Dean Koontz

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Fear is a hammer, and when the people are beaten finally to the conviction that their existence hangs by a frayed thread, they will be led where they need to go. – The Good Guy (2007)

Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945), also known under a number of pseudonyms, including Leigh Nichols, is an American writer best known as a prolific and best-selling author of suspense novels.

Quotes[edit]

  • When it came to formal classes, I was a slacker. But I've always been a diligent autodidact and can teach myself virtually any subject — if I have a serious interest in it.

The Voice of the Night (1980)[edit]

Berkley, 1991, ISBN 0-425-12816-4

  • You've got to stay sharp, on your toes, alert. Always look over your shoulder. Always protect yourself. Don't let your guard down for even a second. There are people who will take advantage of you the moment they see you're not in control. The world's filled with people like that. Nearly everyone you meet is like that. We're animals in a jungle, and we've got to be prepared to fight if we want to survive. You can't trust hardly anyone, hardly anyone at all. Even people who are supposed to like you can turn on you faster than you think. Even friends. People who say they love you are the worst, the most dangerous, the most untrustworthy of all. People who say they love you will pounce when they get the chance. You gotta always remember that they're just waiting for the opportunity to get you. Love's a trick. A cover. A way to catch you off guard. Never let down your guard. Never.
    • Page 53

Watchers (1987)[edit]

  • It's so damn hard to bloom… to change. Even when you want to change, want it more than anything in the world, it's hard. Desire to change isn't enough. Or desperation. Couldn't be done without… love.
    • Part 1, Chapter 7.5; Nora's comment on her changes since meeting Travis
  • Did you get the leash on him yet, Einstein?
    • Part 1, Chapter 7.6; Nora's query during Travis's futile struggle to leash human-smart dog Einstein
  • Evidently, Ted had walked down the block from his own house and entered with the intention of fixing something. Now Ted was broken, too, and beyond repair.
    • Part 1, Chapter 7.7; about the death of Travis's landlord, Ted Hockney
  • As an attorney, I assure you the law isn't a line engraved in marble, immovable and unchangeable through the centuries. Rather… the law is like a string, fixed at both ends but with a great deal of play in it — very loose, the line of the law — so you can stretch it this way or that, rearrange the arc of it so you are nearly always — short of blatant theft or cold-blooded murder — safely on the right side. That's a daunting thing to realize but true.
    • Part 1, Chapter 7.8; Garrison Dilworth reassuring the Cornells during their flight
  • … mankind has no right to employ its genius in the creation of another intelligent species, then treat it like property. If we've come so far that we can create as God creates, then we have to learn to act with the justice and mercy of God.
    • Part 1, Chapter 7.8; Garrison Dilworth on the responsibility to help keep Einstein free
  • I thought of you as my guardian, Einstein… you taught me that I'm your guardian, too, that I'm Travis's guardian, and he is my guardian and yours. We have a responsibility to stand watch over one another, we are watchers, all of us, watchers, guarding against the darkness. You've taught me that we're all needed, even those who sometimes think we're worthless, plain, and dull.
    • Part 2, Chapter 9.2; Nora to an ill and unresponsive Einstein at the veterinary clinic

Lightning (1988)[edit]

