Koontz, Dean 1945- (David Axton, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Dean Koontz, Dean Ray Koontz, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West)
Koontz, Dean 1945- (David Axton, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Dean Koontz, Dean Ray Koontz, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West)
Born July 9, 1945, in Everett, PA; son of Ray and Florence Koontz; married Gerda Ann Cerra, October 15, 1966.
Appalachian Poverty Program, Saxton, PA, teacher, 1966-67; Mechanicsburg, PA, high school English teacher, 1967-69; writer, 1969—.
Atlantic Monthly college creative writing award, 1966, for story "The Kittens"; Hugo Award nomination, World Science Fiction Convention, 1971, for novella Beastchild; Litt.D., Shippensburg State College, 1989; Bram Stoker Award nomination, Horror Writers Association, 2004, for Robot Santa: The Further Adventures of Santa's Twin.
Star Quest, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1968.
The Fall of the Dream Machine, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969.
Fear That Man, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969.
Anti-Man, Paperback Library (New York, NY), 1970.
Beastchild, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1970.
Dark of the Woods, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1970.
The Dark Symphony, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1970.
Hell's Gate, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1970.
The Crimson Witch, Curtis Books (New York, NY), 1971.
A Darkness in My Soul, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1972.
The Flesh in the Furnace, Bantam (New York, NY), 1972.
Starblood, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1972.
Time Thieves, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1972.
Warlock, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1972.
A Werewolf among Us, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1973.
Hanging On, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1973.
The Haunted Earth, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1973.
Demon Seed, Bantam (New York, NY), 1973.
(Under pseudonym Anthony North) Strike Deep, Dial (New York, NY), 1974.
After the Last Race, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.
Nightmare Journey, Putnam (New York, NY), 1975.
(Under pseudonym John Hill) The Long Sleep, Popular Library (New York, NY), 1975.
Night Chills, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1976.
(Under pseudonym David Axton) Prison of Ice, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1976, revised edition under name Dean R. Koontz published as Icebound, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1995.
The Vision (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1977.
Whispers (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1980.
Phantoms (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.
Darkfall (also see below), Berkley (New York, NY), 1984, published as Darkness Comes, W.H. Allen (London, England), 1984.
Twilight Eyes, Land of Enchantment (Westland, MI), 1985.
(Under pseudonym Richard Paige) The Door to December, New American Library (New York, NY), 1985.
Strangers (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1986.
Watchers (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1987, reprinted, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Lightning (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1988, reprinted, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Midnight, Putnam (New York, NY), 1989, reprinted, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Bad Place, Putnam (New York, NY), 1990.
Cold Fire (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1991.
Three Complete Novels: Dean R. Koontz: The Servants of Twilight; Darkfall; Phantoms, Wings Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Hideaway, Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.
Dragon Tears, Berkley (New York, NY), 1992, also published in a limited edition, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.
Dean R. Koontz: A New Collection (contains Watchers, Whispers, and Shattered; originally published under pseudonym K.R. Dwyer; also see below), Wings Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Mr. Murder, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.
Winter Moon, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1993.
Three Complete Novels: Lightning; The Face of Fear; The Vision (The Face of Fear was originally published under pseudonym Brian Coffey), Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.
Three Complete Novels: Dean Koontz: Strangers; The Voice of the Night; The Mask (The Voice of the Night was originally published under pseudonym Brian Coffey; The Mask was originally published under pseudonym Owen West), Putnam (New York, NY), 1994.
Dark Rivers of the Heart, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.
Strange Highways, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Intensity, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
TickTock, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1996.
Three Complete Novels (contains The House of Thunder, Shadowfires, and Midnight), Putnam (New York, NY), 1996.
Sole Survivor, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1997.
Fear Nothing, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
Seize the Night (sequel to Fear Nothing), Bantam Doubleday Dell (New York, NY), 1999.
False Memory, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
From the Corner of His Eye, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
One Door away from Heaven, Bantam (New York, NY), 2002.
By the Light of the Moon, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.
The Face, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.
Life Expectancy, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.
The Taking, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Kevin J. Anderson) Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Velocity, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Husband, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Good Guy, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2007.
The Darkest Evening of the Year, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Odd Hours, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2008.
"ODD THOMAS" SERIES
Odd Thomas, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.
