View Full Version : Best and Worst Dean Koontz books

11-27-2000, 12:23 AM
Of course, inspired by the Stephen King thread. I couldn't really contribute to that one, having read only 5 or so SK books. On the other hand, I've read probably 20 Koontz novels.

Best: Watchers.
I re-read it last year, 6 years after first reading it, and I loved it just as much the second time. There is no doubt that this is his best work. (for me, anyway).

Worst: Sieze the Night.
I tried to finish this one, I really did. But when he was still on the SAME DAMN PLOTLINE 180 pages into the book, in the same setting, I gave up. I was never interested. Boring...the first one (Fear Nothing) was decent, but not up to par.

Honorable Mention (good):
Dark Rivers of the Heart
False Memory (at least so far...I'm about 4/5 done with it).

Basically, I usually like his mostly probably real-life stories best, and don't like his really, really supernatural crap.


11-27-2000, 11:03 AM
Watchers was my first and favorite as well. I loved Lightning because of the whole time travel element. Strangers was long, but really good as well.

Don't really remember the names on the ones I didn't like...it's not like his titles are very descriptive, but even these I enjoyed at some level.

11-27-2000, 04:25 PM
Lightning and Strangers are my favorites. I love both of those books.

I didn't like The Bad Place or one that was originally published under a pseudonym, about a guy and his girlfriend's younger brother driving across country who are terrorized by a guy following them.

Then again, it's been years since I've read any. Frickin' college...


11-27-2000, 05:13 PM
Watchers was the first I've read, and loved it. Lightning comes in second.

Fear That Man and The Fall of the Dream Machine, I liked em.

Midnight sucked really bad.

Dolores Reborn
11-27-2000, 05:22 PM
Watchers is my favorite - "Home is where the weenies are."
I just read Intensity and loved it. I liked Dragon Tears - was that the name? - but all I remember is that I liked it. I don't remember the plot! Guess it's time to re-read that one. I didn't like the winter one with the old man and the "alien" that came through the worm hole. Koontz is OK for quick read, but Stephen King is The Man.

11-27-2000, 05:28 PM
Lightning and Midnight are my personal favorites.

Night Chills is horrible.

11-27-2000, 08:58 PM
Liked these:
Twilight Eyes

Didn't much care for:
The Bad Place
The Mask
The Funhouse (which was a novelization, anyway)
The Servants of Twilight

Ok, but nothing special:
Fear Nothing
Dark Rivers of the Heart
The House of Thunder
The Voice of the Night
The Face of Fear

11-27-2000, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Dolores Claiborne
Koontz is OK for quick read, but Stephen King is The Man.

I agree that King is a vastly superior writer...It's just that I haven't read all that much of his, but I started reading Koontz in 7th grade.


11-27-2000, 10:34 PM
Mmm.. I used to love Dean Koontz books. Anything to keep me up all hours of the night. (Perhaps this has lead my issues with paranoia.. hrm.)

But my faves are definately Lightning and The Door to December. Hideaway and Intensity were also pretty good.

I didnt care much for Whispers or Watchers or... Darkfall, I think it was? (I think I have an aversion to any book with too many references to "scuttering noises" *shudder*)

His other books are fair, nothing I'd go out of my way to recommend, but worth the night or two it took me to tear through it.

11-27-2000, 11:02 PM
I seem to recall that Watchers and Phantoms were pretty good. Lightning sticks with me, but only because the bad guys were Nazis (I can't dislike anything where the bad guys are Nazis).

I read several of his other books before giving up because they all blend together. He seems to be a very formulaic writer; the names of the characters change (although not a heck of a lot else about them seems to), and the nature of the bad guys is somehow different, but the same events and plotline run through every book.

11-27-2000, 11:03 PM
My favorites are:

Fear Nothing
Seize the Night

Honorable Mention goes to:

Sole Survivor
Dark Rivers of the Heart

Least Favorites:

Demon Seed

--The one with the husband whose corpse comes back to life

The Bad Place

And the freakiest of them all was the one about the psychopath whose uncle was also is father and whose mother had incestuous twins, one with too much testosterone. I don't remember the name but it was really fucking weird.

