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Captain Morgan
07-02-2007, 12:47 PM
I have to confess that I have never had a Koontz book in my library. While I thought I had read ONE before, turns out it was just by another author with a similar name. I suppose Koontz should have stuck to keeping his original pen-name.

There is only one real book of his that has interest to me, which is The Funhouse. It was not his idea by any means, but an adaptation from the horror script which made it to the screen. But since the movie has some sentimental value to me, etc. I am planning to pick up a copy of the book.

I'm curious what people think of him & his books good & bad. Personally, I've read many bad reviews on this book, so I'm not expecting much.



http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/images/cd/large/Funhouse.jpg

jonereb
07-02-2007, 04:13 PM
I like his Odd Thomas character and his writing style in this series of books. However, IMHO, each book contains a lot of filler.

Siddow
07-02-2007, 04:38 PM
He's one of my favorite authors. Right now I'm reading his latest, "The Good Guy", and it reads almost as though someone else wrote it. The sentence structures are quite odd for him, lots of -ings. Like "Spotting prey, the circling red-tail plunged..." and the very next sentence starts with "Staring at her folded hands,..." This book is full of them. But the oddest sentence in the whole thing has got to be this one:

"Once in a while, he found himself in a situation out of which he could not talk his way."

Huh? Could that be more clunky?

Ah well, I still love him. The story is good. I like the way Koontz starts with a bang (in this one, a guy is at a bar and gets mistaken for a hired killer. Then the real killer shows up, who mistakes him for the guy hiring him. Hilarity ensues.) and then keeps throwing twists at you. He's very good to read for studying about building suspense and adding humor to an otherwise grim story.

Marian Perera
07-02-2007, 04:42 PM
I was a huge fan of old-style Koontz (The Door to December, Whispers, Phantoms). However, I'm not going to read any more of his later novels because I'm tired of

1. superintelligent dogs
2. flawless heroes and heroines who adore each other
3. over-the-top villains with bizarrely refined hobbies like needlepoint cushions and haiku, and with names like Vladimir Laputa, Punchinello Beezo and Enoch Cain
4. the disdain for science ("They say God made the universe. The astrophysicists don’t understand it, but perhaps wiser men do.")
5. a liking for heavy metal music being used to imply violence, depravity or nihilism
6. overwritten passages such as


Nevertheless, these irrational fears infected her, swarmed in her blood, bred in her bones, crawled in bacterial plenitude through her mind, and she was growing sicker by the second. (from False Memory)

and


Containing three greens in striation – apple-green, jade-green, celadon – the girl’s eyes were beseeching. (from The Taking)

Jamesaritchie
07-02-2007, 04:43 PM
I have to confess that I have never had a Koontz book in my library. While I thought I had read ONE before, turns out it was just by another author with a similar name. I suppose Koontz should have stuck to keeping his original pen-name.

There is only one real book of his that has interest to me, which is The Funhouse. It was not his idea by any means, but an adaptation from the horror script which made it to the screen. But since the movie has some sentimental value to me, etc. I am planning to pick up a copy of the book.

I'm curious what people think of him & his books good & bad. Personally, I've read many bad reviews on this book, so I'm not expecting much.



http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/images/cd/large/Funhouse.jpg

He's as good as it gets. If there's a better writer around, I have no clue who it might be. There's no such thing as a writer who doesn't get bad reviews, but for every bad review of a Koontz book I've seen, I've found a dozen very good reviews.

Koontz did a great job with Funhouse. The book came out before the movie, and promptly sold a million copies. And the novel is his, despite adapting it from a screenplay.

I suppose I like the Christopher Snow novels more than his others, but they're all good, and all extremely well written. The man is one heck of a good writer. The knock on his is that he's too prolific, and some seem to think you can't be prolific and good. Nonsense, of course, but some believe it. Koontz puts in from sixty to seventy hours per week writing, and it's hard not to be prolific when you do this.

He also won the Atlantic Monthly fiction short story contest while still in college, and that's one heck of a tough thing to do.

Jamesaritchie
07-02-2007, 04:45 PM
I was a huge fan of old-style Koontz (The Door to December, Whispers, Phantoms). However, I'm not going to read any more of his later novels because I'm tired of

1. superintelligent dogs
2. flawless heroes and heroines who adore each other
3. over-the-top villains with bizarrely refined hobbies like needlepoint cushions and haiku, and with names like Vladimir Laputa, Punchinello Beezo and Enoch Cain
4. the disdain for science ("They say God made the universe. The astrophysicists don’t understand it, but perhaps wiser men do.")
5. a liking for heavy metal music being used to imply violence, depravity or nihilism
6. overwritten passages such as

(from False Memory)

and

(from The Taking)

He has no disdain for science, just for those silly enough to think science has all the answers. And those passages are not overwritten. Those passages are the way you're supposed to write.

Marian Perera
07-02-2007, 04:50 PM
He has no disdain for science, just for those silly enough to think science has all the answers.

Firstly, who thinks that science has all the answers? Secondly, what I see in recent Koontz novels is a disdain for science. If someone else gets a different impression from the books, that's great. We all have our own opinions.


And those passages are not overwritten. Those passages are the way you're supposed to write.

I found those passages overwritten. The one describing the three different greens in a girl's eyes is taken from a scene where the girl is hanging over the edge of a gaping hole into which a creature has dragged a man to devour him. Under those circumstances, I don't think the girl's rescuers have the time to notice the three different green shades of her eyes.

Will Lavender
07-02-2007, 05:15 PM
Like Queen of Swords, I used to love Koontz. His Intensity is a terrific thriller. Also loved his very early The House of Thunder. I think I might be the only person who remembers that one.

I picked up Velocity in a drug store (!) recently, however, and hated it.

The writing was not only poor, it was poor in such a shocking manner that I was almost appalled at some of his sentences.

Don't know if that particular book was just an off effort for him or if my tastes have drastically changed in the last 10 years, but I will never buy another Koontz book. There are many in the genre who do it much better.

Marian Perera
07-02-2007, 05:21 PM
Also loved his very early The House of Thunder. I think I might be the only person who remembers that one.

I remember that one as well. The heroine was called Susan, and the story was about her waking up in a hospital where she sees four frat guys who killed her boyfriend in a cave called the House of Thunder. The question is how the frat guys got into the hospital, because she seems to be the only one who sees them, and what they're going to do to her.

Siddow
07-02-2007, 05:21 PM
I rather enjoyed Velocity. He had me with the pissing on the dining room windows and the garden gnome holding two beer bottles and the open fly. Hilarious stuff, that.

Ziljon
07-02-2007, 05:29 PM
A while back I read my first Koontz book, From the Corner of his Eye. It bowled me over and the following is an exceprt from an e-mail I sent to my eldest brother:


Man, I told you the other day about the book I was reading, From the Corner of His Eye, by Dean Koontz. Well, I still recommend that book, but in the mean time, I've read two more books of his, Sole Survivor, and The Husband--both good, and well written, but neither quite as impressive as the first one. The reason I could do this so fast is that I read one as a book, and read one on tape, in the car.

Well, anyway, this was a fascinating experience, because I was able to see the pattern within his writing. See how and why he writes! Well, maybe I'm just guessing at the why, but in each one of his books, there is a definite similarity in the themes, a strong sense of Goodness being revealed and strengthened, by the sudden revelation or exposure to very real, gut wrenching evil. And there is a certain thing he does without fail as a way creating mood, or breaking up action, or just keeping a steady pace; he describes the sky. It's really funny, when your absorbing so much of his writing so quickly, to see this so clearly, but it's also very impressive because he uses very poetic similes and metaphors. I really think he's a much better writer than I previously suspected. And all of my previous knowledge of him was based just on his name, Dean Koontz, which I thought sounded cheap and sensationalistic. Another intersting point, in all three books he uses the word susurration, and in two of them, he described the landscaping of a house as having impatiens.

Anyway, the reason I first became interested in him was because of that book, From the Corner of his Eye. But then my fascination grew when, while searching his name on the net, I came across an interview with him where it was mentioned that he writes seven days a week, for ten hours a day!

All this I find very interesting. It's as though he's composing variations on a theme, only, it's not a melodic theme, like happy birthday, but a harmonic progression, like in the Goldberg Variations (by Bach), so that each novel is new, with completely different characters, yet with the same basic philosophical ideas being espoused. And his ideas are basically about Goodness. He preaches love and fealty and strength over evil. You see?

Another interesting point; in all three books, someone has grey eyes. He seems fascinating by slate grey eyes.

Anyway, since then, I have lost my fascination with Koontz, I seem to have stumbled on the best (for me at least) first. But I am very much in awe of his work ethic and his craft.

-Ziljon

Tifferbugz
07-02-2007, 05:50 PM
I really liked all of his older books when I read them; Intensity and Lightening were great. I haven't really been able to get into any of his new ones though. I'm not sure if his writing style changed or if my taste did.

Will Lavender
07-02-2007, 05:58 PM
I rather enjoyed Velocity. He had me with the pissing on the dining room windows and the garden gnome holding two beer bottles and the open fly. Hilarious stuff, that.

Koontz is a VERY funny writer.

I have a book called The Dean Koontz Companion. It has his first published story (a story called "Kittens," which is quite good), and a few really interesting interviews with him about his writing and writing in general.

One thing he says is that young people shouldn't write to get published. He says writing is all about wisdom, and people in their teens and twenties have no wisdom, and thus writing for publication should only be done once a person becomes more "seasoned." I don't know if I agree with that, but there it is.

auntybug
07-02-2007, 06:02 PM
I had to hope on this thread when I saw my 2 favorite things - Captain Morgan & Dean Koontz - too good to be true!

I agree w/ the above thread - From the "Corner of His Eye" was my favorite. I loved Odd Thomas but the next 2 Odd books - not as much. Phantoms was good but I hated the movie (Unexpected since I was in a big Ben Affleck stage!) I have almost everything he's written and theres a few I haven't gotten to yet. Some I love & pass along to friends and some I go "huh, that wasn't great". So.... give them a shot. If you don't like one - try another. You have to be up for the "twilight zone" thing and possibly stomach some serial killer!

Happy Reading!

RumpleTumbler
07-02-2007, 06:03 PM
IMHO, each book contains a lot of filler.

I grew weary of hearing how hot it was in Pico Mundo. In fact I devoted a whole thread to it about 3/4 of the way through Odd Thomas.

Siddow
07-02-2007, 06:06 PM
But it IS hot in Pico Mundo. :)

swvaughn
07-02-2007, 07:47 PM
Koontz is a VERY funny writer.

I have a book called The Dean Koontz Companion. It has his first published story (a story called "Kittens," which is quite good), and a few really interesting interviews with him about his writing and writing in general.

One thing he says is that young people shouldn't write to get published. He says writing is all about wisdom, and people in their teens and twenties have no wisdom, and thus writing for publication should only be done once a person becomes more "seasoned." I don't know if I agree with that, but there it is.