Forever Odd, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Brother Odd, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2006.
UNDER PSEUDONYM BRIAN COFFEY
Blood Risk, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1973.
Surrounded, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1974.
The Wall of Masks, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1975.
The Face of Fear, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1977.
The Voice of the Night, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.
Also author of script for CHiPS television series, 1978.
UNDER PSEUDONYM DEANNA DWYER
The Demon Child, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1971.
Legacy of Terror, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1971.
Children of the Storm, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1972.
The Dark of Summer, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1972.
Dance with the Devil, Lancer Books (New York, NY), 1973.
UNDER PSEUDONYM K.R. DWYER
Chase, Random House (New York, NY), 1972.
Shattered, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.
Dragonfly, Random House (New York, NY), 1975.
UNDER PSEUDONYM LEIGH NICHOLS
The Key to Midnight, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1979.
The Eyes of Darkness, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.
The House of Thunder, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1982.
Twilight, Pocket Books, 1984, revised edition under name Dean R. Koontz published as The Servants of Twilight, Berkley (New York, NY), 1990.
Shadowfires, Avon (New York, NY), 1987.
UNDER PSEUDONYM OWEN WEST
(With wife, Gerda Koontz) The Pig Society (nonfiction), Aware Press (Granada Hills, CA), 1970.
(With wife, Gerda Koontz) The Underground Lifestyles Handbook, Aware Press (Granada Hills, CA), 1970.
Soft Come the Dragons (stories), Ace Books (New York, NY), 1970.
Writing Popular Fiction, Writer's Digest (Cincinnati, OH), 1973.
The Funhouse (novelization of screenplay), Jove (New York, NY), 1980.
The Mask, Jove (New York, NY), 1981.
How to Write Best-selling Fiction, Writer's Digest (Cincinnati, OH), 1981.
Santa's Twin (juvenile), illustrated by Phil Parks, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1996.
(Author of text) David Robinson, Beautiful Death: Art of the Cemetery (nonfiction), Penguin Studio (New York, NY), 1996.
The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse (poems; juvenile), illustrated by Phil Parks, Harper-Collins (New York, NY), 2001.
The Book of Counted Sorrows (poems; e-book), Barnes & Noble, 2001.
Every Day's a Holiday: Amusing Rhymes for Happy Times (juvenile), illustrated by Phil Parks, 2003.
Robot Santa: The Further Adventures of Santa's Twin (juvenile), illustrated by Phil Parks, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
(Editor) Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living, Yorkville Press (New York, NY), 2004.
(Editor) Christmas Is Good: Trixie Treats and Holiday Wisdom, Yorkville Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Work represented in anthologies, including Infinity 3, edited by Robert Haskins, Lancer Books, 1972; Again, Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison, Doubleday, 1972; Final Stage, edited by Edward L. Ferman and Barry N. Malzberg, Charterhouse, 1974; Night Visions IV, Dark Harvest, 1987; Stalkers: All New Tales of Terror and Suspense, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, illustrated by Paul Sonju, Dark Harvest, 1989; and Night Visions VI: The Bone Yard, Berkley, 1991.
Books adapted for film include Demon Seed, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Warner Bros., 1977; Shattered, Warner Bros., 1977; Watchers, Universal, 1988; Hideaway, Tri-Star, 1994; and Mr. Murder, Patchett Kaufman Entertainment and Elephant Walk Entertainment, 1999. Many of Koontz's works were recorded unabridged on audiocassette, including Cold Fire, Hideaway, and The Bad Place, Reader's Chair (Hollister, CA), 1991; Mr. Murder and Dragon Tears, Simon and Schuster Audio; Dark Rivers of the Heart, Icebound, and Intensity, Random House Audio; and Strange Highways and Chase, Warner Audio.
Dean R. Koontz is one of popular fiction's most successful novelists. Originally a science fiction writer, Koontz branched out from the genre in 1972, focusing mainly on suspense fiction. His novels, many of which have been bestsellers, are known for tightly constructed plots and rich characters—often combining elements of horror, science fiction, suspense, and romance.