  • In a crunch a man's reputation never counts for as much as it ought to. Most people are good-hearted and willing to give a man the benefit of the doubt, but the poisonous few are eager to see others brought down, ruined. … Envy, Bob. Envy eats them alive. If you had money, they'd envy you that. But since you don't, they envy you for having such a good, bright, loving daughter. They envy you for just being a happy man. They envy you for not envying them. One of the greatest sorrows of human existence is that some people aren't happy merely to be alive but find their happiness only in the misery of others.
    • Part I, Chapter 1.2, the mysterious stranger's words to Bob Shane
  • "Maybe Nina wouldn't have died if I hadn't moved in with them and drawn Sheener after me, but I can't feel guilty about that. I tried hard to be a good foster daughter to them, and they were happy with me. What happened was that life dropped a big custard pie on us, and that's not my fault; you can never see the custard pies coming. It's not good slapstick if you see the pie coming."
    "Custard pie?" he asked, perplexed. "You see life as a slapstick comedy? Like the Three Stooges?"
    "Partly."
    "Life is just a joke then?"
    "No. Life is serious and a joke at the same time."
    "But how can that be?"
    "If you don't know," she said, "maybe I should be the one asking the questions here."
    • Part I, Chapter 2.10, dialog between 12-year-old Laura Shane and a psychotherapist after the death of her foster mother
  • "But there are two things that different kinds of people believe that are the worst, most dangerous, wrongest of all. Some people believe that the best way to solve a problem is with violence; they beat up or kill anyone who disagrees with them."
    … "But what's the other worst kind of bad thinking?"
    "Pacifism," she said. "That's just the opposite of the first kind of bad thinking. Pacificists believe that you should never lift a hand against another human being, no matter what he has done or what you know he's going to do." … "Some pacificists are cowards in disguise, but some really believe it's right to permit the murder of an innocent person rather than kill to stop it. They're wrong because by not fighting evil, they've become part of it."
    • Part II, Chapter 5.1; conversation between Laura and her son Chris
  • "They can hopscotch around us," Chris told Laura. They can pop ahead in time to see where we show up, then they pick and choose the easiest place along the time stream to ambush us. It's sorta like… if we were the cowboys and the Indians were all psychic."
    • Part II, Chapter 5.4; 8-year-old Chris considering the time-travellers' strategy for catching them
  • A fanatic is a nut who has something to believe in.
    • Part II, Chapter 6.4; Laura's explanation to Chris
  • How can you hope to win against goddamn time travelers? It's like playing blackjack when the dealer is God. … Come to think of it, all of life is a blackjack game with God as the dealer, isn't it? So this is no worse.
    • Part II, Chapter 6.12; Laura's musings

Midnight (1989)[edit]

  • Your sense of responsibility to others can never be excessive.
    • Harry Talbot; Part II, chapter 29, p. 287 Koontz, Dean (1989). Midnight (1st edition ed.). New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 383 pages. ISBN 0-399-13390-9. 

The Bad Place (1990)[edit]

  • Bobby noticed two colorful charts posted on the wall near the refrigerator. The first displayed each kid's grades and major test results since the start of the school year in September. The other was a list of household chores for which each child was responsible. … Some attributed Asian-Americans' success to a conspiracy, but Bobby saw the simple explanation for their achievements everywhere in the Phan house: They tried harder. They embraced the ideals upon which the country had been based — including hard work, honesty, goal-oriented self-denial, and the freedom to be whatever one wanted to be. Ironically, their great success was partly due to the fact that so many born Americans had become cynical about those same ideals.
    • Chapter 32

Fear Nothing (1998)[edit]

  • The sane understand that human beings are incapable of sustaining conspiracies on a grand scale, because some of our most defining qualities as a species are inattention to detail, a tendency to panic, and an inability to keep our mouths shut.
    • Chapter 17; musings of Christopher Snow

Seize the Night (1999)[edit]

  • In this uncertain space between birth and death, especially here at the end of the world in Moonlight Bay, we need hope as surely as we need food and water, love and friendship. The trick, however, is to remember that hope is a perilous thing, that it's not a steel and concrete bridge across the void between this moment and a brighter future. Hope is no stronger than tremulous beads of dew strung on a filament of spider web, and it alone can't long support the terrible weight of an anguished mind and a tortured heart.
    • Chapter 4; musings of Christopher Snow
  • Human beings can always be relied upon to assert, with vigor, their God-given right to be stupid.