Oh, I've read Kittens. Lovely creepy little story. :D

And... *whispers* I like the name Punchinello Beezo...

/confession

I really admire Koontz. Odd Thomas is perhaps the best book I've read so far. It made me cry -- because of the story, and because I wish I could write like that. :)

P.H.Delarran
07-02-2007, 08:06 PM
I went through a Koontz phase, reading books like The Bad Place and Strange Highways, Winter Moon, Mr Murder, Dragon Tears, Hideaway, and Cold Fire. His subject matter was a bit intense and disturbing in some, especially the Bad Place, if I remember correctly. But I love how he gets the reader to relate to his characters, even the bad guys.
I took a break from him and came back more recently to books like Odd Thomas and Life Expectancy. I felt like I was reading a different author! I did like them, but his style had definitely changed, and I sensed a christian undertone and more humor that I didn't see in the old books.
I just finished False Memory, and it was a huge disappointment. I'm glad it was not my first Koontz encounter, or I may have foregone the rest.

Inky
07-02-2007, 08:09 PM
I own everything he's written. I'm one of those author addicts: if I really like one book, I order everything that author has written. I've quite an extensive library--literally. But it doesn't mean I've read all that I've purchased. I'll go into a reading coma 'bout twice a year for about 3 weeks. Unless you're bleeding, don't bug me. The kids love it, they take full advantage of my loss of hearing while in this stupor.

Odd Thomas was a fabulous character.

Phantoms scared me to death; the movie sucked. Typical.

I love that Koontz creates a story around the fear, whereas, to me, King just creates the fear.

Another good author that pulls this off too is John Saul. He can scare you, but tell a fabulous story with it.

P.H.Delarran
07-02-2007, 08:20 PM
I love that Koontz creates a story around the fear, whereas, to me, King just creates the fear.


Great way of putting that!
I think that's where he failed with false Memory. He starts out well, getting us into the characters and building anticipation. When the main character had her first episode, I almost didn't want to finish the book, for fear I would develope the same fears as her. Koontz puts me so deep in the mind of fear that it feeds my imagination for weeks after reading. BUt he bailed on False Memory and rushed to expose and destroy the villian.

III
07-02-2007, 11:38 PM
** SPOILER ALERT **
I used to be a big Koontz fan and read about 10 - 15 of his old books before I got burned out. Every book had the same protagonist falling for the same leading lady and all the plots were just a protag with paranormal powers and some form of memory loss. And need I mention the never-ending re-hashing of how the houses looked in Southern California? (We get it, Dean - Spanish-style and stucco!)

I hadn't read any Koontz for at least 10 years, but on a whim picked up Odd Thomas last week. It was an enjoyable read and I liked the protag and the imagery, but I ended up feeling like I had watched a T.V. show, not read a novel.

Still, I think Koontz is an enjoyable author and a good storyteller.

scarletpeaches
07-02-2007, 11:45 PM
I used to be a great fan of his, but knew my fandom was dying off when I started waiting for his books in paperback, or waiting for them to appear in my local library. I just haven't bothered with a few of his books because they're no longer magical and original - they're overwritten with whiter-than-white heroes and heroines.

And JAR, if he's as good as it gets, I fear for your TBR pile. There are a hundred better writers than him out there. I'll still read him because he kills time, even with all his filler, but he's no longer on my must-read list. It's funny, because I seem to remember you saying Ray Bradbury was the best living writer.

Oh well. I guess I'd rather stick to writers who don't have a bad case of wannaguesshowmanynewwordsilearnedinthepastweekitis .

Siddow
07-02-2007, 11:49 PM
He does throw some whopper words out there, doesn't he?

I still loves him. Anyone who can make me eek and lol on the same page is pretty dam good in my book.

scarletpeaches
07-02-2007, 11:50 PM
I'm all for learning new words, but with The Taking and a few others I gave up with checking the dictionary and just wrote up a word list to research at the end of each 'part'. Thing is, if you can skim big words and still get the sense of the story, then are the big words necessary?

Southern_girl29
07-03-2007, 12:18 AM
Lightening used to be my favorite book by him until I read From the Corner of His Eye. It was wonderful. I've read it two or three times since the first, and it just gets better.

He used to be one of my favorites, but I've had trouble getting into some of his newer works. His older stuff, though, I can read over and over again.

auntybug
07-03-2007, 12:31 AM
Oh well. I guess I'd rather stick to writers who don't have a bad case of wannaguesshowmanynewwordsilearnedinthepastweekitis .

OMG!!! Great point! That and someone is always under the "sodium vapor streetlight!":roll:

blacbird
07-03-2007, 02:35 AM
I've tried reading Koontz several times, and for some reason I can't identify, I get tired of his writing style. That doesn't happen with Stephen King, or numerous other "genre" writers I've read, and certainly Koontz is nowhere near as leaden and tone-deaf as, say, Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy, but I just have a bad subliminal problem with his prose.

My oldest daughter thinks he's the god of novelists.

Maybe I'll give another one a go.

caw

althrasher
07-03-2007, 06:13 AM
I've never really read any Stephen King or anyone else, so I can't compare Koontz to other horror writers, but I like him for my part. Especially From the Corner of His Eye--I thought that book was amazing. No one mentioned The Face...I liked that one too.

Jersey Chick
07-03-2007, 06:25 AM
My husband lurves Koontz and has read almost everything the guy wrote. I have only read two of his books - Cold Fire, which kept me up all night until I finished it. Then I teed off because I hated, hated, hated the ending. I lost a night's sleep over that awful ending. Grrr...

Then, about three years ago, hubby convinced me to give Koontz another go. Okay, suck it up and read Tick Tock - which I gave up another night's sleep to finish. I had a couple of problems with it, but all in all, gave it two thumbs up. Of course, I haven't read anything else by him, but hubby is still pushing Intensity, which is his fave.

jonereb
07-03-2007, 03:49 PM
I'm with you, Scarletpeaches. I prefer commonly used words in storytelling. Perhaps I'm lazy. Kootz creates wonderful characters. His writing is crisp. Use of humor, suspense and horror on the same page is thrilling. I may be guilty of taking a book of 350 to 400 pages and attempt to reduce it to 250 pages. I can be impatient at times.

seun
07-03-2007, 04:22 PM
I had to give up on Koontz a while ago. Too much author intrusion, filler and overwriting for me. Some of his books were great fun but eventually, I felt as if I'd been there before.

aadams73
07-03-2007, 07:48 PM
My favorite Koontz are Midnight, Phantoms, and Dark Rivers(of the heart?) Nowadays he's not an autobuy for me, but I do pick up the ones that sound interesting.

Captain Morgan
07-03-2007, 08:28 PM
Wow, that was a lot of responses quick.

I had an interesting morning. First second-hand shop I went into, I found a LOT of Koontz books, but no Funhouse. Looks like this one really didn't catch on, even though there was a movie behind it.

The bookstore lady didn't even realize Koontz had another pen name, and mentioned it was the second time that morning someone had informed her of a writer using another Pen. Anyhow...we looked under both names but couldn't find it. I then went across the street into yet another shop, and low & behold, we found ONE copy of it. The later (blue) cover, and 2.75$ for a copy that looked almost brand new, I can't complain. Thank god I found it cause even the library didn't carry it. Anyhow, I'm off now to read the first chapters (the only parts the critics said was any good *laugh.

Marian Perera
07-03-2007, 09:44 PM
The bookstore lady didn't even realize Koontz had another pen name

Koontz wrote Prison of Ice under the name "David Axton" and Shadowfires under the name "Leigh Nichols". I think he also wrote some Gothic romances under the name "Deanna Dwyer".

Tifferbugz
07-03-2007, 10:57 PM
My husband lurves Koontz and has read almost everything the guy wrote. I have only read two of his books - Cold Fire, which kept me up all night until I finished it. Then I teed off because I hated, hated, hated the ending. I lost a night's sleep over that awful ending. Grrr...

Then, about three years ago, hubby convinced me to give Koontz another go. Okay, suck it up and read Tick Tock - which I gave up another night's sleep to finish. I had a couple of problems with it, but all in all, gave it two thumbs up. Of course, I haven't read anything else by him, but hubby is still pushing Intensity, which is his fave.

Intensity is a great book. It's one of my favorite Kootz books. :)

benbradley
07-03-2007, 11:14 PM
I've not read many of Koontz' novels, though I've got a few around here in my TRQ. My profile response under "Ultimate writing dream" is from 1996 or so, when I was in the supermarket checkout aiisle where there was a display of brand-new hardbacks of "Intensity" with those crazy yellow lines for sale. I knew you didn't get your books displayed there unless you had a reputation for selling lots of books and they expected this one to sell a heck of a lot.

I HAVE read his books on writing, and find them quite interesting. He wrote of changing from Science Fiction to Mainstream for one very specific reason: To make more money.

Captain Morgan
07-04-2007, 04:22 PM
Well, I read up to chapter 3. The prologue was rather the longest section in the book, and probably longer than any prologue I've read before.

I also have to give him credit for using the word 'and' in a sentence the record amount of times, but I guess that is a minute thing. However, I can't help but notice, (as others pointed out) he CONSTANTLY seems to have to restate the color of people's eyes, no matter what is happening.

Interesting enough, we are told Conrad's face features looked like the clown's face on the funhouse, as the artist modeled it from him him. That's great and all, but the only real thing I know regarding how he looks is he has blue eyes from the re-statements earlier. I'm sure he will remind me again later in the book, just incase I happen to forget the eye detail.

And another thing, people's eyes tend to only be blue or green so far. Any chance I run into brown eyes? :P

Toxic_Waste
07-06-2007, 07:10 AM
There is only one real book of his that has interest to me, which is The Funhouse. It was not his idea by any means, but an adaptation from the horror script which made it to the screen. But since the movie has some sentimental value to me, etc. I am planning to pick up a copy of the book.

Captain M, the movie means something to me, too. I'd like to read that book when you are finished.

BlueTexas
07-07-2007, 02:43 AM
I think I'm the odd one out - I started reading Koontz with Odd Thomas, and am enjoying his more recent books more than his older work.

Captain Morgan
07-07-2007, 06:41 AM
Captain M, the movie means something to me, too. I'd like to read that book when you are finished.

Alright, I promise not to throw it out then when I am done.

Right now, I'm about 1/3 of the way through it. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be a very long time before the protagonist even ends up in the funhouse! That's a shame, as it was my favourite element in the movie.

Toxic_Waste
07-07-2007, 07:15 AM
I don't like it when things take forever to get going.

Captain Morgan
07-09-2007, 08:23 PM
Update. Right now I am halfway through the book. Finding myself VERY bored. I decided instead of focusing on the grindingly slow pace of the story, to look more at his form of grammar. This is something I read suggested on the forums.

I didn't realize until now, how poor the writing structure of this novel really is. Or maybe it just got poorer in the middle of the book. Koontz seems to break every single rule of grammar I was taught to avoid. Now I understand style, and maybe he is well aware of what he is doing and doesn't care, I don't know.

I have to admit, it seems strange when a regular sentence has TEN commas inside it! Or when you have numerous tiny 1-2 sentence paragraphs, and then stick in a 1.5 page long paragraph. Though, variance is good, and maybe that's ok to break up the repititious patterns, why go into extremes?

The last chapter I read had the mother of long sentences I have ever read in my life! The one sentence spanned about 1.3 pages in length. No breaks, all one sentence!

I just don't know. I would have certainly failed class in grade 5 had I written in this manner. I wonder if Koontz just did it as a joke. Maybe he had a bet going with someone, "Hey, bet you can't break all those editing rules and get away with it!"

In any case, I think it's obvious Koontz won the bet. Though he did have to publish it under a Pen Name, which now could explain some things...

And then again.... what do I know about writing a best seller. I'm one who still worries about getting my own grammar perfect yet I have 0 books under my belt so far. I of course have a lot to learn...

Siddow
07-09-2007, 08:29 PM
Before you write off Koontz, please read Midnight and/or Odd Thomas.

Midnight has a prologue, cleverly disguised as Chapter One.

auntybug
07-09-2007, 08:34 PM
Fun House is on my short list of books of his I don't like. You'll get through but do pick up another - he does have some great stuff. I pick on the big words and the streetlight line (maybe thats like his eyes thing......) but he does have some good stuff out there. Try Odd Thomas when you're done. :)

***OK - I typed slow. Key to midnight is good too!

BlueTexas
07-09-2007, 08:42 PM
Before you write off Koontz, please read Midnight and/or Odd Thomas.

Midnight has a prologue, cleverly disguised as Chapter One.

I really disliked Midnight, but loved Odd. Also, I just finished Winter Moon, and it was more like Midnight. Dissapointing. I want to go back to Pico Mundo!

Toxic_Waste
07-10-2007, 10:20 PM
Captain M, are you sure the movie Fun House was based on the book of the same name? I haven't checked into it. Even if it was, movie versions are often nothing like the books. Even the movie Jaws had several changes that I did not like. And look at Interview with a Vampire...in the book the story was Louie's but the movie seemed to be mostly about Lestat.

I always prefer the books to the movies, but that's probably because my own imagination fills in the gaps, whereas movies just lay it out for you, take it or leave it. No room for imagination when you watch a movie.

Captain Morgan
08-20-2007, 07:23 AM
Well, it has been a while so I am now bumping this one up to the top. I finally did get around to finishing this book after a little break.

Yes, I was very let down also by the ending. I can only conclude he got tired of writing it and just wanted it to STOP!

I also am not happy that hardly anything at all happened in the funhouse except for the last few pages. Sad.... so sad, I feel like I have been false-advertised again!

Now, if only I got a dollar for every page that Koontz describes the color of someone's eyes....

There is however, one interesting tidbit in the book. The last chapter was included where he talks about writing the book, and some data regarding the movie.

He admits he was a very poor writer before, and nothing he wrote was selling under his own name. Though somehow he was offered to write a novel for Tobe Hooper's film (despite scrip was already completed). Being a failing writer, how could he refuse the deal?

Interestingly, the movie was delayed 4 months, so the novel was out 4 months on its own, but it SOLD! The turning point in his career. Though the publisher used a pen name, Owen West as they wanted to create a new writer name and get it aquainted with the public.

The novel sold, until the movie came out, where it instantly plummeted and no one bothered having the book on the shelves anymore, which was a bizzaire twist from the norm. He still blames Tobe Hooper in some way for that...

Then by another ironic twist, the Dean Koontz books eventually started to sell, but those under the pen name Owen West did not do very well. So what happened? The publishers stripped off the pen name, put it to rest in the grave, and slapped on 'Dean Koontz'. Suddenly, those same books sold again.

Typical... once again we see how books are sold by name.... NOT by content. So sad, but that's the literary public for you.

At least Koontz admitted that he refuses reprints of some of his older stuff, stating that he admits in his younger writer years his inexperience lead him to write such poor works, that he wont even let them be brought to life. Despite they'd probably make money.

Danger Jane
08-20-2007, 10:30 PM
I'm a Dean Koontz fan, yes. The first book of his I read was Life Expectancy. I picked it up in the airport and didn't stop reading till I was done. I loved Lightning and Odd Thomas and yes, also Velocity. He owns James Patterson, as far as bestsellers go.

Toxic_Waste
08-21-2007, 08:01 PM
One thing I don't understand, is if an author wrote crap in his or her early years, how did it get published in the first place? This is something I just can't figure out. I am not talking about self-publishing, but getting picked up by major publishing houses.

And does it mean that given a chance, even the author of a poorly-written book can be developed into a best selling sensation? (I know that isn't exactly true, but from what Captain Morgan said about Koontz's experience in the publishing world, it sure sounds that way.)

Seems like we often hear about famous authors' early work being not-so-good. Maybe in the old days, the publishers had more money to spend on projects that were not outstanding.

BarbJ
08-21-2007, 08:27 PM
I loved Koontz's earlier works, but then read two not-so-good ones in a row and wrote him off. Sounds as though I need to go back again. (Can't remember the names of the two; I just remember one was about a heroine I didn't identify with spending a lot of time tied to the underside of a table. I never got so bored with a table.)

