10 Best Authors Like Quentin Tarantino: Stylized Violence Meets Supreme Storytelling

Looking for authors like Quentin Tarantino who can emulate the style, wit, and shock value of his films and books? Our guide has you covered. 

Knoxville-born director Quentin Tarantino is a critically acclaimed writer, actor, and producer. His films are known for intensity, violence, profanity, and pop culture references that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Tarantino started in the film industry with 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, followed by 1994’s Pulp Fiction. The director has won countless film awards, including seven Oscars, seven BAFTAs, and eight Golden Globes.

If you’re a fan of Tarantino’s style, you’ll want to add the authors in our guide to your reading list (but first–let’s glance at the moves Tarantino has made in the literary world). Interested in this topic? Check out our round-up of essays about movies!

Quentin Tarantino Novels

Tarantino got a two-book deal with publisher HarperCollins in 2020. He published Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2021, in which he wrote the story of his film by the same name. The book was met with critical acclaim. The second book of the deal, Cinema Speculation, Tarantino’s nonfiction debut, combines his personal history, film criticism, and film theory, allowing readers an inside look at how the director’s experience has shaped his view of the film world. The book hit the New York Times bestseller list and received positive reviews from critics.

Here Are The Best Authors Like Quentin Tarantino Ranked

1. Frank Miller, 1957 –

Frank Miller
Frank Miller looking into the camera

Playwright, artist, and author Frank Miller is well-known for his gritty comic books and graphic novels, including DaredevilSin City, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The author states that his style combines the best of American and Japanese comics. Miller has received every major comic book award and was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2015.

The comic prides himself on indulging the world of fantasy that naturally lends itself to the comic world, stating that he doesn’t see the point in trying to make comic books uber-realistic. Regarding the theme of naturism in comic art, Miller stated, “People are attempting to bring a superficial reality to superheroes who are rather stupid. They work best as the flamboyant fantasies they are.”

“We live in the shadow of crime with the unspoken understanding that we are victims.. of fear, of violence, of social impotence. A man has risen to show us that the power is, and always has been, in our hands. We are under siege. He’s showing us that we can resist.”

Frank Miller, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Miller, Frank (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 02/16/2016 (Publication Date) - Dc Comics (Publisher)

2. Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis
Bret Easton Ellis looking into the camera

Bret Easton Ellis is an American author and director known for 1985’s Less than Zero, 1991’s American Psycho, 2005’s Lunar Park, and 2010’s Imperial Bedrooms. While Ellis is known for churning out bestsellers, some of his work has also been met with literary criticism for being overly violent (especially towards women).

The author was just 21 years old when he published Less Than Zero, and he was instantly famous following the novel’s success. Ellis met controversy in 2010 when he stated that the infamous protagonist of American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, was not based on Ellis’ father, as he previously stated. Instead, he said that the book was based on himself, his lifestyle, and his anger at the time. 

“My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”

Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
The Shards: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Bret Easton Ellis (Author) - Bret Easton Ellis (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/17/2023 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

3. Ian Fleming, 1908 – 1964

Ian Fleming
Black and white photo of Ian Fleming biting a cigarette holder

The prolific James Bond author, Ian Fleming’s name is synonymous with literary excellence. Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royalewas published in 1952. The book had to undergo three printing cycles to meet consumer demand. Fleming followed the success of his debut novel with eleven subsequent novels and two short story collections. The James Bond series is one of the best-selling fiction book collections ever written. To date, Fleming has sold more than 100 million copies around the world. Sadly, the author passed away at 56, and two James Bond novels were published after his death.

“Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I’d been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.”

Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

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4. David Wong (Jason Pargin), 1975 –

Jason Pargin, known to most by his pen name, David Wong, is a humor writer known both for his work as the former executive editor of Cracked.com and for his novels, including 2007’s John Dies at the End, 2015’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, and 2022’s If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe.

Pargin grew his interest in humor writing by reading Mad Magazine as a child. The author retired his pen name in 2020, stating, “It’s not like I’m under the Witness Protection program or anything. I was just trying to keep things simple in my personal life.” Fans of the author’s work can look for his continued writings under his real name.

“And watch out for Molly. See if she does anything unusual. There’s something I don’t trust about the way she exploded and then came back from the dead like that.”

David Wong, John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End
  • Audible Audiobook
  • David Wong (Author) - Stephen R. Thorne (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/09/2011 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Audio, Inc. (Publisher)

5. Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy
A black and white photo of Cormac McCarthy looking into the distance

Cormac McCarthy is known for his work in both Western and apocalyptic settings. Like Tarantino, McCarthy’s writing style is gritty and violent. Several of the author’s works have been made into feature films, including 1992’s All the Pretty Horses, 2005’s No Country for Old Men, and 2007’s The Road, for which he won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In addition to writing, McCarthy also works with the Sante Fe Institute, where he explores the origin of language and the human unconscious. In 2012, McCarthy was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.

“He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activities in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.”

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
All the Pretty Horses: The Border Trilogy, Book One
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Cormac McCarthy (Author) - Frank Muller (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/07/2013 (Publication Date) - Recorded Books (Publisher)

6. Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake), 1933 – 2008

Richard Stark
Richard Stark looking into the camera

Richard Stark was the pen name used by Donald E. Westlake for his books starring Parker, a professional criminal. Westlake wrote under several pen names, including Rolfe Passer, Alan Marshall, James Blue, Edwin West, and Don Holliday.

Westlake wrote 24 books starring Parker. The protagonist had few positive qualities, and fans of Westlake love following his characters as they do whatever they need to do to get the job done. Parker’s first name is never revealed, and in several novels, Westlake hints that Parker may not even be the character’s true first name. 

“I’m going to drink his blood, I’m going to chew up his heart and spit it into the gutter for the dogs to raise a leg at. I’m going to peel the skin off him and rip out his veins and hang him with them.”

Richard Stark, The Hunter
The Hunter
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Richard Stark (Author) - John Chancer (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/11/2010 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Audio, Inc. (Publisher)

7. Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie looking at the camera, smiling

Joe Abercrombie is a British fantasy author who first gained recognition for The First Law trilogy. The series’ first book, The Blade Itself, was released in 2006, followed by Before They Are Hanged (2007) and Last Argument of Kings (2008). First Law books follow three powers as they fight for dominance: the North, The union, and the Gurkish Empire.

Abercrombie’s writing offers the point of view of six characters throughout the novels. The author earned a spot as a 2008 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author. Abercrombie has also written several short fiction stories set in the First Law world, collected into the anthology Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law, released in 2016.

“Proof is boring. Proof is tiresome. Proof is an irrelevance. People would far rather be handed an easy lie than search for a difficult truth, especially if it suits their own purposes.”

Joe Abercrombie, Last Argument of Kings
Last Argument of Kings
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Joe Abercrombie (Author) - Steven Pacey (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/08/2015 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

8. Joseph Heller, 1923 – 1999

Joseph Heller
Black and white photo of Joseph Heller

Brooklyn native Joseph Heller is best known for his 1961 novel Catch-22, a satirical story that follows the experience of John Yossarian, an Army Air Corps Captain who works to find ways to get out of serving in combat. While the novel is regarded as one of the best works of American literature in today’s circles, it was criticized when it was first released.

The book sold just 30,000 copies in the United States market throughout its first year. Catch-22 was received differently in the UK–it hit the bestseller list just a week after its release. The book was made into a feature film starring Alan Arkin, released in 1970. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best relationship books!

“Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window, and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.”

Joseph Heller, Catch-22
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Joseph Heller (Author) - Jay O. Sanders (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/29/2017 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.