Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945) is a prolific American author best known for his novels which could be described broadly as suspense thrillers. He also frequently incorporates elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and satire. A number of his books have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, with 12 hardcovers and 14 paperbacks reaching the number one slot. Early in his career, Koontz wrote under an array of pen names, such as David Axton, Gerda Ann Cerra, and Brian Coffey.
Koontz was born on July 9, 1945, in Everett, Pennsylvania. He describes his youth as one of poverty under the abuse of a father who was more worried about his bacchanal acts rather than his own family. In his senior year at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, he won a fiction competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly magazine. After graduation in 1967, he went to work as an English teacher at Mechanicsburg High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s, Koontz worked for the Appalachian Poverty Program, a federally funded initiative designed to help poor children. In a 1996 interview with Reason Magazine, he said that while the program sounded "very noble and wonderful, . . ....