The other week I blogged about my top three books by Stephen King (read about it here). At the time I wasn’t sure if I had picked the best three, and in hindsight I should definitely have picked Deadzone instead of The Stand, but that’s how it goes.
Dean Koontz on the other hand was far easier, even though he is even more prolific than Mr King. There are so many books that I could have included. The Nameless series which I only finished late last year (read about it here) or Odd Thomas (one of the very few Dean Koontz books to have been made into a film, and very good it is too) are both books I could easily have included, along with half a dozen others. That’s not to say all of his books are great. His Frankenstein series didn’t really work for me. However, I think that my top three choices are likely to remain as my top three.
First up is Phantoms. My Uncle was an avid reader of horror books and he gave me a whole box of them when I was about 18. Phantoms was one of them and it was one of those rare books that genuinely unnerved me, in much the same way that The Day of the Triffids did many years earlier.
A young woman returns to her small town to find the place deserted. Everyone has disappeared, much like the Marie Celeste, with dinners half eaten and still warm. She manages to phone the sheriff from the next town over who brings most of his men, many of whom don’t survive. They search the deserted town and find a clue written on a mirror by the owner of a bookstore. The clue is the name of a book, which is all about disappearances throughout history all over the world.
A scary book with a few good twists along the way. Next up is probably the most well known of all of Mr Koontz’s books, Watchers. A lonely man is out walking in the woods and comes upon a dog, who is far more intelligent than he appears to be. The dog saves the man from some unknown terror in the woods, and then the two of them be-friend a lonely woman. The three of them save each other and work together to find out just how intelligent their furry friend is, and try to discover where he came from. The obvious answer is that he escaped from a government facility, along with his ferocious evil counter part.
Many of Dean Koontz’s books feature dogs, but this is easily the best. My lovely wife, who isn’t a fan of horror books, enjoyed Watchers as well.
Finally we have Dark Rivers of the Heart, a very dark dystopian thriller. No supernatural or sci-fi elements in the book, although there is a psychopathic government paid killer. The main character used to be a cop, but left after killing someone. He travels around and meets an interesting woman who is being chased by a secretive organisation. He tries to help her, but is out of his depth and she ends up having to help him. The book is dark, and you get the feeling that the secret government higher-ups have read George Orwell’s 1984 and have thought that it was a ‘how to’ manual. Another very good book with a very unexpected turn towards the end.
Here ends my top three books by Dean Koontz and I’m fairly happy that my choice will not change over the next few months or years, unless of course his next book is an absolute killer.
Currently reading American Gods (the extended version) by Neil Gaiman, and Thin Air: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver.