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What the Night Knows

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  11,814 ratings  ·  1,328 reviews
In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families...more
Hardcover, 442 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by Bantam (first published 2010)
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Maciek
While not as horrible as some of Koontz's latest offerings, What The Night Knows is still pretty bad when compared to his other output, and rather terrible when compared to the output of others.

It actually starts really promising, with an interesting premise and a good opening chapters. I've read them earlier, when they were availible to preview before publication. It turns out after these first four chapters the novel goes downhill and crashes at the end.

There is nothing here that wasn't done b...more
Deb Mj
I used to love Dean Koontz. Watchers still ranks as my all-time favorite book, and I thought Strangers, along with some of his other earlier works, was fantastic. However, it's been years since I could summon any enthusiasm for his writing. I'm not willing to totally write him off, so I keep reading the new books in the hope that one of them will rekindle the flame. Unfortunately, this offering wasn't able to do that.

There are some good parts to this. About midway through, I became quite enthus...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
A Horrible Disappointment :-( Maybe you'll like it, but I didn't. Koontz has told similar tales in different books, but I don't think he's ever told the same story over and over in the same book - in this case in the form of a serial killer who just won't die. Bantam marketing team promotes What The Night Knows as: "...a ghost story like no other you have read" and claims "Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing stor...more
Amy Boukair
Dean, Dean, Dean... what am I going to do with you??? I have (had) been a fan since the beginning, and am sorely disappointed in this one. I had even sworn you off years ago, but still find myself coming back hoping that maybe, just maybe, this next one will redeem you. Sadly, and again, this is not the case. Sure, you worked in all of your trademark items: 1) Golden Retriever (I have one of those), 2) child with a disability (I have one of those too), 3) Average Joe fighting the big baddie, etc...more
Mel
Mar 26, 2011 Mel rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike (the Paladin)
Well, I say here as I have about a couple of other Koontz books of late, I don't know if it's the book or me. Maybe I've just read too many books or too many Koontz books... Whatever the reason, the last several books by Mr. Koontz have left me cold.

I list several of Mr. Koontz' books among my favorites, One Door Away from Heaven,By the Light of the Moon, The Taking, these and many others I like greatly. But the last several, not at all.

Here we went again. I was interested. the book opened with...more
Sue
I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of this from Good Reads--Thank you! Dean Koontz is one of my favorite writers, and I couldn't wait to read his latest.

After finishing, I find it's hard to review. The idea was good, it had a really creepy scary idea and an awesome bad guy. But it could have been so much better. You get to know some characters really well, and others are glossed over. Sadly, some of the others are not unimportant characters, so a little more info on them would have been t...more
Laura Jennings
It's been a long time since I outright DIDN'T hate a Koontz novel; the guy used to be one of my favorite authors and fell from my good graces a while ago. After the reprehensibly bad Breathless and Darkest Evening of the Year, and not-quite-as-terrible-but-still-bad Your Heart Belongs To Me and Relentless, What The Night Knows is not god-awful, but still a pretty weak novel. SPOILERS HEREIN.
I can air my minor grievances first. It's obvious that Mr. Koontz does not have kids, or understand how ki...more
Hev
Ugh, what shall I say? I don't necessarily think this is a BAD book, it's just often quite irritating.

While I was still reading it (I think I was about half way through)I browsed a few reviews and was quite surprised by the number of one- or two-star ratings it had received. It started well - a good premise, some atmospheric writing and a lot of potential seemed to reside within.

Sure there were some parts which were not very believable or did not sit quite right - a policeman with a perfect hous...more
Andrew
For the past 6 years, my wife has bought me the newest Dean Koontz book for both my birthday in the middle of the year and Christmas. I've enjoyed reading his books and appreciated him releasing them on my holiday schedule. Unfortunately, over the past several years his books have gone downhill. He might have hit an all-time low with Relentless. It felt like Koontz was often mailing it in. Finally, I asked my wife to stop giving me the books. I would still read them, but didn't think they were w...more
Angie Crew
What in HADES has happened to my favorite author?????? I just can't keep track of all the disappointments I have had from Koontz in the last few years. I am a die hard fan and have been reading and collecting Dean for almost 30 years!!! Where did the master go??? Everytime I see a new title come out with his name, I gasp. I can't wait to get my hands on it and I pray each time that I will be sucked into a great story like Lightening, The Husband, Dark Rivers of the Heart, Servents of Twilght, St...more
Amanda
A gift card for Christmas brought this book into my home. I had recently sworn not to buy Koontz books until they got a little better, but my excitement over this won out.

