Hello, everyone, I’m Dean Koontz. Or so I have been telling people for a long time, and they have come to believe it. A week after birth, already talking, I insisted on being called Rolf Bettenburger. This made me a target of the FBI in the days before the bureau targeted everyone, because there was a Rolf Bettenburger engaged in shady business in Austria, who had appeared to die in a freak blimp explosion when I was six days old. When I was two months old, Bettenburger’s fortune was siphoned out of his Swiss bank account, and three days later, bearing Bettenburger’s ID, someone resembling me was briefly detained at a yacht brokerage in Monaco, where he attempted to pay 4 million in cash for a 160-foot ocean-going vessel. This obvious criminal escaped by soiling his diaper; while authorities recoiled at the stench, the suspect toddled away with all that cash and was never found.
Because time steals so many details of our past from memory, I can’t say with any certainty that there was in fact a connection between me and that would-be infant yachtsman. I can only note that neither the FBI nor Interpol has been able to prove anything, and I predict they never will.
These days, I live in southern California with my wife, Gerda, and our golden retriever Elsa. You might know me as a bestselling author, but Elsa knows me as her food source, and Gerda knows me as Rudy Bildungsroman.
My latest novel is called After Death. It’s a tense and twisty story about the consequence of an experiment where 55 die in a laboratory accident — and one man recovers from death with an extraordinary ability and an urgent mission.
I work hard to make my novels edge-of-the-seat experiences. They also provide a contrarian view of the world that you can’t find most other places, and they are meant to give you hope in what often seems to be a world without it.
What Are You Reading?
I’ve recently reread Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was somewhat scandalous in its time, but is now a curious mix, both sweetly charming and deeply sad — and much better than the movie.
And I will soon start reading a massive biography, Rolf Bettenburger: Infant of Mystery.
Books That Shaped Me
I found much invaluable guidance in two nonfiction volumes. The first is Building a Better You by Victor Frankenstein. The second — Childhood Is a Boring Waste of Time: How to Start Life as an Adult When You’re One Week Old by Rudy Rolf.
More Good Stuff
As I understand it, in this section I am encouraged to shamelessly promote some of my works, and I’m okay with that. I wrote a series of 12 shorter stories with the overall title of Nameless, about a man who has no memory of who he once was, but who is compelled to bring justice to those miscreants who deserve it. He is generously funded by a deeply mysterious organization and is on a path toward a devastating self-discovery.
You might also enjoy my recent novel, The House at the End of the World. It’s about an artist who lives alone on an island and who finds herself facing a terrifying enemy in an epic battle to save the world.
Another recent novel of mine, The Big Dark Sky, is set on an isolated ranch in Montana, where a dozen strangers are drawn together to confront a threat to the future of humanity.
Finally, if you want to be scared silly but at the same time experience a warm-and-fuzzy feeling, I recommend my novel Devoted. The main character, Woody, is an 11-year-old autistic boy who hasn’t spoken a word until a uniquely gifted golden retriever enters his life following the murder of Woody’s dad. Elsa loves this one! Every time she rereads it, she gets so excited that, every 30 pages, she has to be taken outside to pee.