Best and Worst Dean Koontz books

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.


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.

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…


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.

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.

Lightning and Midnight are my personal favorites.

Night Chills is horrible.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

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. :slight_smile:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.