11-28-2000, 12:01 AM
I truly enjoyed Fear Nothing, Seize the Night and Dark Rivers of the Heart.

I hated the Voice of the Night.

Side note: have you noticed Koontz uses "chitonous appendages" and insect references through most of his books. Also, you can count on an arroyo (sp?)appearing in a chase scene.

I do enjoy his works though. :)

Badtz Maru
11-28-2000, 12:32 AM
What was the one with the Vietnamese protagonist? I liked that one, it was pretty funny.

I too liked Watchers, but it does have the same plot that 90% of his books do. I liked intensity because it veered a little bit from his normal formula. Oddly enough, the one I mentioned in my first paragraph fit his formula perfectly, it seemed almost like a self parody.

Unauthorized Cinnamon
11-28-2000, 09:21 AM
I also liked Watchers a lot. It was so poignant - I'll never look at Mickey Mouse again without feeling a pang.

I also love the Chris Snow series (Fear Nothing and Seize the Night) - I haven't read them, but the books on tape are unabridged, and the reader (Keith Szarabajka) does a fantastic job. When you listen to the language he uses, it seems almost to be poetry, not just prose that moves the plot along.

I agree that he recycles many plot elements. I'd say my least favorite books are his earlier ones, which have the same plotlines, and less artistry.

Max Torque
11-28-2000, 11:06 AM
I haven't read lots of Koontz, but I can concur with those who picked Strangers, Watchers, and Intensity as good ones. Why oh why must they try to make Watchers into a movie....

Phantoms was so-so. Interesting, but didn't blow me away.

Tick Tock was extremely disappointing.

11-28-2000, 11:52 AM
I've only read one Koontz book, and that happened to be False Memory. It's pretty good up until the last 50 pages or so which spoil the rest of the book really.

11-28-2000, 12:51 PM
I'll chime in that Watchers was his best. Lightning was good too, Intensity was quite disturbing but good. Honorable mention goes to Midnight and the Face of Fear

I HATED Ticktock, Demon Seed and his last two about Christopher Snow or whatever his name is, what a waste of time. I did not enjoy the Voice of the Night or Shadowfires either.

His books are sooo heavily formulaic

Arnold Winkelried
11-28-2000, 02:33 PM
Originally posted by jb_farley
one that was originally published under a pseudonym, about a guy and his girlfriend's younger brother driving across country who are terrorized by a guy following them.

That would be Shattered. I was given last Christmas a collection of Dean Koontz that contained three novels, Shattered, Whispers, Watchers. While I'm glad I have read them so I know what Dean Koontz is about I don't think I will take the time for any more of his novels. But then I don't like Stephen King much either so that shows you my bias.

11-28-2000, 03:18 PM
Best Koontz book I have read:

Dark Rivers of the Heart.

After that:

Twilight Eyes
Dragon Tears

And the worst Koontz novel I've read:

The Face of Fear.

I may have liked Dark Rivers best because it was the first one I read; as you all know, he does get repetitive. But I've enjoyed every one of his books, even the monumentally silly The Face of Fear.

11-28-2000, 05:18 PM
Watchers is the best.

Is Cold Fire by Dean Koontz? IIRC, this was about a guy that could tell the future sort of like that Early Edition show. He would have a premonition about somebody, then travel to save them...?? Sound familiar to anyone? I hadn't seen it mentioned...maybe I have the wrong title.

It has been awhile since I read any of his books. Since False Memory seems to be getting good reviews I will try that one out.

11-28-2000, 10:01 PM
Yeah, Cold Fire is a Koontz book. I rather like that one too. False Memory is really good so far (3/4 done). It's all psychological horror...really cool stuff.


11-28-2000, 10:47 PM
I agree that Tick Tock sucked. I don't even have the energy to put it in italics. It blew big time.

False Memory kicks major ass. I was totally aware of what was happening halfway through, so I had the heebie jeebies for the last 100 pages. Creepy stuff.

This is about his new one, "From the Corner of His Eye," coming out the day after Christmas.

