Dean R Koontz: A Horror Writer Par Excellence

Dean Koontz with his dog TrixieWatchers, released in 1988, was the first Dean Koontz work I read. And that novel compelled me and kept me reading till about three fourth on the first day itself. I finished the novel within 2 days. Such compelling, engaging, and realistically involving was that novel. Afterward, I read several other works of Koontz and became his fan, but never did I come across a novel more fantastic than Watchers. It remains my ultimate Dean Koontz favorite.

Koontz, one of the top selling fiction writers in the US, has sold over 300 million of his books. And with nearly a hundred written works, he is one of the most prolific writers of all time.

Koontz was born in Pennsylvania in 1945. After graduating from Shippensburg University, he associated with a poverty eradication program as a counselor. Koontz, who grew up in extreme poverty, suffering the violence of his alcoholic father, aptly turned to the profession of a horror writer. To support his family, he started writing Science Fiction novels as early as he was 25. He wrote under several pseudonyms, some of which are: Aaron Wolfe, Owen West, Deanna Dwyer, David Axton, K.R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Richard Paige, Leonard Chris, Brian Coffey, John Hill.

By 1967, he started working as an English teacher at Merchanicsburg High School, and in his spare time, completed his first novel, Star Quest. That was published in 1968. A dozen SF works followed since then. By 1970, he started publishing his horror works. By the publication of Whispers in 1980, his fame skyrocketed and he started appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for several (tidbit: read why I used several here instead of many?) subsequent novels.

An interesting happening described in his biography happened during his work as English teacher in the suburban high school. His wife Gerda told him after almost a year in that job, “I will support you for five years, and if you can’t make it as a writer, then you will never make it.” And at the end of those five years, Gerda had to resign from her job to manage her husband’s writing business.

Dean with Gerda KoontzGerda and Dean Koontz

Koontz’s novels often feature dogs with unusual intelligence. He is highly font of dogs and Trixie Koontz, his golden retriever, even appeared on the cover of some of his novels. Trixie Koontz was also one of his pennames. Koontz wrote two novels in that penname, and both were canine narratives. Following Trixie’s developing terminal cancer, with tumor in heart, Dean and Gerda Koontz decided to euthanize her in 2007.

Dean and Trixie KoontzDean with Trixie

Koontz’s novels often feature poor, suffering individuals; dogs with special brilliance; and a mother fighting against poverty to bring her children up. All his plots are engaging, realistic (though with extreme horror elements), and suspenseful. The novels keep you reading until the end. Though they may lack such deep characterization and masterful plotting as Stephen King, his works are more suspenseful and page-turning.

Koontz is one of the best page-turning authors I ever came across. He is comparable to Sidney Sheldon in that respect.

In 2003, Koontz started his most popular series novels based on Odd Thomas, a 20-year-old cook, with the novel of the same name. Odd is capable of extrasensory cognizance, rising from his disturbed psyche. The sixth sense of Odd puts him to many peculiar predicaments. The novel went well with the readers, and became a New York Times bestseller. Soon enough, Koontz realized the possibility of creating sequels for this character. And three sequels followed. Now, we are eagerly in wait for In Odd We Trust, prequel to the series, to be released on June 24th. In this novel, Dean Koontz will tell us what we didn’t know already of the enticing world of Odd Thomas.

Dean, 62, keeps writing even at this age, with the agility of a young terrier. All his works are in great demand among readers. And he will continue to tell us great stories for many years to come.

Please Use These Links to Purchase Dean Koontz Works

Odd Hours
In Odd We Trust (Awaiting to hit bookstores on June 24)
The Good Guy
Brother Odd
The Darkest Evening of the Year
Your Heart Belongs to Me
Odd Thomas
The Husband
Forever Odd
Hideaway
Watchers
Phantoms
The Bad Place
Mr. Murder
Strange Highways
Cold Fire
False Memory
Whispers

The list is very vast and adding all of them is a difficult task altogether; however, if you want link to any particular novel, please let me know by comments.

History Today

Arnold Bennett, British novelist was born in 1867.
Dashiell Hammett, American author was born in 1894.

Image Credit: DeanKoontz.com (Dean Koontz's Official Website); wesleyjsmith.com; xmission.com

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

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