From the Corner of His Eye (2000)[edit]

  • He considered himself to be a thoroughly useless man, taking up space in a world to which he contributed nothing — but he did have a talent for baking… The gas oven might blow up in his face, at last bringing him peace, but if it didn't, he would at least have cookies for Agnes.
    • Chapter 27; on Agnes' shut-in brother Jacob
  • When we don't allow ourselves to hope, we don't allow ourselves to have purpose. Without purpose, without meaning, life is dark. We've no light within, and we're just living to die.
    • Chapter 41; words of Agnes Lampion
  • He's a hollow man. He believes in anything. Hollow men are vulnerable to anyone who offers them something that might fill the void and make them feel less empty.
    • Chapter 64; words of former policeman Thomas Vanadium
  • When you're as hollow as Enoch Kane, the emptiness aches. He's desperate to fill it, but he doesn't have the patience or the commitment to fill it with anything worthwhile… So a man like Kane obsesses on one thing after another — sex, money, food, power, drugs, alcohol — anything that seems to give meaning to his days, but that requires no real self-discovery or self-sacrifice.
    • Chapter 64; words of former policeman Thomas Vanadium
  • The cheerful tides of friends and neighbors, over the years, had washed away nearly all the stains that the dark rage Agne’s father had impressed on these rooms. She hoped her brothers might eventually see that hatred and anger are only scars upon a beach, while love is the rolling surf that ceaselessly smooths the sand.
    • Page 348; words of Agnes Lampion

One Door Away from Heaven (2001)[edit]

Koontz, Dean (2001). One Door Away from Heaven. New York: Bantam Books. pp. 606 pages. ISBN 0-553-80137-6. 

  • I'm either a mutant or a cripple, and I refuse to be a cripple. People pity cripples, but they're afraid of mutants […] Fear implies respect.
    • Leilani Klonk; chapter 1, p. 4
  • Change isn't easy, Micky. Changing the way you live means changing the way you think. Changing the way you think means changing what you believe about life. That's hard, sweetie. When we make our own misery, we sometimes cling to it even when we want so bad to change, because the misery is something we know. The misery is comfortable.
    • Geneva Davis; chapter 1, p. 8
  • There's lots of law these days, but not much justice. Celebrities murder their wives and go free. A mother kills her children, and the news people on TV say she's the victim and want you to send money to her lawyers. When everything's upside down like this, what fool just sits back and thinks justice will prevail?
    • Geneva Davis; chapter 60, p. 473
  • What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven? […] If your heart is closed, then you will find behind that door nothing to light your way. But if your heart is open, you will find behind that door people who, like you, are searching, and you will find the right door together with them. None of us can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another's salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light.
    • chapter 73, pp. 604, 605

By the Light of the Moon (2002)[edit]

  • Dylan… said, "Both Becky and Kenny need medical attention—"
    "And a prison cell until their social security kicks in," Jilly added.
    "—but give us two or three minutes before you call 9-1-1," Dylan finished.
    This instruction baffled Marj. "But you are 9-1-1."
    Jilly fielded that peculiar question: "We're one of the ones, Marj, but we're not the other one or the nine."
    • after Dylan & Jilly (who had claimed to be an undercover policewoman) save Marj and her grandson from homicidal teenagers

The Face (2003)[edit]

  • Fric had been assigned the dumbest of the standard tones, which the phone manufacturer described as "a cheerful, child-pleasing sound suitable for the nursery or the bedrooms of younger children." Why infants in nurseries or toddlers in cribs ought to have their own telephones remained a mystery to Fric. Were they going to call Babies R Us and order lobster-flavored teething rings?
    • Chapter 13; describing the estate's elaborate phone system
  • Dr. Bob managed so successfully to turn the answer to every question into a mini-lecture on self-esteem and positive thinking, that Ethan wanted Hazard to arrest him on charges of Felony Cliché and Practicing Philosophy Without An Idea.
    • Chapter 67; Ethan and Hazard's questioning of a pop-psychology university professor

Odd Thomas (2003)[edit]