And yay, this one is so much better. Koontz managed to completely creep me out, make me question strange noises in my home and do double takes at shadows. The climax of the book occurred at work on my lunch hour and he made me come so close to taking an extended lunch just to finish. Kudos, Mr. Koontz!

John Calvino is a homicide...more
Barbara ★
I love Dean Koontz but some of his books are fantastic while others are just ridiculous. Unfortunately this one falls closer to the ridiculous than the fantastic. John Calvino is a detective who goes off on a tangent (well he actually starts working a case that is not his and gets put on unpaid leave so he can work on it undisturbed???). His family is completely unrealistic. His beautiful perfect wife doesn't even bat an eyelash when John tells her he's lied to her for almost 2 months...it was f...more
Joemmama
I am a sucker for Dean Koontz. His books feature dogs (ghostly or living), the good guys usually win, and he takes me for a thrilling ride along the way.

"What the Night Knows" is no exception. Years ago a murderous killer, evil incarnate, Alton Turner Blackwood, brutally killed four families, leaving one survivor. That boy grows up to be a cop, with a loving family of his own. When copy cat murders start happening again, John Calvino, the survivor, see a pattern and realizes his own family is in...more
Vince Locke
This book was painful, and not in that moving, tear-jerking kind of way. It was painful because I have been a fan of Koontz since I was a teenager and now watching him churn out the crap he's been writing for the past few years is like watching a beloved elderly relative slowly become senile and forget his or her children. Yeah, it's painful like that.

I've been willing to overlook the formulaic plots Koontz produces because they've been entertaining, familiar and comfortable; it's been that whol...more
Teresa
Ok. I know that if I pick up a Dean Koontz book to read I'm going to be reading to a formula. I guess when you write as many books as he does it's almost impossible not to do so. In this story we have the beautiful and talented wife who has rescued her husband from his traumatic past and taught him to love and trust again. The handsome husband who experienced terrible events in his childhood but has come through it and is now the knight in shining armour for those whose lives are touched by dark...more
wally
intense. ten stars.

incredible story!

john calvino, a 30-something detective, is living the dream, a wife, three kids (two girls and a boy, lucky man), but he is also tormented by his past. he killed a man in self-defense, and he is racked by the guilt he feels from being the lone survivor--the rest of his family was brutally murdered by a madman.

dwelling on the past, worrying that past, there comes a point in the story where he asks himself, "had he, by his obsession, invited the spirit to hound...more
Sandi
I was getting my hair colored yesterday and the lady in the next chair at the salon saw that I was reading What the Night Knows and got really excited. Dean Koontz is her favorite writer of all time. I think it nearly broke her heart to learn that the book wasn't going to be released until December 28. I was fortunate enough to win this mesmerizing novel through FirstReads.

As a reader, I've recently started straying outside my usual favorite SF&F genre. I've explored some mystery/thrillers,...more
Gregory Diller
What the Night Knows was my ever first read from Koontz. I really liked it. Granted, there are some flaws (like some cardboard characters and children speaking more adult like than actual children) but every book isn't hundred percent perfect. I can tell you things I dislike from Stephen King's The Shining, but that's a whole different book and author.

I was hooked into WTNK from the very first chapter, and I couldn't put the book down. I later than read Koontz's others works, mostly them are his
...more
Ellyn
I really enjoyed Dean Koontz's early work and read through all of them in a pretty short time frame, but I've struggled with him lately. I haven't liked the plots and language of recent books and I had hoped that this one would change my mind because I read mostly good professional reviews. While I was able to get through it quickly, I found it to be relentlessly dark and depressing. And while I was able to suspend disbelief about the supernatural elements, indeed they were the stuff of nightmar...more
Timothy Owen
I'm really shocked at how many bad reviews this book received - I LOVED it. I felt he has regained a bit of the spark that he had 10 years ago before I, too began to feel like he was mailing it in.

