Dean R. Koontz is an acknowledged master of the horror genre but is also skilled at genre blending, drawing from the genres of horror, science fiction, thriller, comedy, and sometimes satire. He began his career with a science-fiction novel and wrote in that genre for four years before branching out to other genres. His novel Chase (1972), the story of a Vietnam veteran experiencing the rigors of civilian life, received excellent reviews and marked the moment when he first felt himself to be a serious writer.

After the cross-genre novel Whispers (1980) became Koontz’s first paperback best seller, his novels have made the best-seller lists multiple times. Works such as Phantoms (1983) and Odd Thomas (2003) are among a collection of work that crosses genres, combining the realms of horror and thriller. In 1986, Strangers was his first hardback best seller, and at that point, Koontz dropped the other pseudonyms under which he had been writing and began writing solely under the Dean R. Koontz name.

Koontz is one of the hardest-working authors in any field, spending ten hours a day, six days a week at work, feeling that extended stints of writing help him focus more deeply on his characters so that he can understand their stories. His impressive range of works features a finely tuned and precise style with occasional graceful metaphors that are polished and compelling.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Greenberg, Martin. The Dean Koontz Companion. Riverside, Calif.: Berkley Trade, 1994. Includes interviews with Koontz as well as essays on topics ranging from film versions of his work to the idiosyncrasies of his style.

Kotker, Joan G. Dean Koontz: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. Examines each of Koontz’s novels in terms of genre, theme, setting, plot, and character development. Provides conventional and alternative readings of his works.

Koontz, Dean. How to Write Best-Selling Fiction. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books, 1972. Koontz’s advice to writers sheds light on his own writing.

Koontz, Dean. Writing Popular Fiction. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books, 1981. In describing how to write popular fiction, Koontz draws on his own experiences. Provides an insight into his works.

Kotker, Joan G. Dean Koontz: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. Kotker examines Koontz’s mature fiction, focusing on novels such as Dark Rivers of the Heart, Intensity, Lighting, and Watchers, providing both conventional and alternative readings of each.

Ramsland, Katherine. Dean Koontz: A Writer’s Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. This full-length biography presents Koontz’s life from the days of his childhood to the mid-1990’s. Ramsland draws parallels between Koontz’s writings and his life, sometimes to an illuminating effect.