Author Comparison Between Stephen King and Dean Koontz

This essay shows how Stephen King and Dean Koontz have a similar style, but enough differences between them to distinguish themselves from each other.

I enjoy the thrilling style both of these authors use to write novels and thought it would be appropriate to compare them, as they are similar, yet have differences.  Stephen King’s book are more in the horror style, yet often feature chilling atmospheres more than being outright terrifying.  Dean Koontz on the other hand writes more in the thriller style and often has a direct conflict between a protagonist and serial killer, for example.  Both styles are great, but I believe Koontz has more highs and lows, while King seems to be more consistent in his approach.

Stephen King’s often have strong character development and eerie environments.  He has crafted some memorable characters in his books like the clown from It or the dark man from The Stand.  There are strong relationships that form between his characters as well as seen from Frannie and Stu in The Stand as well as Paul and Annie from Misery.  These characters perform roles such as give the novel a foreboding tone or show the hardships that need to be endured in futile environments.  King also uses atmosphere in novels like Salem’s Lot to create an evil aura, for example.  These are some of the strong parts of King’s writing that distinguish it from that of Koontz.  One can see that King has strong techniques and that though he puts fear into his novels, it is often not the prominent element within them.

Koontz on the other hand often emphasizes friction between the protagonist and a serial killer or some other impending doom in his novels.  The conflicts that occur in Koontz’s novels can be exciting as seen from the golden retriever and the Outsider in Watchers, for example.  There are also more direct uses of a chase between characters as seen from books like Intensity or Lightning.  The novel Life Expectancy uses a method of knowing that certain conflicts will occur as specific moments in time.  The tension created in Koontz’s novels is more direct than that of King.  This leads to some exciting moments, but there are times when his writing is also more mundane as seen from the aliens that infest his less than stellar book The Taking.  Koontz can epitomize thrills at times, while at others the reader will lose interest.  I think the greater consistency developed in King’s novels wins out slightly over Koontz’s sporadic tension.

As shown, both King and Koontz are different at creating an enticing atmosphere for the reader.  I believe King puts more emphasis on character development and an over-arching atmosphere, while Koontz go for straight ahead thrills a lot of the time.  Both methods used are entertaining and grip the reader immensely.  While I will continue to read the novels of both of these authors, it is King that I prefer by a small margin because he can keep me interested more consistently and for a greater period of time.  They both have similar styles and are worth checking out by any fan of fiction.  Sometimes they approach each other’s styles even more greatly as displayed by Misery, which is very close to the style Koontz writes as well. 

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7 Comments
  1. Posted December 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Very well done article.

  2. Posted December 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Good article…
    Both are good writers, but Stephen King is more experienced.

  3. Posted December 18, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Good article, I like the link that King has running through his books, between the two worlds our world and the gunslinsgers world.
    Koontz is now crap and predictable since he became Catholic – his books are overly biased towards his faith – the villian is usually a scientist, I stopped reading his books when he became obsessed with his Odd Thomas Character, which I believe he thinks is a masterpiece…..No scrub that, He has been crap since he had that dodgy hair transplant

  4. Posted December 22, 2010 at 2:44 am

    I like both authors, although I’ll say King is better than Koontz any day. Well done on the article.

  5. Posted January 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I have only read one Koontz book and that was many years ago, but completely agree with you on Stephen King’s ability to give incredible depth to his characters. While reading “The Boy Who Loved Tom Gordon”, I found myself feeling as though I really was an eleven year old girl lost in the woods due to his ability to create atmosphere (which you also point out in this article) and his incredible character development. In recent years though, I have to admit to getting too spooked to read any more Stephen King, so it sounds like Koontz might be a better bet for me now. Good article.

  6. Posted April 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    i love Stephen king

  7. Posted September 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Great share, I love both of these authors!

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