically engineered creatures that have escaped from a top-secret government lab. One, a golden retriever with extraordinarily enhanced intelligence, befriends Travis; the other, a terrifying creature known as the Outsider, appears to be trying to kill the dog. After eluding the Outsider, Travis takes the dog home. Once discovering the dog's exceptional intelligence, he names him Einstein.
Later, he and Einstein find and rescue Nora Devon in a park, who was being pestered by a sexually offensive man named Arthur Streck. Together they form a trio, with Einstein as their great, priceless treasure.
Travis, Nora, and Einstein soon find themselves on the run not only from the Outsider, but from federal agents, determined to track down the lab escapees, and Vince Nasco, a ruthless professional assassin, hired by Soviets to kill several human targets to cover up the conspiracy of the two genetically engineered creatures. He wants the dog to trade for a great sum of cash, alone, without any knowledge from the Soviets or anybody.
- Travis Cornell
- A 36 year old retired soldier who spent much of his enlisted career as a Delta Force operative. After leaving the military he became a successful real estate broker, but retired from that as well. He thinks he is finally 'set'. But, as a result of his many disappointments throughout his life, and the many people that he has lost due to death, he has become depressed and cynical. When he meets Nora Devon and Einstein, all of this changes, and he becomes someone who enjoys life once again.
- Nora Devon
- Nora is a 30 year-old recluse who has lived with her Aunt Violet since she was two. Ridiculed and tormented by her aunt throughout her life, Nora has lost any sense of self-worth and is barely able to step outside the walls of her own house. Nora, nevertheless, longs to reach out and become a part of the world, and learns to do so through her relationships with Travis and Einstein.
- A genetically altered golden retriever, created in a top-secret government lab, that has acquired a level of intelligence rivaling that of some human beings. Forms a close relationship with Travis and Nora.
- The Outsider
- Another genetically engineered life-form created in the same lab as Einstein. The Outsider, whose appearance is monstrous and terrifying, was treated with scorn and contempt, resulting in a deep hatred of human beings, and especially of Einstein. His base form is a baboon but with his most dangerous features enhanced e.g. claws and jaws.
- Vince Nasco
- A freelance assassin who believes that he absorbs the souls of those he kills, and that if he absorbs enough souls, he will eventually become invincible. Nasco is hired by an unknown client to assassinate every scientist that has worked in the lab where Einstein and The Outsider were created. Nasco discovers the secret of Einstein and forms a plan to capture the golden retriever and ransom it off for financial gain.
- Arthur Streck
- Nora's stalker
A series of low-budget horror films was loosely based on the book.
In the film adaptation Travis is a sixteen-year-old boy, and Nora is his mother. The Outsider is renamed OXCOM, and Vince Nasco is replaced by NSO agents searching for the monster. Travis also has a girlfriend named Tracey.
- Koontz, Dean. Midnight, afterword. G.P. Putnam's Sons hardcover edition, May 1989, Berkley Publishing Group mass-market paper edition, November 1989, p. 474-475.
- Koontz, Dean. Watchers, G.P. Putnam's Sons edition, April 1987. Berkley Publishing Group edition, May 1988. p. 3, 5, 6, 69, 70, 95-91.
- Koontz, Dean. Watchers, G.P. Putnam's Sons edition, April 1987. Berkley Publishing Group edition, May 1988. p. 17.
- Koontz, Dean. Watchers, G.P. Putnam's Sons edition, April 1987. Berkley Publishing Group edition, May 1988. p. 34.
- Koontz, Dean. Watchers, G.P. Putnam's Sons edition, April 1987. Berkley Publishing Group edition, May 1988. p. 123.