Dean Koontz is a legend in sci-fi/fantasy mysteries and thrillers. Having published more than 100 books, Koontz is considered an expert at blending different genres. Most of his novels are a combination of horror and psychological thrillers, with a taste of speculative fiction.
Koontz’s mastery of these different genres and their elements makes his novels incredibly hard to put down.
15 Best Dean Koontz Books
Below are 15 of the best books written by Dean Koontz, in reverse chronological order:
1. The Husband (2006)
Mitch Rafferty’s wife Holly is kidnapped for ransom, and Mitch has to find a way to get $2 million cash to the kidnappers without telling anyone.
Although the kidnap-for-ransom idea is fairly basic, Koontz successfully weaves it into a tale of unbelievable suspense.
2. Life Expectancy (2004)
Jimmy Tock’s birth is marked with strange prophecies made by his grandfather Josef, including one involving five “dark days” that Jimmy will have in his life. When other predictions come true, the Tock family starts to look into the prophecies more closely.
Strangely, the horrors that fall upon Jimmy are connected on a much deeper level than anyone in the family can imagine.
3. Odd Thomas (2003)
This first book in a series features 20-year-old “Odd Thomas”, a short-order cook who communicates with the dead. He uses his gift to help bring justice to some crimes.
But when a figure called the “Fungus Man” shows up at his diner, he feels that his gift would not be enough to combat the spiritual forces behind the Fungus Man’s evil.
4. Intensity (1995)
Because Chyna Shepherd’s mother always treated her like trash, Chyna formed a hard exterior based on self-sufficiency and survival. These skills are come in handy when she sees Edgler Foreman Vess break into her close friend’s home and kill everyone inside.
When she learns he has new plans to kill other people, Chyna works to stop his vicious scheme.
5. Mr. Murder (1993)
This novel features a semi-autobiographical character named Marty Stillwater, a bestselling mystery author just like Koontz.
Marty appears content with his life, but he’s actually haunted by a mysterious link to a genetically engineered assassin called “The Killer,” who goes around the United States and kills not just his target victims, but also everyone who stands in the way.
6. Dragon Tears (1993)
This book is packed with action from the get-go, with Special Projects police officer Harry Lyon and his partner Connie Gulliver encountering a ragged man who tells Harry, “You’ll be dead in 16 hours.”
The strange warning adds to a few other unusual events that set the pair on a journey to discover the cause behind heightened violence in their small California town.
7. The Bad Place (1990)
Everyday, Frank Pollard wakes up in a different “bad place” without remembering anything except the need to run. Deathly afraid because of his memory problems, he hires a security team in the form of husband and wife Bobby and Julie Dakota to protect him.
As the pair delves into the case to find who the attackers are, they realize they can’t fight with the fate destined for Frank from the first day of his life.
8. Midnight (1989)
Machines that are part-human and part-beast haunt what used to be the sleepy beach town of Moonlight Cove. Sam Booker is an undercover FBI agent who arrives with T.J. Lockland, a sister of one of the victims, to investigate the killings.
The pair encounter 11-year-old Chrissie Foster, whose parents morphed into the monster. The three then work together to unveil the town’s dark history to understand the deadly infestation in the town.
9. Lightning (1988)
Laura Shane escaped death from a botched delivery during a lightning storm, thanks to a stranger who intervened. Time and again, Laura falls into dangerous situations, from which the same stranger always rescues her.
After years of these occurrences, Laura starts to wonder who the stranger is and why he keeps protecting her. And true to Dean Koontz’s fame, the truth will definitely be beyond your wildest imagination!
10. Watchers (1987)
This thriller incorporates elements of sci-fi as it follows the story of Travis Cornell, a Delta Force operative struggling with depression when he finds a golden retriever during a hike just near his home. He names the dog Einstein, because he shows unusual dog intelligence.
In fact, Einstein is able to alert Travis to the horrific entity called Outsider that’s hunting him down. Apparently, Einstein and the Outsider were both genetically engineered at the same lab run by the government.
11. Strangers (1986)
This novel focuses more on the character development of four people who come together because of a shared ailment related to unconsciousness and sleep: Ginger tends to go into a state of temporary amnesia, while Ernie fears the dark in a way that leaves him paralyzed.
Even stranger is how they find each other: a collection of photographs shows them all present together, but none of them remembers where the photos were taken. The source of the images is slowly revealed, bonding the strangers together as they work to unravel the conspiracy behind it.
12. Phantoms (1983)
This novel is inspired by the real-life legend of the village that mysteriously disappeared at Angikuni Lake: Snowfield, California has its citizens evaporated except for a few corpses. This is the state of the town when Dr. Jennifer Paige comes on the scene with her sister Lisa.
Calling for the help of the military’s Biological Investigations Unit, they try to figure out why such a rapid mass extinction took place. Just a hint: the book takes inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft’s works, with unusual folklore and strange phenomena occurring every few pages.
13. Whispers (1980)
The novel tells the story of screenwriter Hilary Thomas and the violent psychopath stalking her. The stalker is Bruno Frye, who believes that the spirit of his abusive mother resides in Hilary—and he’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of her.
The suspense builds up as Frye refuses to be dissuaded, even with the police backing Hilary and even after she manages to stab him.
14. Night Chills (1976)
Koontz’s specialty—unknown evil entities working against innocent characters—shows up in Night Chills as a force that compels a whole locality to commit terrifying crimes against their neighbors and friends.
The main character is Paul Annendale, who arrives in Black River with his children and needs to fight against the evil and take down the people behind the “night chills.”
15. Demon Seed (1973)
Koontz’s first bestseller follows the life of wealthy divorcee Susan Harris, known as a recluse who is imprisoned in her home by an artificially intelligent computer called Proteus.
Proteus desires only one thing: to experience life as human beings do. And the solution for “him” to do this is to impregnate Susan with his spawn, which he biologically engineered. Then, he would inhabit the offspring with his own consciousness.
This disturbing and imaginative twisted love story was the first of its kind in horror/sci-fi, and also inspired a movie starring Julie Christie.
Dean Koontz Novels
The fantastic works of Dean Koontz are sure to satisfy anyone who’s a fan of suspenseful thrillers, horror, and sci-fi/fantasy.
For more great reads, check out our picks for the best science fiction books!
Do you have a favorite Dean Koontz novel? Share it with us in the comments below!
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.