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Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945) is an American author. His novels are billed as suspense thrillers, but frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Many of his books have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list, with 14 hardcovers and 16 paperbacks reaching the number-one position. Koontz wrote under a number of pen names earlier in his career, including "David Axton", "Deanna Dwyer", "K.R. Dwyer", "Leigh Nichols" and "Brian Coffey". He has published over 105 novels, a number of novellas and collections of short stories, and has sold over 450 million copies of his work.

Koontz was born on July 9, 1945, in Everett, Pennsylvania, the son of Florence (née Logue) and Raymond Koontz. He has said that he was regularly beaten and abused by his alcoholic father, which influenced his later writing, as also did the courage of his physically diminutive mother in standing up to her husband. In his senior year at Shippensburg State College, 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, ... in reality, it was a dumping ground for violent children ... and most of the funding ended up 'disappearing somewhere.'" This experience greatly shaped Koontz's political outlook. In his book, The Dean Koontz Companion, he recalled that he

"... realized that most of these programs are not meant to help anyone, merely to control people and make them dependent. I was forced to reconsider everything I'd once believed. I developed a profound distrust of government regardless of the philosophy of the people in power. I remained a liberal on civil-rights issues, became a conservative on defense, and a semi-libertarian on all other matters."
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