With more than 100 books to choose from, you might be feeling overwhelmed about which book you should pick up by bestselling author Dean Koontz. This list of the best Dean Koontz books will help narrow down that list for you.
Koontz is a bestselling thriller author that frequently mixes in themes of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and satire to his writing. In reflection of this, many of his books fall into different genres of horror, fantasy, or thriller.
If you’re looking for the best Dean Koontz books you must pick up, then keep reading this article.
Who Is Dean Koontz?
Dean Koontz was born in Pennsylvania in 1945. He began writing in college and hasn’t stopped since.
He frequently writes for long stretches at a time – 10 or 11 hours – and will revise a paragraph or page of text repeatedly until he is happy with it.
Before he became a full-time writer, Koontz worked a few different jobs following his graduation; during this time he would write during his spare time at night or on weekends. His wife, Gerda, then gave him five years to dedicate to making it big as an author as she supported the household on her sole income. At the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to help run Koontz’s writing career.
He is now a bestselling author with his books published in 38 languages and has sold more than 500 million copies over his career. Koontz has also written under multiple pseudonyms, including David Axton, Leigh Nichols, Brian Coffey, and Deana Dwyer.
He has published more than 100 novels during his career, which has spanned more than 50 years. He has also published numerous novellas and short stories.
That’s a massive bibliography with a wealth of books to chose from. If you’re looking for help choosing which novel you should read first, then here is our list of the 15 best Dean Koontz books.
Summary of Best Dean Koontz Books
Have you read every one of the best Dean Koontz books we’ve listed? If you haven’t then keep reading to find out more about each book.
1. Odd Thomas
Arguably Koontz’s best novel, Odd Thomas is a mystery horror with fantasy elements. It is the first book in his Odd Thomas series and a New York Times bestseller. Also, it was nominated for the Lincoln Award, and adapted into a 2013 film starring Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, and Addison Timlin.
Odd Thomas is a short-order cook in a small desert town. He tries to live a normal life, but he can also see ghosts and reluctantly serves as their confidant.
He does his best for the ghosts that seek him out. If they are seeking justice Odd can rely on the sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, to solve the crime with his tips. But this time it’s different.
Now a mysterious man has come to town and dangers lurk about him. Odd’s only clue is that something will happen on August 15, but it’s already August 14.
Odd has less than 24 hours to travel through the shifting prisms of his world and prevent a horrific catastrophe.
Phantoms is a standalone horror thriller.
This novel opens with an eerily silent town, recently abandoned. Then the first body is found, still warm.
Terror has struck the small mountain town of Snowfield, California. There are 150 residents dead, but 350 still missing. At first the ones who stumbled across this town thought the brutality was the work of a maniac, terrorists, toxic contaminations, or a bizarre new disease.
However, the truth is worse than they had ever imagined.
This novel is another standalone horror thriller, but one that might have you glancing at your beloved family pet askance.
In Watchers two genetically altered life forms are released from a top-secret government laboratory. The first is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence, but the other is a hybrid monster with a brutally violent nature. Both are on the loose.
Koontz describes this book as his most terrifying, dramatic, and moving novel. It follows a man and a woman as they are caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation.
4. The Taking
The Taking is the story of a community cut off from a world under siege. It recounts a terrifying battle for survival by a young couple and their neighbors. And it poses the question: What would you do if the familiar streets surrounding your home became fog-shrouded death traps?
Molly and Niel Sloan awaken to the beat of rain on their roof, and the unshakeable sense that something is wrong.
The rain continues to fall and slowly technology fails amidst this extreme weather event. They band together with their neighbors to deal with the community dangers and any potential threat. Then the strange noises begin.
It is night and along with the noises, mysterious lights can be seen drifting through the trees at a distance. At dawn the rain diminishes, but the horror has only just begun. Our small band of friends will need to draw on their strength, courage, and humanity in the face of a terrifying danger that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency.
5. Dragon Tears
Harry Lyon is a rational man. He is a cop that has refused to let the job harden his soul, and steadfastly believes in order and reason.
Then, one fateful day, he shoots a man. And a homeless stranger with bloodshot eyes utters a haunting threat that challenges Harry’s sanity: “Ticktock, ticktock. You’ll be dead in sixteen hours… Dead by dawn…”
Chyna Shephard gazes out of her best friend’s window past midnight and stares at the moon. It is her first night in the Napa Valley home and she can’t sleep. Her instinct proves reliable when a murderous sociopath enters the home, intent on killing everyone inside.
Edgler Foreman Vess only lives to satisfy his appetites as they arise. He lives without fear, remorse, or limits. Only intensity.
But Chyna is a survivor. She has been toughened through a life-long struggle for safety and self-respect. At first her only aim is to survive the night.
But then she learns of Vess’s next intended victim. Chyna musters every ounce of determination she has to save this faraway innocent girl as the terrifying threat of Vess intensifies.
A handful of strangers from different towns across America and with different backgrounds have nothing in common except fear.
They are the victims of an unknown terror gripping their dreams and turning their days into a nightmare.