From http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553801341/o/qid=975469027/sr=2-1/105-6219594-1209551

Bartholomew Lampion is born in Bright Beach, California, on a day of tragedy and terror, when the lives of everyone in his family are changed forever. Remarkable events accompany his birth, and everyone agrees that his unusual eyes are the most beautiful they have ever seen.

On this same day, a thousand miles away, a ruthless man learns that he has a mortal enemy named Bartholomew. He doesn't know who Bartholomew is, but he embarks on a search that will become the purpose of his life. If ever he finds the right Bartholomew, he will deal mercilessly with him.

Follow the link for the rest of the plot; I don't want to get in trouble with the mods. :D

Anyway, what I meant to add last night was that I love how the protagonists in his books always have some disease or illness or mental problem. The plot is never just about them overcoming hardships, but also about them overcoming a problem that has always been there, like Chyna's in Intensity.

I admit DK is an acquired taste. The first book I read was one about a boy who killed his little sister, or something like that. (Sorry so vague. ;)) I was ready to give up on him after that.

01-15-2016, 10:39 AM
As has been seen there are differing likes and dislikes. I myself found Fear Nothing and Sieze the Night Tedious and boring but they are my sister in laws favourites.
My favourite novels are
False Memory
The Taking
the Husband
Odd interlude
Saint Odd
The house of thunder
Life expectancy
Darkness under the sun (this is a novella like odd interlude)

Novels that I enjoyed
Your heart belongs to me
The good guy

Odd Thomas
Demon Seed
The face of fear
The bad place
The funhouse

The novels I haven't enjoyed
What the night knows (but I loved the novella)
One door away from heaven
The key to midnight
The door to December
77 Shadow Street(this was improved by rereading on audiobook though)
Fear Nothing
Seize The night
Brother Odd

01-15-2016, 11:16 AM
Watchers...is that the one with the golden retriever that has superhuman intelligence?

My bone of contention with Koontz books is I can never remember the titles because they're all the same book.

Plucky heroine flees in the night. Unlikely hero catches up to her and assists her to expose the deep dark underbelly of whatever. Throw in a dog for good measure.

There was one with a woman who took drugs during her pregnancy and gave birth to four children, one of whom was a hermaphrodite and was able to impregnate him/herself.

Where was the Stephen King list?

01-15-2016, 11:51 AM
Thread relocated from IMHO to Cafe Society, which did not exist when this thread was started way back in 2000.

01-15-2016, 01:04 PM
I loved Watchers, Phantoms and Twilight Eyes.
Liked Cold Fire, Strangers, Lightning and Hideaway.
Thought the Frankenstein trilogy was okay.
Everything else ranges from meh to horrible.

01-15-2016, 02:00 PM
I like the movie Odd Thomas. How is the series of books?

Thudlow Boink
01-15-2016, 02:00 PM
Where was the Stephen King list?Presumably back in 2000 sometime.

Since this thread was started, there have been several other threads (https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Dean+Koontz%22+site:straightdope.com&safe=off&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&ei=lEKZVrOMIYjXeYiYuegE&start=0&sa=N) about Koontz, for anyone who's really interested in seeing his writing discussed.

01-15-2016, 02:35 PM
I like the movie Odd Thomas. How is the series of books?

I've read the first 3 Odd Thomas novels and then I had to stop. Koontz has a problem with golden retrievers.

And it says something that I can accept a guy who talks to ghosts, who sees the supernatural, but a ghost dog puts me over the edge.

Aside from that they were enjoyable.

I haven't read much other Koontz, but I enjoyed the novel about kids who move to a new town and then get fed growth hormones, but turn into monsters.

01-15-2016, 02:38 PM
Fear That Man

Dean R. Koontz and Dan Koontz are the same guy?

I wonder why he went from science fiction to horror.

I liked the Odd books.

01-15-2016, 07:11 PM
Seize the Night
Fear Nothing

01-17-2016, 12:38 AM
Most of his books before 2000 (False Memory) or so were pretty good. My favorites being the mid to late 1980's (Watchers, Strangers, Lightning etc). Most of his newer books have too many characters that serve mo purpose (usually an annoying kid) and the plots all seem to be the same. I still get them in hardcover, but rarely pay full price.

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