The first of the "loved" category I read was Watchers, the second was Twilight Eyes. I recommend them. (And I have no objection to talking dogs.) I did read Funhouse; it's not his best, but it was a good read back then. As this thread makes obvious, everyone's taste is different, even when the books are by one author. Sample from the ones recommended in this thread, and enjoy.

(Re. Funhouse - I haven't checked, but is it on Amazon? They often have old books from other sources. The book is often cheap, the S&H is where the money is made, usually about $5. I'm snapping up old John Dickson Carr's right now, as my budget allows. Or sometimes, as it doesn't allow...) :D

NicoleB
09-07-2010, 01:22 PM
What do you think about his books here lately?

I'm so disappointed, and I'm a die hard Koontzie. I've noticed that they've started to become the same book over and over and over. Why, why, why?

I used to look forward to every Koontz release, but I don't even want to read BREATHLESS because I'm afraid to see that it's like all the others.

Was I just blind all the years that I adored him? I hope not. :(

brainstorm77
09-07-2010, 08:50 PM
Relentless was decent.

benbradley
09-07-2010, 10:15 PM
I have a lot of catching up to do on Koontz' books. I haven't even gotten through Starblood.

Calla Lily
09-07-2010, 10:25 PM
I loved his early stuff, but after awhile they all seemed to be the same plot with different characters (one always rich) and The Perfect Dog. He got a little heavy-handed with the religion for me too. Right now I'm rereading Strange Highways which I loved despite its shmaltziness, but now it seems maudlin more than lovely. :(

My favorites of his were Lightning and Phantoms. From the Corner of His Eye, not so much. Midnight was creepy and interesting, if a bit long. Watchers was the book that first made me think he's using the same plot with swap-out Lego-like characters (including The Perfect Dog). The end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it book just annoyed me. (Can't remember the name; it was the one that started out with the blue snowfall.)

I'm always sad when a favorite author starts grinding them out.

Jess Haines
09-07-2010, 11:59 PM
Haven't read any new stuff since DEMON SEED.

That put me off the rest of his work. =/

benbradley
09-08-2010, 12:10 AM
Haven't read any new stuff since DEMON SEED.

That put me off the rest of his work. =/
Was that the short SF novel that was made into a movie, or was that the much longer, rewritten "mainstream" version? That's one story he actually recycled rather than just buying the rights back and not reprinting as he did with other early books in an attempt to erase his in-the-SF-ghetto past and become a popular mainstream writer. Actually, it looks like that plan succeeded.

Jess Haines
09-08-2010, 11:58 PM
Not sure. It was the one with the chick who was being coveted/lusted after/whatever by an A.I. computer. That somehow takes over a dude implanted with a chip in his brain as part of a government experiment and uses him to kidnap/almost rape/impregnate her.

Wut.

No rly.

Wut.

I bought it back when anything that had his name on it was an autobuy. I go back to reread SHADOWS and PHANTOMS and DRAGON TEARS now and then, but... meh. Nothing new since that book.

scarletpeaches
09-09-2010, 12:00 AM
I used to love, love, love him but now he's gone all "Look how many big, obscure words I know and aren't dogs wonderful?"

No, Dean. No.

You're a wordy show-off and sometimes a dog is just a fucking dog.

Noah Body
09-09-2010, 12:29 AM
LOL! I have noticed he's very fond of the word "sluice", and it's a winner about five times per book.

hester
09-09-2010, 01:07 AM
Loved Whispers. Early work, creepy in the extreme. Some of the more recent stuff has been hit or miss for me, but I loved From the Corner of His Eye.

LaurieD
09-09-2010, 02:30 AM
My love of Dean Koontz's stories started with Cold Fire and The Bad Place in 1992.

Favorite would be Strangers.

But lately...

Breathless made me want to heave it across the room. Huge, huge dissapointment.

And I have to agree with you on the interchangeable characters - a lot of his more recent books have been that way.

brainstorm77
09-09-2010, 02:41 AM
Well let me warn you that there is a weird dog in Relentless! LOL

Marian Perera
09-09-2010, 02:52 AM
I love his older books - Midnight, The Door to December, Whispers, Phantoms, The Voice of the Night.

After that it was all perfect protagonists, precocious kids and adorable dogs, wrapped up in a copy of Roget's Thesaurus.

batyler65
09-11-2010, 05:27 AM
I liked Odd Thomas, but none of the sequels. They all struck me as something done on the fly because well they were going to have Dean Koontz on the cover, so they were sure to sell. Bleah.

I always found his work to be hit or miss for me, though.

benbradley
09-11-2010, 07:40 AM
Not sure. It was the one with the chick who was being coveted/lusted after/whatever by an A.I. computer. That somehow takes over a dude implanted with a chip in his brain as part of a government experiment and uses him to kidnap/almost rape/impregnate her.

Wut.

No rly.

Wut.

I bought it back when anything that had his name on it was an autobuy. I go back to reread SHADOWS and PHANTOMS and DRAGON TEARS now and then, but... meh. Nothing new since that book.

I think I have the original in hardcover, it's short, maybe 60k. I saw/had the rewritten one in MMPB, he had a page or two with an intro telling how he had expanded it, bla bla bla, I'm guessing it was twice as long.

It's funny, I also have his writing books, there's a section on titles, there was something about "Dragon" this and that, he said the same word should only be used in at most three titles, but I recall counting, since that time he's published a fourth "Dragon" book. Rules are rules until a publisher pays you to break them.

