Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945) is an American author. His novels are broadly described as suspense thrillers, but also frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, with 14 hardcovers and 14 paperbacks reaching the number one position. Koontz wrote under a number of pen names earlier in his career, including “David Axton”, “Leigh Nichols” and “Brian Coffey”. He has sold over 450 million copies as reported on his official website.
One of Dean Koontz’s pen names was inspired by his dog, Trixie Koontz, a golden retriever, shown in many of his book-jacket photos. Trixie originally was a service dog with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities. Trixie was a gift from CCI in gratitude of Koontz’s substantial donations, totaling $2,500,000 between 1991 and 2004. Koontz was taken with the charity while he was researching his novel Midnight, a book which included a CCI-trained dog, a black Labrador retriever, named Moose. In 2004 Koontz wrote and edited Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living in her name, and in 2005 Koontz wrote a second book credited to Trixie, Christmas Is Good. Both books are written from a supposed canine perspective on the joys of life. The royalties of the books were donated to CCI. In 2007 Trixie contracted terminal cancer that created a tumor in her heart. The Koontzes had her put to sleep outside their family home on June 30. After Trixie’s death Koontz has continued writing on his website under Trixie’s names in “TOTOS”, standing for Trixie on the Other Side. It is widely thought that Trixie was his inspiration for his November 2007 book, The Darkest Evening of the Year, about a woman who runs a golden retriever rescue home, and who rescues a ‘special’ dog, named Nickie, who eventually saves her life. In August 2009 Koontz published “A Big Little Life,” a memoir of his life with Trixie.
Three photos of Dean and his beloved Trixie Koontz: