The undisputed master of pulpy paperback thrillers, Dean Koontz’s books have sold nearly 450 million copies worldwide. Die-hard Koontz fans revel in the mounting suspense of his work, peppered with elements of science fiction, horror, even romance. Here at The Lineup we’re only concerned with the most terrifying work. Without further ado, here are the most horrifying Dean Koontz books.
The mind of a depraved serial killer is at the heart of this novel. Edgar Foreman Vess’s penchant for murder and mayhem knows no bounds. But he’s met his match in Chyna Shepard, who has been the victim before. Now she’s determined to prove she’s a survivor, even if it means taking down a prolific murderer on her own before he strikes again.
Stephen King is a big fan of this inventive thriller about a mountain town that harbors some terrifying secrets. First, there are the bodies: 150 people dead and another 350 missing. The corpses they can find seem to have suffered some kind of disease, as they lay swollen, still warm to the touch. When the survivors realize all this death can’t be explained by an epidemic, they (and the reader) almost don’t want to know the truth.
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Fans of horror stories about nature gone berserk, like Stephen King’s The Mist, or religious reckonings like The Leftovers, will find much to freak out at with this novel. Climate change is most definitely real for Molly and Neil Sloan. In fact, their entire community feels that their days re numbered. The thick fog means life may not be sustainable for much longer. And, when the survivors find out what the mist contains, they realize it’s the full-blown apocalypse.
Humanity finds itself being picked off by a group of deadly, human-like beasts. It all begins in the community of Moonlight Cove where a strange series of murders has everyone on edge. If the boogeymen don’t get you, the terror of being hunted will. A group of survivors comes together to uncover the origin of these strange, but familiar monsters.
Throughout her life, Laura has been haunted by the figure of a blond man who appears at moments of danger. He seems a force of security; yet menace follows him whenever he appears. Is the man a guardian angel or a demon out to destroy everyone and everything Laura holds dear? This epic thriller has something for everyone: historical fiction, romance, time travel, and chills galore.
The book that launched Koontz’s career, Demon Seed is a sci-fi thriller that takes place in the future (1995–the book was published in 1973) when computers run every aspect of our lives. Sounds familiar. Susan is a divorcée who finds herself the object of the mainframe’s affections, which is all fun and games until the computer decides he’d like to impregnate her with his technological offspring.
Featured photo from the audiobook of "Deeply Odd" by Dean Koontz