This is not one of Koontz's best books, there are jarring cliches and technical failings throughout but that doesn't matter. Twilight Eyes is a nostalgic book, set in 1964, the year of Kennedy's death, and has a haunting melancholy for a lost time of certainties, a world beginning to fracture with the Bay of Pigs. Carl Stanfeuss is a 17 year old boy on the run, going by the name of Slim MacKenzie because he killed his Uncle Denton with an axe, believing he could see through his Uncle's skin and see inside another evil creature, that he calls goblins. He breaks into the Sombra Brothers Carnival at night looking for work, and encounters another goblin sabotaging the dodgems, he kills this creature but when he comes to dispose of it the creature is gone. He joins the carnival as a caller and falls in love with his boss, and finds he is not alone in seeing the creatures that pass for human. As the Carnival travels to the mountain town of Yontsdown Slim finds himself in a nightmare world where the figures of authority, police, judges, clergy, are goblins and that something terrible is being created.
I love this book because of its place in my own personal history, I read it as a teenager and it soothed the sorrow inside of me. I may not have been aware of goblins as such, but they can be read as a metaphor for the evil within humanity and its potential for horror, balanced against the courage of people who cannot just stand by and let even unkindness be the dominant force in the world, let alone terror and pain and fear. It set me on a hard but worthwhile path, that standing by is not an option, however tempting that may be.