Now I know how Bryan Smith felt.


When Bryan Smith published his first horror novel, House of Blood, many people were convinced that he was really just a pseudonym for Stephen King. One London-based newspaper even ran an editorial speculating as much.

One of my publishers says there’s a new rumor going around. According to the rumor, ‘Brian Keene’ is a pseudonym for Dean Koontz. Apparently, because we both come from Central Pennsylvania, we are one and the same.

Well, hell. If we apply this logic, then Stephen King can’t be Bryan Smith, because he is actually Rick Hautala (they both come from Maine). Nick Mamatas must be Harlan Ellison, because neither of them suffer fools gladly. It also means that Joe R. Lansdale and Bev Vincent are one and the same (they come from Texas) and Tim Lebbon is really Simon Clark (both are Welsh, talk funny and have very little hair on top of their heads. Or maybe Simon isn’t Welsh. Who know? They all talk funny over there. They say, “Cheers” but it sounds like “Chairs.” “Logger” means “Lager”). Brian Hodge plus Tom Piccirilli equals Barry Hoffman (all from Colorado). And… ready for this? Jeff Strand. Jeff Vandermeer. Same first name. Both of them reside in Florida. Obviously, they are the same person.

I am not Dean Koontz. I did, in fact, take his dog, Trixie, for a walk once. Coop was with me. We tried to pick up girls with the dog.

Us: “Hey, you know who we got here? Dean Koontz’s dog.”

California Girl: “Who?”

Us: “Dean Koontz! Twilight Eyes? Strangers? Motherfucking Watchers?”

California Girl: “Are those movies or bands?”

Us: “Neither. They’re books.”

California Girl: “Oh, I don’t read books. Nobody does anymore.”

Us: “Well, then get the hell out of here with your illiterate self.”

Needless to say, our efforts were less than successful. In the end, we returned Trixie to the Laymon household. End of story.

But I am not Dean Koontz. If I was Dean Koontz, then that means that I would have written Star Quest (published in 1968) at the age of one.

So stop being silly.

Note #1: I’m kidding about the Welsh, of course. I love the Welsh. One of my best friends is Welsh. And they gave us Arthur Machen, for which we should all be grateful.

Note #2: Let’s not have a bunch of comments from Dean Koontz detractors, either. Yes, I know it’s a popular pastime to slag his books, but I happen to enjoy them, as does my wife, and he’s been very supportive to several friends of mine. So if you want to do that, do it elsewhere.

26 thoughts on “I AM NOT DEAN KOONTZ

  1. JimPI

    If you were Koontz, a long time ago I’d have beat you over the head with the various “Odd” books whilst hollering at you to get back to the Christopher Snow series.

  2. Mark G.

    I am a Koontz fan, more of his older stuff than his newer stuff, but as someone who is also a Keene fan, I can say I don’t see a lot of similarities in your writing. You both write some damn fine books, but with totally different and unique styles. That rumor is just silly.

    And I give you points for references Star Quest, his out of print first novel which I own and enjoy in a goofy sort of way. Not as good as Hanging On, which I consider the best of his out of print stuff that I’ve read, so damn good in fact I think it is a shame it was never rereleased.

  3. Kevin Lucia

    Christopher Snow rocks. Odd Thomas rocks. Dean Koontz rocks. Anyone who slags his books…does not.

    Sorry. Long day with the 9th & 10th graders. Best I could come up with.

    Side note: Brian Keene rocks, Ghoul rocked, and so will Ghost Walk.

  4. kelli

    ya know, i read a lot of koontz–most actually, until he lost me a few books back–and i don’t remember him writing zombies. did i miss that one? ;>

  5. Pinky Bear

    I once mistook John Saul for Peter Straub. Silly little me. I meant James Herbert.

    I sometimes though stop and think, the next King, huh? Not that it isn’t a compliment to be sure but don’t you think it becomes an easy thing to reach for when doing a review. It is like saying Monet was the next Michaelangelo. Like saying Interpol is the new Joy Division. Lazy people.

    I loved Ghoul and I am gonna read Dark Hollow, once i finish Bloodstone, which is from Nate Kenyon, another new Stephen King.

  6. tim lebbon

    Cheeky bastard. Simon’s not Welsh! I’m sure he’d be delighted …..

    I’m actually Arthur Machen, who was Welsh.

  7. Brian

    I’m kidding, of course. I love the Welsh. One of my best friends is Welsh. And they gave us Arthur Machen, for which we should all be grateful.

  8. jeff not geoff

    I love the Welsh too. Preferably the hairless, slightly chubby ones braised in a delicate broth of red wine and garden fresh herbs.

  9. joe lansdale

    I was once listed as one of Dean’s pen names for The Black Pumpkin. My dog and his dog once traded faxes. After my dog wrote back in response to the fax, his dog did not write back. I think my dog Buffy was taken for a country bumpkin, which is probably correct.


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