But there's the "a big little life" or whatever it was a year ago, a non-fiction book about his dog. I bought it brand new when it came out, and read it in a couple of days - really enjoyed it. Wish he'd write more nonfiction.

rebelcheese
09-11-2010, 09:30 AM
I think that once Trixie died Dean Koontz's writing quality collapsed. He had some "hit and miss" stuff previously but he usually kept some semblance of originality. Since "The Darkest Evening of the Year" (his worst novel to date IMO), his work have become absolute chores to sift through. The 4th Odd Thomas book was little fun and made even less sense, "I Will Possess Your Heart" started off decent and then went off the rails, "Relentless" was basically him raging against his critics, and "Breathless" was boring and harkened back to the "The Perfect Dog" meandering/derailment that made up the entirety of "The Darkest Evening".

He's had good stuff, even in his later work. But when Trixie died it's like he hit a wall.

scarletpeaches
09-11-2010, 05:45 PM
I've never heard of anyone's muse being a dog before, but to be honest...I think the slide happened years ago, when he learned big words and disappeared up his own thesaurus.

Haggis
09-11-2010, 06:12 PM
I've never heard of anyone's muse being a dog before, but to be honest...I think the slide happened years ago, when he learned big words and disappeared up his own thesaurus.
This. And the constant references to architecture. It drives me nuts.

The "dogs are wonderful" stuff is only partially redeeming.

scarletpeaches
09-11-2010, 06:14 PM
The wonder-dogs put me off.

I don't like dogs; they're not for me. Nothing really against them though. But Koontz's books border on the fanatical when it comes to anything canine. Okay, we get it. You love dogs. Tell a new fucking story, man.

Satori1977
09-11-2010, 06:51 PM
Wow, I was just thinking about this topic the other day because I started reading Relentless...and got only a few pages in before putting it down.

I love his earlier work. Ten years ago I would have said he was my favorite author. I would buy any new book of his on the shelf without even reading the back. He is one of the reasons I wanted to write. If I started to read one of his novels, I would often read it straight through. Now I can ony get a few pages in?

What happened? Every story now has a goofy but lovable male MC who miraculously lands this beautiful, but spunky woman. If there is a kid, s/he is either disabled or a genius. And there is always an intelligent, almost human dog.

He used to be so different, now he is one of the most formulaic writers out there. Now I love dogs. I mean really love dogs, I am a huge animal lover. I have a 13 year old german shepherd that has been with me through the toughest times in my life. There was a period when I only had him, and he is going to die soon. The thought sends me into a panic. I will completely lose it when he dies, so I understand Koontz being upset. Trixie was not just a dog to him.

But srsly man, let it go. If this has anything to do with his writing as of late, move on. Grieve, yes, but don't share it with the world. Do it in private, with your wife. Stop talking about dogs and how amazing they are in every single book! And I say this as a dog lover. Can't imagine how people that don't get dogs would feel about these books.

As far as Relentless goes, wangst much, Mr Koontz? Oh no, critics are evil, if they say anything bad about your books, they are either too stupid to understand them, or haven't bothered to read them. All I kept thinking was he must have gotten bad reviews lately, so this is his way of acting out. Throwing a temper tantrum of sorts. Very self-indulgent. I think this might be the first book of his ever that I don't finish.

ETA: I think Watchers is his best novel. Now that story needed the dog, and the dog needed to be anthropomorphized for the story to work. But the dogs in almost every story since could have been left out.

scarletpeaches
09-11-2010, 06:54 PM
I've got a few of his books. Half of them I've read, the others I've...attempted.

I think it says a lot that I used to buy in hardback as soon as they were released. I even enjoyed the much-maligned The Taking, but that was a rare enjoyment for me.

He's been downgraded to a paperback buy now, or a library borrow. I've had one or two DNF's, because his books are so samey. I feel preached at.

Susan Littlefield
09-16-2010, 09:27 AM
Dean darling can write anything he darned well pleases and I'll read it. I love his writing! :D

Camilla Delvalle
09-16-2010, 11:52 AM
A long time ago I read The Servants of Twilight. I remember it as suspenseful.

seun
09-16-2010, 01:21 PM
I gave up on Koontz years ago. Far too much author intrusion for me. Plus even then I felt like I was reading the same book over and over. Based on some of the reviews I've read on Amazon, for example, I haven't missed much.

Ingvanye
02-17-2011, 10:48 AM
I had a dog who took my heart. A German Shepherd named Storm. He was stolen and shot, then dumped in a local cemetery with a pile of other stolen Shepherds.
He was my buddy.

I totally get where Koontz is coming from.

shelleyo
02-17-2011, 11:04 AM
I bought it back when anything that had his name on it was an autobuy. I go back to reread SHADOWS and PHANTOMS and DRAGON TEARS now and then, but... meh. Nothing new since that book.

I'm not sure if it's because you think that's the road he started going down, or if the topic just makes you squick now everytime you think of him. Demon Seed was one of his earliest works that was re-released with a new cover and everything a long, long time ago, which explains a lot. It was nowhere near the quality of something like Phantoms (my favorite of his), Midnight, Watchers, Lightning, or even some of his other early stuff like Servants of Twilight. If it's just the squick-factor that put you off, yeah, when he wrote it really doesn't matter.

I was a die-hard fan from the day I read Darkfall and couldn't get enough. I read his back catalogue as fast as I could find them at the used bookstore or library, and then pined for every new release. The last books I read were From the Corner of His Eye, in hardcover. I didn't much care for that one, but I can handle an occasional disappointment. It's that each one was a little less satisfying.

The one that did me in, I think , was Moonlight, which had some nice parts but had a child character that I could not believe in at all (if that's the right book). I found myself in disbelief through much of it. I know characters can't be ordinary, but this one was just too far out for me.

