Known for his suspense thrillers, Dean Koontz is a well-known, beloved American bestselling author. We explore 19 of the best Dean Koontz books.
Dean Koontz fans know the author works elements of various literary genres in his thriller novels, from horror to fantasy to science fiction. Thirty of the author’s novels have hit the number one spot on The New York Times Bestseller List.
Born in Pennsylvania, Koontz had a strict upbringing, dealing with abuse from his father. Koontz found solace in the courage of his mother and eventually went on to graduate from Shippensburg State College in 1967. He went on to teach English in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Early in his career, he began using various pen names, such as Deanna Dwyer, Aaron Wolfe, Brian Coffey, Leigh Nichols, and Richard Paige. Under new names, Koontz felt that it was safer to explore themes that could potentially turn off certain groups of readers to his future work.
- Popular Dean Koontz Books
- 1. Odd Thomas
- 2. Watchers
- 3. Phantoms
- 4. The Lost Soul Of The City
- 5. Demon Seed
- 6. Dragon Tears
- 7. The Silent Corner
- 8. The Husband
- 9. Ticktock
- 10. Corner Of His Eye
- 11. The Bad Place
- 12. The Taking
- 13. Intensity
- 14. Mr. Murder
- 15. Lightning
- 16. Strange Highways
- 17. Strangers
- 18. Night Chills
- 19. Whispers
- The Final Word On The Best Dean Koontz Books
- FAQs About The 19 Best Dean Koontz Books
Popular Dean Koontz Books
1. Odd Thomas
Published in 2003, Odd Thomas is one of Koontz’s most popular books. The title character is Odd, both in nature and in name. Between his beautiful girlfriend and his skills behind the grill at Pico Mundo, readers are perplexed by his interesting personal life and ability to catch some of the world’s most dangerous killers.
Odd begins to see both the soon-to-be-dead and the dead in this novel and realizes that his newfound ability gives him clues into the real intentions of a shady town newcomer. Odd realizes that his girlfriend’s life is at stake and begins to work to stop the violence that he sees in the future of his beloved small town.
Fans of Odd can continue his story with the Odd Thomas series sequels, including Forever Odd (published in 2005), Brother Odd (published in 2006), Odd Hours (2008), Odd Apocalypse (2012), and Deeply Odd (2013). You might be interested in exploring 19th-century Russian history books, such as these incredible books by Dostoevsky! You can also use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.
“Nothing is worse than being alone on the evening of the day when one’s cow has exploded.”Dean Koontz
This 1987 thriller involves a hero, his golden retriever, and the Santa Ana Mountains. Protagonist Travis is hiking with his beloved dog to celebrate his 36th birthday, but suddenly, he refuses to go further into the woods. Travis is confused, disappointed, and frustrated that he’s struggling to find happiness and spend the day as he pleases, even on his birthday.
Soon, Travis realizes that his golden wasn’t trying to stop his fun—she was trying to save him from an alien evil. Koontz expertly blends the bond between a man and his dog, science fiction, and horror as the pair work together to stop the unthinkable horrors deep in the mountain forest.
Koontz fans often recognize the profile of Trixie, Koontz’s beloved golden retriever, on the jacket of his books. Originally a service dog, Koontz received Trixie as a gift from the service organization Canine Companions for Independence, a group that provides service dogs to those in need, to whom he donated $2.5 million to.
“We have a responsibility to stand watch over one another, we are watchers, all of us, watchers, guarding against the darkness.”Dean Koontz
Stephen King called 2002’s Phantoms “gruesome, unrelenting… well-realized, intelligent, and humane.” Two sisters return to their hometown initially, finding that the area is oddly quiet. They discover that everyone in the town is dead or missing, animals included.
The sisters work together to contact the police from another town, and a biological team is sent in to learn more about what’s caused the tragedy. A man named Timothy is summoned to help them, and the group is shocked to learn about the ancient creature that may be at fault for destroying the town.
“Even though she knew it wasn’t biologically possible for her heart to rise into her throat, she swallowed it anyway.”Dean Koontz
4. The Lost Soul Of The City
Imagine waking up with no memories, not even of your name. This is the situation that Nameless, the protagonist of 2021’s The Lost Soul of the City, finds himself in when he awakes with nothing but a gun and a mission. Nameless is forced to go up against an arms dealer willing to do whatever it takes to keep stacking the cash.
Despite a lack of understanding of the purpose of his mission, Nameless is committed to getting the job done. Nameless befriends a teenage boy who guides him step-by-step through the city, moving toward their target. The Lost Soul of the City is the first book in the second season of the Nameless series.
