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Dean Koontz and the Russian on the Train

December 6, 2017

The December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Amtrak’s magazine The National contains a new essay by Dean titled “Dean Koontz and the Russian on the Train” about the inspiration behind House of Thunder.
Here’s just a sample:

On one occasion, making the journey alone, I found myself seated beside a personable Russian dressed in a sharp blue suit. I wore bellbottom jeans with decorative buttons, a psychedelic shirt and a suede jacket with fringe. The spirit of the late ’60s still inebriated the nation. A few others on the train looked as foolish as I did, and my Russian seatmate wasn’t put off by my outfit.
Leonid spoke fluent, accented English and was an excellent conversationalist. When riding a train, I usually enjoyed the scenery or read a magazine. Leonid wasn’t the first interesting traveler I’d met, but certainly the most engaging. When he learned I was a writer, he declared, “I have a wonderful story idea for you.”

Luckily, you can read the whole thing online at