  • My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.
    • Chapter 1; Odd Thomas's introduction
  • In fact I am such a nonentity by the standards of our culture that People magazine not only will never feature a piece about me but might also reject my attempts to subscribe to their publication on the grounds that the black-hole gravity of my noncelebrity is powerful enough to suck their entire enterprise into oblivion.
    • Chapter 1; Odd Thomas's introduction
  • Recognizing the structure of your psychology doesn't mean that you can easily rebuild it.
    • Chapter 34; observation of Odd Thomas

Life Expectancy (2004)[edit]

  • She said, "Love isn't enough. Your parents have to know how to relate to you, and to each other. They have to want to be with you more than with anyone else. They have to love being home more than anywhere in the world, and they have to be more interested in you than in…"
    "Snakes and tornadoes," I suggested.
    "God, I love them. They're nice, Jimmy, they really are, and they mean well. But they live inside themselves more than not, and they keep their doors closed. You see them mostly through windows."
    • Chapter 36; conversation between Lorrie Lynn Hicks and Jimmy Tock
  • "Where there's cake, there's hope. And there's always cake."
    • Chapter 39; Tock family saying

The Taking (2004)[edit]

  • Blizzards, floods, volcanos, hurricanes, earthquakes: They fascinate because they nakedly reveal that Mother Nature, afflicted with bipolar disorder, is as likely to snuff us as she is to succor us.
    • Part 1, Chapter 1
  • For most of her existence, Molly had not shied from a truth that most people understood but diligently suppressed: that every moment of every day, depending on the faith we embrace, each of us continues to live either by the merciful sufferance of God or at the whim of blind chance and indifferent nature.
    • Part 1, Chapter 2

Forever Odd (2005)[edit]

  • "Sometimes," I said, "it seems to me that a friend might not take such pleasure in making fun of me as you do."
    "Dear Odd! If one's friends do not openly laugh at him, they are not, in fact, his friends. How else would one learn to avoid saying those things that would elicit laughter from strangers? The mockery of friends is affectionate, and inoculates against foolishness."
    • Chapter 11; Odd Thomas's recounting of a conversation with Little Ozzie
  • Loneliness comes in two basic varieties. When it results from a desire for solitude, loneliness is a door we close against the world. When the world instead rejects us, loneliness is an open door, unused.
    • Chapter 21; musings of Odd Thomas

Velocity (2005)[edit]

  • Pain is a gift. Humanity, without pain, would know neither fear nor pity. Without fear, there could be no humility, and every man would be a monster. The recognition of pain and fear in others give rise in us to pity, and in our pity is our humanity, our redemption.
    • Chapter 54

Brother Odd (2006)[edit]

  • … less real than such threats as a man with a gun, a woman with a knife, or a U.S. Senator with an idea.
    • Chapter 38

The Good Guy (2007)[edit]

Koontz, Dean (June 2007). The Good Guy (1st edition ed.). New York, NY: Bantam Dell. pp. 386 pp.. ISBN 978-0-553-80481-2. 

  • Sheep were docile, yes, but vigilant. Unlike many people, sheep were always aware that predators existed and were alert for the scent and the schemes of wolves.
    Contemporary Americans were so proseperous, so happily distracted by such a richness of vivid entertainments, they were reluctant to have their fun diminished by acknowledging that anything existed with fangs and fierce appetites. If now and then they recognized a wolf, they threw a bone to it and convinced themselves it was a dog.
    • Krait's musings
    • Chapter 7, pp. 52-53
  • In a world that daily disconnects further from truth, more and more people accept the virtual in place of the real, and all things virtual are also malleable.
    • Krait's musings
    • Chapter 21, p. 147
  • Experts must read the patterns and judge their usefulness as evidence. Under any of numerous pressures, an expert may wish to misread a pattern or even to alter it. Americans had a touching trust in "experts".
  • "Fear is a hammer, and when the people are beaten finally to the conviction that their existence hangs by a frayed thread, they will be led where they need to go."
    "Which is where?"
    "To a responsible future in a properly managed world."
    • Conversation between Wentworth and Timothy Carrier
    • Chapter 63, p. 368

External links[edit]

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