“Nature can be as deadly as the human beings she has spawned, but she can’t match them for cruelty.”Dean Koontz
5. Demon Seed
Released in 1997, Demon Seed explored the relationship between humans and technology in a way that few writers could imagine at the time. The novel dives into the world of Susan Harris, a woman who chooses to live on her own in a mansion, surrounded only by automated systems controlled by her computer.
With every comfort and security measure accounted for, Harris felt safe in her home and depended on technology to keep her protected from the outside world. However, when her technology experiences a breach from the outside world, Harris finds that she no longer has the control over her home that she once profoundly valued. Her computer is consumed with learning more about her, and Harris is terrified—and stuck.
“Then what are you? An electronic Hannibal Lector? You can’t eat my liver with fava beans through a modem, you know.”Dean Koontz
6. Dragon Tears
This 1993 thriller follows Harry Lyon, a police officer who does things by the book, and his partner, Connie Gulliver, who prefers to forge her path. Lyon and Gulliver butt heads from time to time, with Lyon encouraging Gulliver to be more orderly and Connie encouraging Lyon to embrace the chaos that comes with day-to-day life.
Lyon and Gulliver are forced to work together to take out a shooter, and suddenly, their lives take a wild turn. Gulliver is right—the world is chaotic, and even the oldest systems cannot be trusted. Lyon receives an ominous message warning him of his impending death, and despite working to cling to the methods he knows and loves, he finds himself sinking further and further from safety.
“Sometimes you have to break a rule to save the system.”Dean Koontz
7. The Silent Corner
This 2017 thriller focuses on FBI agent Jane Hawk, a devastated widow working to discover why her Marine husband died by suicide. Hawk has her teenage son hide with friends while she works to avoid drones and other devices used to track her as she works to uncover the reason behind the suicide of her husband—as well as others.
Hawk discovers that the culprit was nanotech brain implants placed by scientist Bertold Shenneck. No matter how hard Jane tries to stay off of the grid, she can’t seem to shake Shenneck’s trackers. Fans of The Silent Corner will also love the rest of the Jane Hawk series.
“Is your opinion supposed to matter to me? I don’t even know your name. You have a name, or are you just some anonymous gremlin who spins into people’s lives and wrecks their mood?”Dean Koontz
8. The Husband
Business owner Mitch Rafferty receives an unexpected phone call from someone who says they’ve kidnapped his wife—and unless he can come up with $2 million, she’ll be tortured and left to fend for herself. Rafferty doesn’t have the $2 million, but the kidnappers say that if he loves his wife as much as he says he does, he’ll find a way to find the money. The kidnappers force Rafferty to watch a murder, showing Rafferty that they mean business—and that calling the police would be the wrong choice.
When Rafferty gets home, he sees that the house has been set up to make it look like he killed his wife. He receives a message that tells him to await further instruction from the kidnappers. As Rafferty moves through a series of nefarious events to free his wife, she’s trapped in an attack—working furiously to find a way to defend herself.
Koontz works to incorporate family values into many of his novels but is careful not to come off as preachy or over-the-top. Koontz’s Catholic faith plays a role in many suspense books, but the author says he makes a point not to “get on a soapbox.” While Koontz believes this approach helps him reach new fans, he also knows that it can alienate others.
“Love scrubs the worst stains clean. Anyway, there can be no retreat in the face of evil, only resistance. And commitment.”Dean Koontz
Released in 1996, Ticktock follows the story of Southern California novelist Tommy Phan. One day, the writer comes home and discovers a rag doll placed at his doorstep. The doll is plain, with X’s for her eyes and mouth and an X placed over her heart. After hearing a popping sound in the middle of the night, Phan notices that the stitches that formed the X on the doll’s heart have popped.
A series of complex events follows: a terrifying entity comes out of the doll, and it wants nothing more than to end Phan’s life. Phan meets a waitress who has a gut feeling that something is wrong—and wants to help. Together, they work to figure out how to save Phan’s life before dawn.
“Don’t be negative. Negative thinking disturbs the fabric of the cosmos.”Dean Koontz
10. Corner Of His Eye
This 2000 novel tells the story of Bartholomew Lampion. When Lampion is born, strange and unusual events happen, and his family marvels at his unusual, beautiful eyes. A thousand miles away, on the same day, an evil man learns that he has a mortal enemy named Lampion and must kill his enemy if they ever cross paths.
As Lampion grows, his doctors discover that his beautiful eyes are cursed with cancer and must be removed. At the age of 13, Lampion miraculously regains his sight. He begins to live an eventful, unforgettable life while remaining unaware of the man thousands of miles away who will kill him if he has the chance.