Koontz first achieved success as a writer while still in college, winning an Atlantic Monthly writing contest for his short story "The Kittens." He later worked as a teacher, continuing to write at night and on weekends. After he sold a number of works, including his debut novel Star Quest, Koontz's wife, Gerda, offered to support them for five years so that Koontz could dedicate all of his time to his writing. The plan paid off, and eventually Gerta was able to quit her job and help her husband manage the business end of his blossoming career.
While a prolific writer from the beginning, in terms of sales and mainstream popular success Koontz's breakthrough was his novel Whispers. According to Michael A. Morrison in Sudden Fear: The Horror and Dark Suspense Fiction of Dean R. Koontz, Whispers seems at first to be "a simple genre novel of the psychopathic-madman-assaults-woman variety." The novel revolves around Bruno Frye and his obsession with Hilary Thomas, a Hollywood screenwriter. Morrison argues, however, that the parallels between the two characters become evident: "Both are victims of parental abuse, and both carry deep-seated neuroses as a consequence. Indeed, all the main figures of Koontz's novel reflect the constricting influence of childhood on adult life—the sins of the fathers and mothers." Elizabeth Massie, also a contributor to Sudden Fear, pointed out that Hilary emerges as a much stronger character than she initially appears after surviving the second attack and apparently killing Frye. For Massie, this "allow[s] the story to take off flying. It allows the tale to spend the majority of its energy with … Frye, which it is well advised to do. Having seen Hilary in action against Frye, the reader can know that, regardless of peril, Hilary will put up the good fight." Morrison concluded that Frye ranks "as one of the most original psychological aberrations in horror fiction."
Critical reaction to Whispers was mixed. A Publishers Weekly reviewer argued that readers will need "strong stomachs to tolerate the overheated scenes of rape and mayhem." Library Journal contributor Rex E. Klett viewed Koontz edging "dangerously close to a ruinous occultism" with Whispers, but also found the novel a smooth read. Denis Pitts, reviewing the novel in Punch, called Whispers a "superior crime read." Pitts advised: "Whispers is not a book to be read by women of a nervous disposition living alone in a country house. Or men, come to think of it."
Strangers is the story of a group of people connected only by a weekend each spent at a motel in Nevada two years prior—a weekend none of them remember. The characters begin to experience nightmares, unusual, intense fears, and even supernormal powers, driving each toward uncovering the mystery and conspiracy that joins them all. Deborah Kirk, writing in the New York Times Book Review, found some of the characters unconvincing but concluded that Strangers is "an engaging, often chilling, book," while Library Journal contributor Eric W. Johnson dubbed the novel an "almost unbearably suspenseful page-turner." A Booklist reviewer deemed Koontz a "true master," and found Strangers "a rich brew of gothic horror and science fiction, filled with delectable turns of the imagination."
Dark Rivers of the Heart is a suspense thriller and political parable revolving around Spencer Grant, an ex-policeman who "confronts a maniacally fascistic secret government agency, an underground web of computer espionage and his own hideous past," summarized Curt Suplee in the Washington Post Book World. As Edward Bryant noted in Locus, Spencer has ample paramilitary and cyberspace navigational skills himself, which "is lucky, since the bad guys are so bad and so well-equipped with high-tech surveillance gadgets and weaponry." Spencer becomes involved with Valerie Keene, a waitress and computer hacker, and finds that federal agents are soon pursuing them both. Suplee commented that this familiar ground, in which "boy can't get girl until the nefarious father/superego figures are adequately purged," is offset by Koontz's narrative, which is replete with "so much novelty and so many odd asides, new characters and screwball sub themes that there's a fresh surprise on virtually every page." Suplee argued that readers may be put off by Koontz's implausible character motivations and "uneconomical" prose style, but concluded that, with regard to "narrative pace and incessant invention, Koontz delivers." Bryant viewed Dark Rivers of the Heart as reflecting Koontz's trust in his readers, finding that the narrative "flows better than many of Koontz's other recent novels because the characters spend less time explaining important issues to each other at length," and in conclusion called the novel "enormously entertaining."
