It can be a little overwhelming to try to condense the best books that span more than one hundred novels. Luckily though, when it comes to best-selling author Dean Koontz – I’ve found it really fascinating to do the hard work for you.
I’ve devised this list of the 15 best Dean Koontz books that all of you need to read right away. So, if you’re a fan of his science fiction, horror, and satirical writing – then read on and discover the answers!
About Dean Koontz
Before I move on, I’m going to cover a bit about Dean Koontz, so that you are all familiar with his background and life which may have influenced his literature.
Dean Koontz is an American author, born in Pennsylvania in 1945 who began writing during his college years and continued to do so ever since.
It has been reported that he often had writing sessions that lasted up to twelve hours, with consistent revision until he was happy.
However, prior to Koontz becoming a full time professional writer, he worked several different jobs after he graduated from college. When he had some free time though, like the weekends or the evenings, he would write all the time.
His spouse Gerda allowed Dean five years in which he would strive to make it as a full time author, and during this time, she solely supported the household on her salary. However, her sacrifices paid dividends, as eventually, she could resign from her role to work with him.
Many may not be aware that Koontz wrote under a number of pseudonyms including Brian Coffey, Deana Dwyer, David Axton, and Leigh Nichols. This helped him to write more than one hundred books in a career spanning more than five decades.
Of course, this is why it can be so difficult to choose the best Dean Koontz books – but I have managed it. This is what I’m going to show you next!
The 15 Best Dean Koontz Books
So, without any further delay – allow me to share with you my picks for the 15 best Dean Koontz books that you need to read!
From The Corner Of His Eye
I’ll ignite my list with a pure classic from the mind of Koontz. The story revolves around a person called Bartholomew Lampion, who is born on a day filled with horrendous tragedy and terror, which would form his family and life for the rest of his days.
Meanwhile, a relentless man over a thousand miles away discovers he has a sworn enemy whose name is Bartholomew – and this sends him on a quest to find this elusive enemy, which really consumes his life.
During this time, a girl born from force has a destiny that is bizarrely and mysteriously linked to Bartholomew and the man who has made it his life to find him. Bartholomew (also known as Bart or Barty) started life in a very tragic way.
When he was just three years old, he had his eyes removed surgically to prevent the spread of optical cancer. However, when he turned 13 – his sight returned and this sent Bart on a story of courage, suspense, destiny, and adventure.
- Keeps you guessing
- The plot has triggering moments for some readers
Themes: Past vs present, mystery, intrigue and destiny
Midnight is a tale of mystery and fear. It is set in a town in California called Moonlit Cove and the residents there are changing. Many are finding that they are losing touch with their emotions, while others are giving in to their deepest desires.
The residents who have not been affected by the strange phenomenon are incredibly frightened – that is of course if they have not yet been mysteriously murdered overnight!
The story focuses on four survivors who must confront the deep and dark nature of the changed humans through Koontz’s stunning storytelling.
- Terrifying story
- Unique tale
- Might be too scary for some!
Themes: Mystery, intrigue, dark secrets and friendship
This inclusion to the Koontz collection is one of my outright favorite books of all time. It is a story about Mitchell Rafferty, who receives a ransom note for his wife’s return.
Of course, though, the normally mild-mannered Rafferty believes the whole thing to be a hoax. This notion is quickly dispelled though when a man on the other side of the line demands two million dollars in cash, or he will never see his wife again.
This mysterious man seems absolutely confident that Mitchell can somehow raise such huge funds. So, Mitchell has 72 hours to raise this incredible amount of money, and he will stop at nothing to do so.
He loves his wife more than life itself, and he is dead set on proving it – no matter what the cost. It’s a harrowing tale of love, redemption, and evil – and I urge everybody to read this!
- Thrilling story
- Easy-to-follow plot
- Engaging characters
- Somewhat predictable
Themes: Evil, love, determination and redemption
This is a frightening book about a haunting but it keeps you guessing whether or not the visions and sounds are real, or if you are witnessing someone who is mentally ill.
The plot revolves around Bruno Fyre who has always lived with a lot of fear in his life – but nowadays it is getting a lot worse.
Despite the fact that his mother passed away five years before this, he is haunted by her voice, her whispers – telling him to kill…again. He now hunts Hilary Thomas, who may not ever have experienced fear like this.
He finds himself in her home again – but she is about to discover that sometimes, even death is not enough to stop a man.
- Intriguing story
- Encapsulates you
- Fear inducing!
Themes: Mental health, murder and fear
Terror is released in a small town in Maine called Black River and seemingly, it was designed purposely by brilliant scientists in a massive conspiracy.
This strange phenomenon is driving men and women to commit despicable acts, with seemingly no way to stop themselves, and nobody else can either. But maybe there is a way.
Perhaps, when all hope seems to be lost – the only cure for this illness might be death. It’s a chilling story with a lot to like about it, but definitely one of Koontz’s most fearful!
- Dark and eerie story
- Perfect horror
- Makes you question everything
- Not suitable for younger readers
Themes: Darkness, crime and evil
This book was actually re-released by Koontz 24 years after its initial release due to the perfectionist nature in which he produced his literature.
The story follows Susan Harris who lives a life of solitude and hermitage in her large mansion, which is protected by the very best in modern security systems. So, of course, Susan thinks she’s entirely safe from danger… but she’s wrong.