“It will all be better in the end and if it is not better then it must not be the end yet”Dean Koontz
11. The Bad Place
Imagine: you’re exhausted but terrified to fall asleep. This is the reality for Frank Pollard, the protagonist of 1990’s The Bad Place.
Pollard has no memory of killing anyone, but he wakes up in a motel with his hands covered in blood. He’s not sure how the blood got there, but he’s confident he’s not a murderer. Each time Pollard wakes up over the next few days, he discovers terrifying objects in his pockets.
Quickly, Pollard discovers a fear of sleep and begs Bobby and Julie Dakota, a husband-and-wife detective team, to help him solve the mystery and finally get his life back. Bobby and Julia work to follow him to figure out where he goes when he can’t seem to remember. They are amazed that he doesn’t just go somewhere else when he can’t recall—he travels to other realms, leaving the world he knows behind.
“She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.”Dean Koontz
12. The Taking
This 2004 doomsday thriller tells the story of a town cut off from the rest of society. Residents of a California town wake up to the sound of rain on their rooftops, only to discover that what’s falling from the sky isn’t rain at all—instead, it’s a silvery substance that will change their lives forever. The community tries to learn more about what’s going on by watching the news on TV, but soon, reception dissipates, and the town is left without television, phone, or internet.
The once-friendly feel of the town is quickly erased. Some community members work to come together to fight the unknown evil, while others take an every-man-for-himself approach. Readers become close to characters as they learn how they work together to avoid death traps that suddenly pop up daily in their formerly-safe streets.
“…as long as there is life, there is hope that beauty lost can be rediscovered, that what has been reviled can be redeemed.”Dean Koontz
Chyna Shepherd happened to be at the wrong place and time. Needing a much-needed break from her hectic college life and abusive household, she finds the Templetons’ company welcoming and decides to spend her long weekend with the family. Little did she know that she’ll have to face another tragedy when Edgler Forman Vess, a self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” breaks into the house and kills everyone except Chyna and her friend, Laura Templeton.
Follow Chyna and her intense plight against Edgler and his unrestrained thirst for any experience’s “intensity.”
Dean Koontz’s “Intensity” is a literary gem that explores both Chyna’s and Edgler’s psyches, letting the reader understand why they do what they do. Paired with enthralling action scenes and psychological warfare, Intensity is a gripping page-turner that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat.
“There are no explanations for human evil. Only excuses.”Dean Koontz
14. Mr. Murder
Many assume “Mr. Murder” is a semi-autobiography book because it reflects Dean Koontz in the persona of Marty Stillwater, a famous mystery writer. Stillwater’s life seems perfect, aside from the fact that he has a clone genetically engineered to be an efficient assassin, murdering his targets and anyone who stops him. Through his rascality, the clone is drawn to Stillwater and eventually decides to take over his life.
Lose yourself in a mind-bending thriller and sci-fi story. “Mr. Murder” is an entertaining read that also opens the discussion about the existence of hidden schemes and their corruptions and morals, principally how they can affect an average person’s life.
“Laugh at tyrants and the tragedy they inflict. Such men welcome our tears as evidence of subservience, but our laughter condemns them to ignominy.”Dean Koontz
Laura Shane has been saved by a mysterious man even before she was born. She avoided every impending catastrophe thanks to her “guardian angel.” But who is this blond stranger that seems to be watching over her?
A sci-fi book that includes time travels, wars, and falling in love, “Lightning” is an action-filled mystery and suspenseful title with a magnificent plot. Koontz’s writing presents characters with depth and decisions of their own without falling to the conventional Knight In Shining Armor trope.
Feel an adrenaline shot akin to a lightning strike and discover a unique camaraderie stretching over time and space.
“There were two types of survivors in life: those, like her, who found the requisite strength in having once been loved with great intensity; and those who, having not been loved, learned to thrive on hatred, suspicion, and the meager rewards of revenge.”Dean Koontz
16. Strange Highways
Experience different worlds and meet fascinating characters in Strange Highways — Koontz’s anthology book with short stories, novels, and novellas.
The main novel tells the story of Joey Shannon as he staggers through his futile life. He returns to his hometown for his father’s funeral but finds himself back in 1975, right before everything in his life went wrong.
From a failed author forced to relive his trauma, a petrifying pumpkin, aliens and robots, and many more, “Strange Highways” can satisfy your every thriller need. It’ll bring you to both distant dimensions and close realities to explore human emotion and join the characters in their triumphs and terrors.
“Darkness dwells within even the best of us. In the worst of us, darkness not only dwells but reins.”Dean Koontz
Dominick, Ginger, Father Brendan, and Ernie found each other through shared misfortunes of varying illnesses. However, those are not the only adversity they share. They realized they had suppressed memories of what happened last summer in the Tranquility Motel, Nevada, through mysterious polaroids. Find out how the group lost their recollections and how they eventually exposed a government secret.