The prolific Koontz published two works in 1995, Strange Highways and Intensity, the former a collection of short stories, novellas, and two novel-length pieces. A Publishers Weekly reviewer argued that a few of the stories in Strange Highways are "slight, but none is a failure," and concluded that Koontz's collection is "well crafted and imaginative." Brad Hooper commented in Booklist that Koontz's "legion of fans won't be let down." Koontz's best-selling novel Intensity is the story of Chyna Shepherd, a psychology student who must combat Edgler Vess, a killer obsessed with intensity of sensation, be it pleasure or pain. Colin Harrison, in a New York Times Book Review piece on Intensity, lamented that, despite Koontz's "gift for gruesome storytelling," his villain, Vess, is a pop-culture cliché. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, found Intensity "masterful, if ultimately predictable," and lauded Koontz's racing narrative, calling it a contender for the most "viscerally exciting thriller of the year."
In Sole Survivor readers are introduced to former crime reporter Joe Carpenter, a man devastated by the death of his wife and two children in a plane crash. Unemployed and living on insurance money, Carpenter is reduced to derelict status. Then why, Carpenter wonders, does he appear to be under surveillance? The plot thickens when Carpenter encounters a strange woman while visiting the graves of his family. The woman claims to be a survivor of the airplane crash, although there were officially no survivors. Carpenter sets out to unravel the mystery and find out what brought the plane down. In the course of his investigations, he comes upon strange suicides, an esoteric cult, and a cover-up that is much more far reaching than the plane crash. Reviewing Sole Survivor for the New York Times Book Review, Charles Salzburg dubbed Koontz "a master of his trade." Although faulting the novelist's prose style as excessively flowery and his "paranoid perspective" as "often unbelievable and downright annoying," Salzburg nevertheless concluded that Koontz "does know how to tell an exciting story."
Two of Koontz's novels from the late 1990s, Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, have the same protagonist and setting. Poet-surfer Christopher Snow lives in the California beach town of Moonlight Bay. Born with a genetic mutation that makes him sensitive to light, Snow can go outside only after dark. In Fear Nothing Snow discovers that the body of his recently deceased father has vanished and been replaced by that of a murdered hitchhiker. With the help of his dog, a Labrador mix named Orson, his surfer-friend Bobby, and local disc jockey Sasha, Snow tries to get to the bottom of things and recover his father's corpse. Commenting on the book in the New York Times Book Review, Maggie Garb characterized Fear Nothing as an "overwrought narrative," maintaining that Koontz's detective trio "seem more like the stuff of adolescent fantasy than fully believable sleuths." Garb also criticized Koontz's "surfer lingo and literary pretension," as detrimental to the suspense of the book.
In Seize the Night Snow makes his second appearance. A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly described the novel as "either an utterly zany thriller or the first really cool young-adult novel of 1999 … or Koontz without tears, sadism, or even much bloodshed." The action starts when seven children are abducted from their homes. Snow is soon on the trail of the kidnappers along with his friends, who now include, in addition to Sasha and Bobbie, a mind-reading cat and a biker. The chase takes them to a supposedly abandoned military base, Fort Wyvern, where genetic experiments are being conducted. Among the strange, mutated creatures Snow and his friends uncover are wormlike creatures that can devour just about anything. At one point Snow becomes trapped by a malfunctioning "temporal locator" that sends him both into the future and the past. The Entertainment Weekly reviewer noted that Seize the Night is "that holy-cow kind of novel—park your brains, don't ask why, tighten your seat belt." David Walton, writing in the New York Times Book Review, characterized the novel as "a bros-and-brew backslapper in which characters refer to Coleridge and T.S. Eliot as often as to genetic mutation."
A Publishers Weekly reviewer stated of False Memory that "Koontz offers a standalone that's less thematically ambitious but more viscerally exciting" than the "Snow" novels that preceeded it. False Memory is the story of a woman who suffers from the mental disorder of autophobia, or fear of self. Marty Rhodes, successful at work and in her marriage, takes her agoraphobic friend Susan to therapy sessions with psychiatrist Mark Ahriman twice each week. Suddenly, Marty begins to develop a fear that she will inflict harm upon herself or her loved ones. Meanwhile, Marty's husband, Dusty, a painting contractor, finds himself having to save his half-brother Skeet from making a suicidal leap off a rooftop. After Dusty places Skeet in rehab, he returns home to find that Marty has removed all the sharp objects from the house. Soon Dusty begins to develop signs of paranoia. There are no coincidences here: all four of the novel's disturbed protagonists are victims of psychiatrist Mark Ahriman, who has used hypnosis to control their lives. Ray Olsen in Booklist called False Memory "a tale that is remarkably engaging, despite having so many pages and so little plot." Jeff Ayers expressed a similar viewpoint in Library Journal when he suggested that the book "could have been trimmed by 200 pages and not lost any impact. Still, the characters are rich, and the main story compelling." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that with "the amazing fertility of its prose, the novel feels like one of Koontz's earlier tales, with a simple core plot, strong everyman heroes (plus one deliciously malevolent villain) and pacing that starts at a gallop and gets only faster."
