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Writer of grim fiction is a real-life neatness freak

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Dean Koontz writes grim, gritty fiction. In real life, he's a neat freak.

His Newport Beach, Calif., home is meticulously clean. His clothing is always perfectly pressed, his hair freshly cut and combed. In his refrigerator, the cans are lined up carefully in ruler-straight rows, Pepsi in one, Diet Pepsi in another, and so on.But things used to be more extreme. He used to be a recluse who never gave interviews and decades of obsessive tooth-brushing finally caused gum damage requiring extensive dental surgery.

"Over the years. I've gotten better about my obsessive-compulsive behavior," Koontz told Rolling Stone, "but I still have a compulsion about neatness, a revulsion of certain insects, like cockroaches, and a fear of flying."

Koontz said he's never tried psychotherapy, and he never will.

"I don't want to know about the deep inner secrets," he said.