by Johnny Carlton
Copyright 2012 Johnny Giesbrecht
Johnny Carlton is a writer of suspense thrillers available as e-books at www.amazon.com
I became a Dean Koontz fan in 2002 after reading his novel titled, FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE. Since then I’ve read about fifty-five of his lengthy thrillers. Why did I get so hooked?
I suppose there are a lot of things about Koontz’s writings that have made him a best-selling author, such as his direct, intense approach to the subject matter, his fascinating characterizations, and his original concepts. But there are two main points that make up the biggest attraction for me.
First, Koontz adds a spiritual dimension to all of his stories so that his characters are more like most people in real life who, after all, sometimes think about God and the matters of good and evil. This is a realistic element that is strikingly lacking in most novels, including thrillers, so that it almost seems as though these authors are writing stories about intelligent, humanoid animals rather than about human beings. But Koontz, whether he’s presenting a serial killer, a struggling priest, or a husband and wife and their child fleeing from said serial killer, never forgets that human beings are free-willed agents needing to take responsibility for their spiritual and moral decisions. Reading a Dean Koontz story, you get the feeling that you’re experiencing a fuller, more complete representation of human life on this planet.
The second big point that drew me to Koontz is his sense of humor. His thrillers are pretty heavy stuff, even gross at times, but that doesn’t prevent him from injecting them with ongoing clever and funny observations on the part of his characters, in their thoughts and in their dialogue.
The only thing I don’t like about Koontz’s books is the way some of his characters use the words, Jesus, Christ, God, and other references to deity as negative expressions–even though Koontz is obviously pro-Christian. I have noticed, however, that there seems to be a lot less of that kind of irreverent dialogue in his later books than in his earlier ones.
I have no problem with the usage of rough and foul language by some of his characters. That kind of realism helps to make the stories convincing. (I know the same thing could be said about characters using the Lord’s name in a bad way; it’s just that I can’t stand it.)
How much has my own writing been influenced by Koontz? Less than readers might think. When I first discovered Koontz I was already writing in a way that brought out the fact that human beings have a spiritual, moral side to them. And as for the humor, I think it was mainly Charles Dickens’ works that steered me in that direction. His stories dealt with serious matters too, but he was never far away from bringing in remarks like, “Her purse snapped shut like a bite,” and something about how a particular large dog, if he wanted to, could swallow a small dog “like a pill.” (I think both of these references are from DAVID COPPERFIELD.) It wouldn’t surprise me at all if I learned that Dean Koontz had at some time in his life read a lot of Charles Dickens.
In any case, I hope to continue to read a lot of Dean Koontz.