What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz: Book Review

Feb 12, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Christopher Lewis, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Christopher Lewis

Twenty years ago, Alton Turner Blackwood brutally murdered four families. There was only one survivor, a 14 year-old boy who surprised Blackwood from behind and killed him. Before he died, Blackwood vowed to return one day when the child had a family of his own and kill them all.

Now, 34 year old John Calvino has a family of his own, and Blackwood has returned. Taking possession of unsuspecting people, he is using them to recreate the murders of the families he killed 20 years ago in great detail. Instinctively, John knows that his family will be the fourth family he targets. Can he stop the vengeful spirit before it gets to his own family? How can he even know who the spirit might use? Who can he trust? Can he even trust himself, or will the spirit of Alton Turner Blackwood be able to possess him and use him to kill his own family when the fateful day arrives?

What the Night Knows is probably Dean Koontz’s scariest book yet. Over the past few years, his writing seemed to be losing some of its former originality and genius. With this book, however, Koontz has returned to his former glory with a vengeance…literally. He takes the old concept of the ghost story and gives it his own twist, making the story all the scarier by the way he makes it believable. He also includes many of his signature stylistic moves, such as the inclusion of the ghost of a beloved golden retriever that is based on the memory of his own beloved golden retriever, Trixie.

Dean Koontz has written many #1 New York Times Bestsellers, spanning across several genres in his books. Horror, however, is still the genre that he is most known for, and this book certainly fits in that category. This book could prove to be his masterpiece, arguably outdoing Stephen King in his ability to exploit the reader’s deepest fears and invade his nightmares.

The reviewer strongly recommends this book. Don’t pick it up when you’re planning to do something else soon though because you might not be able to put it down. And don’t expect to get a good night’s sleep when you’re done.

Christopher Lewis is an ongoing contributor to our Helping Hands section, and currently serving as interim pastor at Mountain Valley Community Church in Squaw Valley. More of his insight is available at his blog,
Nothing is Impossible Ministries.


  1. Sounds like a tough, if great, read. Starting with that much tragedy…Of course, Koontz’ genius may lie in keeping the worst of it off page, setting the bar high so readers know how bad it could get, but sparing us the worst of the horror.

    Thanks for the review! I will look for it.

  2. great book no matter what koontz does i always love his books some say he doesn’t write as good as he once did and i think it’s hogwash to be honest the best writer we have these days

  3. I enjoy reading all dean koontz books, he is one of my favorite authors I’ve read nearly all his books and really love the frankinstine series. He has an iincredible imagination, keep up the good work.


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