Deep within the heart of a sprawling desert a dark memory calls out to them. A forgotten weekend stay in the isolated Tranquility Motel in Nevada also connects them. Photographs and messages arise, and a terrifying truth is waiting…
8. Strange Highways
Strange Highways is a collection of novels, novellas, and short stories. This is perfect if you’re looking to explore a variety of Dean Koontz’s works. All are interconnected with the theme of the highway of human experience.
Koontz reveals a familiar world of unlikely heroes, haunted thieves, fearsome predators, vengeful children, and suspiciously human-like robots. The stories within this collection tell of the adventures, terrors, failures, and triumphs that we experience on the path from birth to death.
On the night that Laura Shane was born there was a strange storm. The strangeness in the weather is something that people would remember for years. But even more strange than that is the blond-haired stranger that appeared out of nowhere.
This man saved Laura from a fatal delivery. Then, years later, there is another bolt of lightning and the stranger returns. Once more he saves Laura from tragedy.
But is this man a guardian angel? Or does he hide a more sinister devilish disguise?
10. Demon Seed
Demon Seed was first published in 1973, before being revised and re-released by Dean Koontz in 1997.
Susan Harris lives in self-imposed seclusion. Every comfort is provided to her in a mansion equipped with numerous automated systems controlled by a state-of-the-art computer. Her security is absolute.
Until it is breached. Her sanctuary is violated by an insidious artificial intelligence and Susan is about to experience an inconceivable act of terror. In the privacy of her own home she will become the object of the computer’s consuming obsession: To learn everything there is to know about human flesh.
11. Night Chills
In the small town of Black River, Maine, a terror is released. It was designed by top scientists and unleashed in a monstrous conspiracy.
Night chills are seizing the men and women of the town and driving them to commit acts of rape and murder. The nightmare is real, and death might be the only cure.
Hilary Thomas knew terror as a child, but never anything like this.
For 35 years Bruno Frye lived in the shadow of the mother who made his heart pound with constant fear. Even though she died five years ago, the whispers still haunt him in the dark. It is enough to make him kill, and then kill again.
Bruno is hunting Hilary with a sick desire more terrifying than hatred could ever be, and he is in her house again. Hilary is about to learn that even death can’t keep a bad man down.
13. The Husband
An ordinary man’s extraordinary commitment to his wife will take him on a harrowing journey of adventure, sacrifice, and redemption. As well as a showdown with the darkness that would destroy it forever.
Mitchell Rafferty received a ransom for the safe return of his wife and thinks it must be some kind of joke. He was planting impatiens a moment ago, but now he’s having a conversation out of his darkest nightmare.
But the man on the other end of the phoneline isn’t joking. He has Mitchell’s wife and won’t return her until he receives two million dollars in cash. He’s confident than Mitch will find a way to raise the money, if he loves his wife enough.
And Mitch does. He loves her more than life itself and he has 72 hours to prove it. He’ll pay anything.
The residents of Moonlight Cove, California are changing. Some are losing touch with their deepest emotions, while others are surrendering to their wildest urges. The few who remain unchanged are absolutely terrified – if they haven’t been brutally murdered in the dead of the night.
Four unlikely survivors will confront the darkest realms of human nature in this masterpiece of terror and fear.
15. From the Corner of His Eye
Bartholomew Lampion is born on a day of tragedy and terror that will mark his family forever. However, everyone agrees that his unusual eyes are the most beautiful they have ever seen.
But on the same day, a ruthless man a thousand miles away learns that he has a mortal enemy named Bartholomew. He will embark on a relentless search that will consume his life to find this enemy.
A girl will be born from a brutal rape, her destiny mysteriously linked to Barty and the man who stalks him.
At the age of three, Barty is blinded when surgeons remove his eyes to save him from a fast-spreading cancer. But at 13 he regains his sight. What unfolds next is a journey of courage, heart-stopping suspense, and high adventure as his life entangles with others.
15 Best Dean Koontz Books Wrap-Up
- Odd Thomas (2003)
- Phantoms (1983)
- Watchers (1987)
- The Taking (2004)
- Dragon Tears (1993)
- Intensity (1995)
- Strangers (1986)
- Strange Highways (1996)
- Lightning (1988)
- Demon Seed (1973)
- Night Chills (1976)
- Whispers (1980)
- The Husband (2006)
- Midnight (1989)
- From the Corner of His Eye (2000)
What do you think of this list of the 15 best Dean Koontz books? Is your favorite Dean Koontz book on this list? Let us know in the comments!
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One Door Away From Heaven is in my top 3.
The first Dean Koontz book I read was Strangers in the late 70s. I was hooked. Since then I have read every book he has written. He is my Favorite Auther. Always leaves you with hope for the human race.
You totally missed the Jane Hawk series!
I’m sure everyone’s list of Best Dean Koontz books will look a little a different! Ours was compiled from a variety of sources across the web to find the “ultimate” list. Perhaps if we’d have added a 16th book Jane Hawk might have ended up on the list! As it is, these are the 15 we saw most often being claimed as his best works.
Dean Koontz is my favorite contemporary author. I’ve read scores of his books, including the Odd, Hawk, and Frankenstein series, all of which I loved. I also just finished the Nameless short stories, which were great. But I have to say, One Door Away from Heaven is conspicuously missing from the list. It’s my favorite. None the less, thanks for the list!