In The Taking Koontz offers up a "gripping, blood-curdling, thought-provoking parable," according to Olson. Novelist Molly Sloan and her husband are at their home in the San Bernardino Mountains in California when everything starts to come apart. In addition to a mysterious glowing acid raid, the power is off, but somehow appliances run and clocks start spinning out of control. Before long the couple realizes that the country is under attack by a malevolent alien race. "Mixing a hair-raising plot with masterly story telling and a subtle network of well-placed literary allusions, this deservedly popular author has written a tour de force," stated Nancy McNicol in Library Journal, while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that "Koontz remains one of the most fascinating of contemporary popular novelists," with The Taking marking "an important effort, but not his best, though its sincerity and passion can't be denied."
A man's cursed existence is the subject of Life Expectancy, Moments before Jimmy Tock is born, his grandfather emerges from a coma to predict the exact time of Jimmy's birth and provides five other dangerous dates in Jimmy's future. Meanwhile, in the same hospital, an enraged circus clown goes on a killing spree after his wife dies in childbirth at the same time Jimmy is born. Despite taking every precaution, when Jimmy's first dangerous day arrives, he is helpless to prevent a hostage situation involving the clown's son. Booklist contributor Ray Olson called Koontz's novel Life Expectancy "astonishing," and a critic in Publishers Weekly stated that the work "pits good versus evil and carries a persuasive spiritual message, about the power of love and family and the miracle of existence."
Koontz wrote Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son with Kevin J. Anderson. In the work, Dr. Victor Frankenstein has survived across the centuries and has adopted the identity of biotech tycoon Victor Helios. Helios is creating a new race of perfect humans, but one of his pod people becomes a serial killer, attempting to assemble a wife from different women's body parts. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "a compelling read, with an elegant cliffhanger ending."
Velocity is "a stripped-down exploration of the dark side of the soul, set to a pace that barely allows readers to catch their breaths," observed Charles De Lint in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The novel follows the story of Billy Wiles, a bartender who finds himself receiving a series of notes offering impossible choices that become more and more personal. School Library Journal contributor Susan Salpini labeled Billy "an average man pushed to his limits by an implacable foe," and De Lint found that the book "explores the dark depths to which we can be pushed" and is effective, as are most of Koontz's works, at making the reader feel uncomfortable and drawn in at the same time.
Koontz has also published a number of works in the "Odd Thomas" series, about a young diner cook who can see and feel the dead. The first book, Odd Thomas, introduces the title character, who lives in Pico Mundo, California. According to Olson, "Koontz employs dry, goofy humor, often in daring counterpoint to the story's spikes in tension and horror." In Forever Odd, Thomas meets the ghost of Elvis, rescues a friend, and is hunted by the evil Datura, who wants to use Odd for his special abilities. Thomas then retreats to St. Bartholomew's, Abbey, a monastery high in the California mountains, to try to find normalcy. When he sees snow for the first time, however, he is plunged into another disturbing adventure. A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that Odd's powers, "coupled with his intelligence and self-effacing humor, make him one of the most quietly authoritative characters in recent popular fiction." In Brother Odd, the third book in the series, a billionaire physicist has given his fortune to support the work of the monastery, which includes caring for damaged children who are being threatened by death and the bone creatures. The monks include Brother Knuckles, formerly with the New Jersey mob, and a very odd Russian librarian. Olson noted that Koontz adds to Odd's narration "some wonderful zingers at the expense of cultural degeneracy and political folly. A darned good time should be had by all readers."