Shelley

Jess Haines
02-18-2011, 12:57 AM
I hadn't realized it was earlier work. At the time it looked like a new release.

Content/subject matter squicked me. Bought it one day while I was browsing the bookstore. Never looked back.

I do have to say, though, there was a point where a lot of his books felt like reading the same story over and over again for me. That was just the final straw. Not to say I don't appreciate ANY of his work, DEMON SEED was just the end for me.

Might go back to retry newer Koontz stuff at some point, but my TBR pile is already at the point where it's about to swallow me whole, so I don't see it being anytime soon.

shelleyo
02-18-2011, 02:36 AM
Demon Seed was his first "hit," I think. It was turned into a movie I remember seeing when I was probably too young to have seen it. I think he wrote it in the early 70s and the movie was made a few years later. I didn't see it until the early 80s, when I was a young teen and it was on TV.

Apparently, the re-released version in the 1990s was rewritten almost completely (I didn't realize that at the time) and actually toned down the squicky sexual stuff. Wow?

I agree about reading the same book over and over. His latest Amazon reviews tell the tale, I think. Seems most aren't that excited about his stuff anymore. Such a shame, because when he was in his heyday, he was my favorite.

Shelley

Jess Haines
02-19-2011, 12:56 AM
Really? I had no idea there were movies involved, too. Huh.

I read the whole thing mostly out of morbid curiosity. I have a tendency to pick up WTFery and finish it rather than put it down because it puts me off. Don't ask me why. Doing the same thing with this one book right now (ADORA), which is the most rapetastic piece of literature I have ever put my hands on.

I do like Koontz's style. I would like to pick up more of his work some day, but when I have more time and after I have chipped away at the stuff in my own genre that I've been dying to get to.

cmi0616
02-19-2011, 11:14 PM
I'm a HUGE Odd Thomas fan, but his other work has failed to impress the way those books did. Especially the first one.

cmi0616
02-19-2011, 11:16 PM
Relentless was decent.

It was decent, but a little too far-fetched for my taste. He had me for the first half of it, but the ending was if-y, for a lack of a better word.

brainstorm77
02-19-2011, 11:23 PM
It was decent, but a little to far-fetched for my taste. He had me for the first half of it, but the ending was if-y, for a lack of a better word.

Yeah, I agree. I didn't like the ending.

fireluxlou
02-19-2011, 11:24 PM
I read Hideaway and have the film of it.

I was obsessed with it and the book. Would repeatedly watch it over and over. I always thought his writing was trying to be like Stephen King's though.

Satori1977
02-20-2011, 03:09 AM
I love his style of writing, just think his books are getting too predictable. I have only read the first two Odd books, should read the rest. And his early ones, especially Watchers, I can read over and over again. Wish they would make a movie out of it that stays true to the story.

I really don't see his writing style to be at all like King's. I will never get why they get compared.

grandmastertuck
03-23-2011, 10:12 PM
Phantoms, Lightning, and of course TICK TOCK, one of my top ten. Because it's so damn oddball. I love it. I even love the stupid uberdog in it.

Satori1977
04-16-2011, 11:41 PM
Just read What the Night Knows, his newest (I think). And it was excellent. His best book in years, IMO. Reminded me of his earlier books, that same style. I really hope this means he is getting back to his roots and writing great books again.

scarletpeaches
04-17-2011, 01:17 AM
Don't think that's out here yet. Will have to keep an eye out for it. What's it about, Satori?

And more importantly - is there a psychic dog in this book? :D

Satori1977
04-17-2011, 02:16 AM
This is from Goodreads:

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy.

Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family—his wife and three children—will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer.

As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return.

Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground. Of all his acclaimed novels, none exceeds What the Night Knows in power, in chilling suspense, and in sheer mesmerizing storytelling

Yes, there is a dog, kind of. The family had a dog that had died, and is brought up a little bit. Also, the kids are a little precocious (as usual in his books). But I could overlook all that because the story was that good. It was hard to put down. And I love a good ghost story. But it was unlike any ghost story I have read.

scarletpeaches
04-17-2011, 02:19 AM
I have about four unread Koontzes in my house, but if you say this new one reads like a return to form for him, I'll probably be tempted to buy rather than library-borrow.

Satori1977
04-17-2011, 02:37 AM
I used to buy his books outright, and most of the ones I own I have reread many times. Watchers is by far my favorite. But the last couple I had bought just didn't feel the same, so I stopped buying them. Picked this one up at the library on a whim, and seriously couldn't put it down. I will probably buy it myself. No one was more disappointed in where his books were going than me, he was always one of my favorite writers. I am now excited to read his books again.

Oh, a little off topic, but last weekend he did a rare interview for a Sunday morning show. The showed his personal library in his house, and I was so jealous. It was beautiful!

NicoleB
05-09-2011, 02:24 AM
I just read What the Night Knows and I am very impressed. It's reminiscent of what he used to right. Thank god.

JCornelius
11-20-2014, 11:33 AM
Baam!--thread necromancy :D
If we divide the 'horror' genre into three subcategories: sci-fi, psycho, and supernatural, it will turn out many people prefer a specific subcategory. I myself am in the B sci-fi flick camp, and very much like the contributions of Mr. Koontz in this subgenre. Night Chills, The Bad Place, Winter Moon--terrific stuff. His prose does not have the spontaneous grace Mr. King's used to have in his high-flying days, but it certainly has it's turbo-pulp dense baroque charm. I am a great fan of his books and read them both for kicks and for study.