One day, her security is breached and she finds herself at the mercy of dangerous and deadly artificial intelligence that wishes to discover all of the mysteries of human flesh.
- Unique style of sci-fi
- Great pacing
- Easy flow
- Not the best for fans who prefer terror rather than sci-fi
Themes: Science fiction, artificial intelligence and danger
I really enjoy the plot of Lightning. Reminiscent of many of my favorite science fiction movies, in this instance – The Terminator comes to mind.
Lightning is about a girl called Laura, who was born on a day when the weather was something to remember. A stranger delivered her from a potentially fatal birth, and he mysteriously disappears.
That is until many years later when Laura is in another life-threatening situation, and a lightning bolt shoots down, with the stranger coming to save the day again. But who exactly is this person? Is he a guardian angel? A demon? Or is something far stranger afoot…
- Reminiscent of famous sci-fi
- Might not be for every reader
Themes: Science fiction, fear and mystery
Strange Highways is much different than the rest of my choices so far in this list. It is a collection of short stories, and this allows you much more room to explore a variety of Koontz’s work.
However, it should be noted that all of these stories are somewhat interconnected, and the stories all have elements of adventure, heroism, terror, and failure.
- Variety of stories and characters
- Plenty of themes
- Interesting characters
- Can be confusing
Themes: The highway of human experience, revenge and the meaning of life
From Strange Highways to strange people, this story follows a handful of seemingly random strangers across America with absolutely no common ground… all except fear.
All of them are victims of a strange and terrifying phenomenon that haunts their dreams and causes their every waking minute to be hell.
However, the chance of some answers is revealed deep in the desert of Nevada, when the group comes across a hotel and dark memories seem to grip them. Messages, photographs and more unveils, and the truth is about to come out.
- Keeps you wondering throughout
- Characters are easy to engage with
- You sometimes feel as though this is something you have read before
Themes: Mystery, darkness, secrets and lies
It should be just another normal night for Chyna Shepherd, and for all intents and purposes, it is for the most part. She can’t sleep one night, and just past the midnight hour – she gazes out the window and looks upon the moon.
But she notices something that is far removed from the tranquility of the moon. A murderous psychopath enters her Napa Valley home with the pure intention to murder everybody in sight.
This is a man who lives without fear or remorse and simply wishes to do what his feelings command him to do. But Chyna survives, which was her first and foremost focus. But now, she aims to save this psychopath’s next victim in any way that she can.
- Great pacing from start to finish
- Lots of twists
- A really thrilling read
- Sometimes the plot seems convoluted or overcomplicated
Themes: Crime, evil and instinct
Dragon Tears is about a man called Harry Lyon, who you would call a very rational man. Despite being a police officer, he does not allow the job to overtake his personal life, and he would rather live straight and narrow with a clear divide between the two.
This lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt though when he shoots a man – and some mysterious homeless stranger with red eyes tells him that he has less than sixteen hours to live. The clock is ticking – but what will Harry do?
- Energetic pace
- Great mystery
- Satisfying pay-off
- Reminiscent of many horror stories
Themes: Mystery, redemption and divide between good and evil
The Taking is seemingly a very straightforward story, but it quickly erupts into a thrilling and terrifying tale. It is set in a sleepy community who are cut off from the world which is under siege.
But when their streets become deadly, a battle for survival begins – and it starts to pose the question – what would you do if your safety becomes your threat?
- Fear inducing
- Interesting story
- Characters can be difficult to engage with
Themes: Horror, fear and threat
Watchers is a Koontz classic with a brilliantly readable story. It follows the story of a Government experiment that goes wrong. Genetic experimentation has released two beings.
One is a highly intelligent dog who can communicate with humans, but the other is a terrifying and deadly monster. It’s very much like Jekyll and Hyde but in the form of two entities – and both of these are now loose.
Koontz himself described this as his most terrifying work – so, if you’re brave enough – I suggest reading this right away!
- Unique story
- Lightning pace
- The story is so easy to read
- The “Government experiment gone wrong” feels like a cliche
Themes: Man playing God, good, evil and fear
Set in Snowfield, California – Phantoms is a story of a seemingly quiet town that out of nowhere, has to deal with a brand new disease or sickness that is killing hundreds of its residents. But is it really a disease?
The truth turns out to be much more terrifying than anyone could have ever imagined.
- A mystery that keeps you guessing
- Relatable setting
- Can read this in one sitting
- Younger readers shouldn’t read it
Themes: The unknown, darkness and community
Finally, on my list, I have an incredibly popular novel by Koontz. It is the opening novel in the Odd Thomas series and it is a New York Times bestseller – it also went on to be adapted to the big screen starring Willem Defoe.
Odd Thomas is a short-order cook, but he can see ghosts all around him and decides he will allow them to confide in him. With the help of Chief Officer Wyatt Porter, he can assist in solving many crimes.
However, trouble comes to town in the form of a mystery man. The only thing Odd Thomas knows is that something will occur on August 15… which is tomorrow. He now has 24 hours to solve the mystery and prevent disaster.
- Incredible story
- You might already know the story from the movie!
Themes: Friendship, importance of helping others and mystery
The Bottom Line
Koontz is a talented author and I hope that my list has been helpful for anyone who was looking for the absolute best Dean Koontz books out there!
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