Dean Koontz was born on July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania. He received a degree in education from Shippensburg State College in 1967. A former high school English teacher as well as a teacher-counselor with the Appalachian Poverty Program, he began writing as a child to escape an ugly home life caused by his alcoholic father. A prolific writer at a young age, he had sold a dozen novels by the age of 25. Early in his career, he wrote under numerous pen names including David Axton, Brian Coffey, K. R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Richard Paige, and Owen West. He is best known for the books written under his own name, many of which are bestsellers, including Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, The Husband, Odd Hours, 77 Shadow Street, Innocence, and The City.