Author Dean Koontz redefined the suspense thriller genre by infusing elements of horror, science fiction, dark humor, and romance into his novels. A highly prolific writer, a steady string of his books landed on the New York Times bestsellers list, including Hideaway (1992), Intensity (1996), Odd Thomas (2003), and Velocity (2005). Koontz was a master at building suspense, blending the supernatural with the commonplace, and creating dialogue that sparkled with tongue-in-cheek wit. For these reasons, it was not surprising that many of his books were adapted for film and television, including the feature films "Watchers" (1988) and "Intensity" (1997) and the television miniseries "Sole Survivor" (Fox, 2000). While Koontz's stories terrified and brought to life the horrors inflicted by society's most heinous individuals, they also celebrated the power of good over evil, and strength of the human character. In spite of the dark themes and malevolent characters he explored, Koontz always tempered his stories with themes of redemption. Over the years, he demonstrated his command of spine-tingling mysteries, and proved that he was undoubtedly one of the world's most successful wordsmiths.
Dean R. Koontz was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, PA. His childhood was wrought with poverty and abuse; his father had frequent fits of alcohol-induced violence and was later diagnosed with a mental illness, leading his mother, who was prone to illness, to shield Koontz from his father's assaults. To escape his painful home life, Koontz turned to books and began writing at an early age. In spite of his parents' lack of encouragement, he continued reading and writing fiction, some of which he wrote on tablet paper, stapled, and sold for a nickel to relatives and neighbors. At age 12, Koontz won a national newspaper essay contest on the subject, "What being an American means to me." His prize was a wristwatch and $25. Koontz began publishing his short stories while still a student at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and won an Atlantic Monthly fiction contest as a senior.
After graduating in 1967, he worked briefly as a counselor for the Appalachian Poverty Program, and then as an English teacher at a school near Harrisburg. Around this time, he saw his first book, the science fiction novel Starquest, published in 1968. By the early 1970s, Koontz gave up other pursuits and began writing fulltime, thanks to his wife, Greta, who offered to support the family for five years while he pursued his dream. Trying to find his voice, he tackled various genres - mystery, thrillers and science fiction - so he wrote under various pseudonyms so as not to alienate his readers. After writing the suspense novel Chase (1972) under the name K.R. Dwyer, Koontz decided to shift his focus from science fiction and to his true calling: suspense thrillers.
With the publication of his novel Whispers (1980), Koontz found himself at the forefront of the literary world. Considered his breakthrough novel, Whispers was a terrifying thriller about a woman haunted by the spirit of a man whom she had stabbed to death after he had attacked her. In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Koontz prolifically wrote more than 70 novels that sold millions of copies worldwide throughout the years. He separated himself from the pack with razor-sharp suspense storytelling, with added touches of satire and romance. Some books dealt with topics like time travel and misuse of technology, like the 1987 novel Watchers, a chilling book-turned-1988 feature film starring child star Corey Haim as Travis Cornell, a boy who takes in a stray dog who happens to be a genetically engineered mutant who is being tracked by a deadly mutant. Koontz' stories were often fraught with danger and featured protagonists who, despite being financially successful and strong-willed individuals, came from dysfunctional backgrounds. On the other hand, his antagonists were often sociopathic and delusional individuals with no redeeming qualities. In the film adaptation of "Intensity," his heroine fought a killer obsessed with the extremes of sensation, whether pleasure or pain.
The extremely private Koontz's novels continued to be adapted for both TV and film including the feature "Phantoms" (1998) starring Ben Affleck as a cop with a tragic past - an archetype of Koontz' male protagonists - and the miniseries "Sole Survivor" (Fox, 2000- ), with Billy Zane as a crime reporter in search of a mysterious woman who may hold the answers to a plane crash that killed his wife and daughters. In spite of his success, Koontz maintained a low profile, inviting the LA Times to call him "America's least-known bestseller writer." He rarely gave interviews, never went on a book tour, and seldom traveled. On the few occasions when Koontz did interviews, the self-effacing author turned out to be a great conversationalist who, not surprisingly, avoided talking about his work. Fans were amazed to learn that as detailed as his novels were, Koontz never used the Internet for research, instead choosing to research via actual books on all manner of subjects - genetics, medicine, criminology - and to interview actual experts. In 2010, he released his second Frankenstein novel, inspired by the classic story written by Mary Shelley, in which Koontz' much more graphic version followed a centuries old serial killer who stalked the streets of modern-day New Orleans; the continuation The Dead Town followed a year later. This was followed by a continuation of the Odd Thomas series, with the publication of the novels Odd Apocalypse and Deeply Odd in 2012. After publishing several standalone novels and novellas, including Innocence (2013), The City (2014) and Ashley Bell (2015), Koontz began a new series starring a renegade FBI agent named Jane Hawk with 2017's The Silent Corner.
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (TV Mini-Series)
Published first book, science fiction novel <i>Starquest</i>
Wrote suspense novel <i>Chase</i> under pseudonym K.R. Dwyer
Novels <i>Shattered</i> (1973) and <i>Demon Seed</i> (1973) adapted into feature films
Released breakthrough thriller <i>Whispers</i>
Served as president of Horror Writers Association
Novel <i>Watchers</i> (1987) adapted into sci-fi thriller starring Corey Haim
Horror feature "Hideaway," starring Jeff Goldblum and Alicia Silverstone, adapted from 1992 novel of same name
Made producing debut with TV movie "Intensity" (Fox), based on 1995 novel
Sci-fi thriller "Phantoms," starring Ben Affleck and Peter O'Toole, adapted from 1983 novel
Published first novel in Frankenstein series <i>Prodigal Son</i>, co-written with Kevin J. Anderson
With Ed Gorman, co-authored second book in Frankenstein series <i>City of Night</i>
Published <i>A Big Little Life</i>, a memoir of life with his golden retriever Trixie
Wrote third novel in series <i>Dead and Alive</i>
Published fifth <i>Odd Thomas</i> novel, <i>Odd Apocalypse</i>
Followed up <i>Odd Apocalype</i> with <i>Deeply Odd</i>
Returned to the <i>Odd Thomas</i> series with <i>Saint Odd</i>
Published debut novel in the new Jane Hawk series, <i>The Silent Room</i>