One of the most prolific and popular contemporary novelists, Dean Koontz has captivated both young and mature readers alike. This critical companion examines his mature fiction, including his most popular recent novels, Watchers, Lightning and Dark Rivers of the Heart. Its intention is to provide both conventional and alternative reading so that students and readers who love Koontz's fiction can develop their critical skills. Other novels examined in depth are Phantoms, Strangers, Midnight, The Bad Place, and Mr Murder. Seven other Dean Koontz novels are examined in comparison to these as well.; A biographical chapter sketches Dean Koontz's background and suggests some ways in which growing up as the child of an abusive alcoholic has affected his work. A chapter on genre shows that Koontz combines elements of a number of genres in his writing and that his fiction is moving in the direction of mainstream fiction. Kotker's discussion of Koontz's increasingly sombre world view shows him to be a writer deeply concerned with issues of individual freedom. Each chapter deals with one novel in depth and makes comparisons to other novels in his canon. The discussion of each novel includes sections on plot, character development, setting, point of view, and thematic issues. Each novel is also examined from an alternative critical approach, providing the reader with an additional perspective.