“Strangers” manages to tackle the main character’s feelings and thoughts. Enough so that the readers become just as invested as the protagonists. This literary piece involves the readers in uncovering the conspiracy of what happened in that hotel that one fateful weekend.
Read “Strangers” for a riveting tale of bravery and humanity and marvel at how the author brings together a cast with different personalities and beliefs to work together in achieving a shared goal.
“Human beings were not meant for solitude, lonely struggles; the very essence of the species was its need to give and receive friendship, affection, love.”Dean Koontz
18. Night Chills
Paul Annendale and his two kids visit the town of Black Water for camping. It doesn’t take Paul long to realize something’s wrong with the place — people are assaulting and murdering each other. Upon discovering that the town became an experimental lab for an unethical scientist and a multi-millionaire, Annendale sets out to terminate this psychological manipulation and contamination of the town’s water supply.
What is more frightening than the unknown? Like many of his books, Koontz’s “Night Chills” alarms the readers with a mysterious entity, inciting readers’ tension with what could happen to the characters.
Note: Before proceeding to read this work, be advised that it contains triggering scenes of sexual assault.
“Americans were brought up to respect what was new and progressive — and more often than they wanted to admit, they died for their faith in what was bright and shiny.”Dean Koontz
Bruno Frye’s delusion that his dead mother’s spirit is in the body of screenwriter Hilary Thomas pushed him to stalk her. As his abusive mother’s newest “host,” Frye incessantly tries to assault and attack her, ending with Thomas stabbing him to death in self-defense. She even saw his dead body in the morgue. However, her nightmare resumes when a man who looks exactly like Frye attacks her again.
“Whispers” was the first of Koontz’s works mentioned in the New York Times Best Sellers’ list. He received more acclaim when the novel turned into a 1990 movie. “Whispers” starts with intense scenes and continues to give its readers a pulse-inducing rush. Read through arcs that unfold the characters’ logic while enjoying elements of a classic thriller and romance.
“I’m not going to feel like a whole man except when I’m with you. So if you think I’m going to just let you walk away, you’re in for a big surprise. I’ll put up one hell of a fight to hold on to you, lady.”Dean Koontz
The Final Word On The Best Dean Koontz Books
Koontz works hard to create characters who don’t take themselves too seriously, creating relatable stories that share the fallacies of being human. Many readers feel that the humanism of Koontz’s characters makes science fiction and horror stories believable, as readers can easily see themselves reacting in similar ways to the characters in the novels.
Koontz has you covered whether you’re searching for something to give you night chills or interested in a science fiction novel that keeps you wondering what will happen next. If you enjoyed this round-up of the best Dean Koontz books, you might also like our list of crime and thriller novel authors in our guide to the best authors like James Patterson. Or you can use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.
FAQs About The 19 Best Dean Koontz Books
How Many Books Has Dean Koontz Sold?
Koontz has sold more than 450 million copies of his books worldwide (meaning the author has more books in circulation than fellow thriller giant Stephen King).
Is Dean Koontz Planning To Release Any New Books In 2022?
Fans will have to wait a little longer to get their next Koontz suspense thriller fix. Recently, Koontz signed a five-book deal with Amazon. The first book in the five-book series, entitled The House at the End of the World, will be released in January 2023.
Is Dean Koontz still writing books?
Dean Koontz is still writing books. His next novel, which is scheduled for release in 2023, is entitled The House at the End of the World. He also released a novel in 2022, entitled The Big Dark Sky.
How many books are in the nameless series by Dean Koontz?
There are six books in the nameless series by Dean Koontz. They are as follows: In the Heart of the Fire, Photographing the Dead, The Praying Mantis Bride, Red Rain, The Mercy of Snakes, and Memories of Tomorrow.
How many movies are based on Dean Koontz books?
There are over 15 movies based on Dean Koontz’s books. They include Watchers, Frankenstein and Mr. Murder.
In what order should you read Dean Koontz’s books?
With such an extensive back catalog, it’s hard to know which Dean Koontz book to start with. However, Watchers is probably his most famous work and an ideal introduction to the author to see if his writing is to your taste.
Does Dean Koontz still write his own books?
Rolling Stone described Koontz as “America’s most popular suspense novelist” and that is partially because he has never stopped writing his books. His work has been published worldwide with his novels translated into thirty-eight languages.
Has Dean Koontz sold more books than Stephen King?
Dean Koontz’s website states that the author has sold 450 million copies.
According to the Washington Post, it is estimated that Stephen King has sold 350 million copies of his books. To be fair, neither of those are bad numbers.