In The Husband, landscaper Mitch Rafferty is offered the return of his kidnapped wife, Holly, for two million dollars, an amount he can raise only by doing the bidding of the abductors. David Hunter, reviewing the novel for PopMatters online, noted that the book "is really just a parable, and its message is stark: evil must be spelled with a capital E, the world is black and white, and any conception of psychological cause and effect is just muddying the waters." The Good Guy centers on Tim Carrier, a stone mason who is mistaken for a hit man. When the real hit man enters the scene, Carrier tries to protect the intended victim. The author "delivers a thriller so compelling many readers will race through the book in one sitting," noted a Publishers Weekly critic.
The Darkest Evening of the Year was described as being a "topnotch thriller" by a Publishers Weekly critic. Amy Redwing, who has escaped from a horrible marriage, establishes a Golden Retriever rescue called Golden Heart. She rescues Nickie, a preternaturally gifted dog who will do anything to save children and protect those who care for them. Amy and her new boyfriend, Brian McCarthy, become the targets of Harrow and Moongirl, a pair of psychopathic killers.
In addition to his suspense novels, Koontz has published a number of poetry collections and picture books for young readers, including The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse and Every Day's a Holiday: Amusing Rhymes for Happy Times. Published in an e-book format, The Book of Counted Sorrows contains poems that the author used as epigraphs in his novels. "Koontz has a delightful, whimsical, gruesome, and yes, corny, sense of humor," De Lint noted.
Koontz's fictional characters are often pitted against unspeakable evil and amazing odds but nonetheless emerge victorious. Concerning this optimism, Koontz once commented: "For all its faults, I find the human species—and Western culture—to be primarily noble, honorable, and admirable. In an age when doomsayers are to be heard in every corner of the land, I find great hope in our species and in the future we will surely make for ourselves. I have no patience whatsoever for misanthropic fiction, of which there is too much these days. In fact, that is one reason why I do not wish to have the ‘horror novel’ label applied to my books even when it is sometimes accurate; too many current horror novels are misanthropic, senselessly bleak, and I do not wish to be lumped with them. I am no Pollyanna, by any means, but I think we live in a time of marvels, not a time of disaster, and I believe we can solve every problem that confronts us if we keep our perspective and our freedom. Very little if any great and long-lasting fiction has been misanthropic. I strongly believe that, in addition to entertaining, it is the function of fiction to explore the way we live, reinforce our noble traits, and suggest ways to improve the world where we can."
"Perhaps the real secret of Koontz's success is that he connects so powerfully with his audience," remarked Jessica Hatchigan in the Writer. "While he is a master of the technical aspects of writing, including pacing, atmosphere, dialogue and setting, it is the often soaring lyricism of his language and his ability to tap deeply into his readers' emotions that make his novels hard to put down." "I believe that a suspense novel can be equal in quality to any ‘literary’ novel ever written because suspense is the fundamental quality of life," Koontz told Hatchigan. "None of us knows what will happen to him—or to his loved ones—from one day to the next." He added, "Often, though not always, my novels contain a large dose of humor because the way that we all cope with the constant suspense of our lives is humor. We laugh at fate and misfortune and often even at death. The laughter tells us we are alive."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Munster, Bill, Discovering Dean Koontz: Essays on America's Best-Selling Writer of Suspense and Horror Fiction, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1998.
Munster, Bill, editor, Sudden Fear: The Horror and Dark Suspense Fiction of Dean R. Koontz, Starmont House (Mercer Island, WA), 1988.
Ramsland, Katherine M., Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1997.
Booklist, March 1, 1986, review of Strangers, p. 914; April 15, 1995, Brad Hooper, review of Strange Highways, p. 1452; December 15, 1999, Ray Olson, review of False Memory, p. 739; May 15, 2003, Ray Olson, review of The Face, p. 1618; December 15, 2003, Ray Olson, review of Odd Thomas, p. 707; May 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of The Taking, p. 1483; November 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of Life Expectancy, p. 444; January 1, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son, p. 784; November 15, 2005, Ray Olson, review of Forever Odd, p. 6; May 1, 2006, Ray Olson, review of The Husband, p. 5; November 15, 2006, Ray Olson, review of Brother Odd, p. 6; May 1, 2007, Ray Olson, review of The Good Guy, p. 32.
Entertainment Weekly, January 15, 1999, review of Seize the Night, p. 56; May 30, 2003, Scott Brown, review of The Face, p. 118.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of The Face, p. 705; November 15, 2004, review of Life Expectancy, p. 1063; May 15, 2007, review of The Good Guy.