I found his descriptions gripping, and his turns of phrase imaginative and clever. As a writer myself, I used to look up to him as a mentor, but lost faith in the 90s - but he still has it!

Some people hate predictability, but with Koontz I like the fact that he seems to be an eternal optimist and the g...more
Tina Hayes
Dean Koontz's latest novel, "What the Night Knows" shows the skills we've come to expect from him: it scares the crap out us!

Years ago John Calvino's parents and sisters were brutalized and ritualistically murdered by Alton Turner Blackwood, a deformed psycho with no respect for human life. Though a child himself at the time, John shot and killed Blackwood, but the killer uttered a curse before he died that would come to fruition after the boy grew up and had a family of his own.

Very dark, but...more
Carole
This was an ok read--but I really like some of his earlier work much better. The story was pretty much about a serial killer's spirit that comes back from Hell with the ability to possess humans and bend them to his will. His mission is to finish where he left off when he died. Of course the good guy wins in the end!
Kelly
Dean never disappoints. So far so good on this one. I'm enamored with the characters and completely creeped out the antagonist. Dean does an especially good job with nailing the attitude and characterization of his teenage and pre-teen characters. I'm really enjoying this book.
Chris Ramsey
I figured I would breeze through some of the other reviews before I stated my opinion and to see if I had kindred spirits writing reviews. For the most part I liked it. I liked the darkness of it, the malevolent tone that seemed to permeate the story, however I found myself looking for predictable Koontzisms, ie., use of the word "darkled", a "special" dog, however I expected the dog to be alive ;-), and precocious children, the youngest always being the most seemingly aware of what's going on....more
Christine
Alton Turner Blackwood murdered four families in horrific ways almost twenty years ago. Twenty years later a young man is incarcerated after murdering his own family in a similar manner. The pattern of the crimes is familiar to Detective John Calvino because on that long ago night his was the fourth family murdered and he was the one who killed Alton Turner Blackwood to put an end to the murder spree.

Through a journal shared throughout the book the reader is privy to the workings of a dysfunctio...more
Martip
John Calvino--homicide detective sneaking around on a fresh case that isn't his. Entering a full security prison to talk to Billy, a 14-15 year old kid who just murdered his family and called the cops-meeting them naked on his front porch. Using phrases exactly like the long dead deformed spoon fingered freak Alton Turner Blackwood used years ago--when HE savagely and brutally killed every single one of John's family members, including his two young, beautiful preteen/teen sisters. Personal note...more
Birgit
Frankly, I had almost given up hope that Dean Koontz would ever produce a decent novel again. So obviously I was pleasantly surprised to see he is back on track now.
The main ingredients are a family confronted with a killer of a different (or shall I say, changing) kind who sneaks into their lives through mirrors and familiar (yet changed) faces. The inevitable Golden Retriever will make an appearance too, of course.
Admittedly not one of his best, Koontz sure wrote a good and solid suspense no...more
Joan Swan
By any stretch of the definition, Dean Koontz is a master author. Not simply because he’s been writing for decades. Not simply because he’s produced over 80 literary works or sold over 375 million copies of those books. Certainly not because he’s accumulated such wealth from those sales.

Just the opposite.

His mastery of the writing craft has allowed him to write successfully for decades, produce over 80 books, sell over 375 million copies of those works, and ultimately accumulate his wealth.

One...more
Books-treasureortrash
Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes

What the Night Knows is more than a ghost story. It is the haunting tale of a psychotic killer (Alton Turner Blackwood) who has returned twenty years after his death. He has returned to torment homicide detective John Calvino who shot and killed Blackwood when John was only fourteen years old and found him standing over the dead bodies of the Calvino family. Now, John is terrified for his wife and kids, knowing there is no way to stop the dead man.

Dean Koontz has wri...more
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Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the na...more
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“All these girls swooning over hunky vampires, what they really want is to give away their freedom, to be controlled and told what to do and not have to think -- and never die, of course. It's sick is what it is. I don't want to be a forever-young living corpse.” 20 likes
“Time doesn’t, as advertised, heal all wounds. Although the wrenching immediacy of grief eventually passed, the settled sorrow that replaced it might in its own way be even more intense.” 13 likes
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