Library Journal, May 15, 1980, Rex E. Klett, review of Whispers, p. 1187; April 15, 1986, Eric W. Johnson, review of Strangers, p. 95; January, 2000, Jeff Ayers, review of False Memory, p. 160; January 1, 2001, Jeff Ayers, review of From the Corner of His Eye, p. 155; December, 2003, Nancy McNicol, review of Odd Thomas, p. 167; April 15, 2004, Kristen L. Smith, review of The Face, p. 146; June 15, 2004, Nancy McNicol, review of The Taking, p. 58; February 1, 2005, Jeff Ayers, review of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, p. 68.
Locus, January, 1995, Edward Bryant, review of Dark Rivers of the Heart, p. 49.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July, 2001, Charles De Lint, review of From the Corner of His Eye, p. 44; March, 2002, Charles De Lint, reviews of The Book of Counted Sorrows and The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse and Nothing Worse, p. 29; June, 2003, Charles De Lint, review of By the Light of the Moon, p. 84; October, 2003, Charles De Lint, review of The Face, p. 50; June, 2004, Charles De Lint, review of Odd Thomas, p. 33; June, 2005, Charles De Lint, reviews of Life Expectancy, p. 29, and Robot Santa: The Further Adventures of Santa's Twin, p. 32; December, 2005, Charles De Lint, review of Velocity, p. 35; May, 2006, Charles De Lint, review of Forever Odd, p. 41; May, 2007, Charles De Lint, review of Brother Odd, p. 55; January, 2008, Charles De Lint, review of The Good Guy, p. 32.
New York Times, November 22, 2007, Janet Maslin, review of The Darkest Evening of the Year, p. E14.
New York Times Book Review, June 15, 1986, Deborah Kirk, review of Strangers, p. 20; February 25, 1996, Colin Harrison, review of Intensity, p. 9; April 20, 1997, Charles Salzberg, review of Sole Survivor; February 8, 1998, Maggie Garb, review of Fear Nothing; February 7, 1999, David Walton, review of Seize the Night.
Publishers Weekly, April 4, 1980, review of Whispers, p. 61; December 7, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Cold Fire, p. 46; November 22, 1991, review of Hideaway, p. 37; December 28, 1992, review of Dragon Tears, p. 59; August 16, 1993, review of Mr. Murder, p. 85; November 6, 1995, review of Intensity, p. 81; February 5, 1996, review of Strange Highways, p. 41; December 13, 1999, review of False Memory, p. 67; November 27, 2000, review of From the Corner of His Eye, p. 56; October 22, 2001, Jeff Zaleski, "PW Talks with Dean Koontz," and review of The Book of Counted Sorrows, p. 50; December 17, 2001, review of One Door away from Heaven, p. 66; May 5, 2003, review of The Face, p. 199; November 3, 2003, review of Odd Thomas, p. 52; May 10, 2004, review of The Taking, p. 37; November 15, 2004, review of Life Expectancy, p. 41; January 17, 2005, review of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, p. 40; November 7, 2005, review of Forever Odd, p. 55; April 24, 2006, review of The Husband, p. 41; October 30, 2006, review of Brother Odd, p. 39; April 30, 2007, review of The Good Guy, p. 141; October 29, 2007, review of The Darkest Evening of the Year, p. 33.
Punch, July 15, 1981, Denis Pitts, review of Whispers, p. 109.
School Library Journal, May, 2004, Katherine Fitch, review of Odd Thomas, p. 175; September, 2005, Susan Salpini, review of Velocity, p. 244.
Washington Post Book World, December 11, 1994, Curt Suplee, review of Dark Rivers of the Heart, p. 8.
Writer, December, 2003, Jessica Hatchigan, "Born to Write: Dean Koontz Manages to Be Life-Affirming—While Scaring the Heck out of You," p. 25.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (January 13, 2008), "Author Profile: Dean Koontz."
Dean Koontz Home Page,http://www.deankoontz.com (January 13, 2008).
Dean Koontz MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/deankoontzoddthomas (January 13, 2008).
Popmatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (June 29, 2006), David Hunter, review of The Husband.