15 Best Authors Like Stephen King for Fans of Horror and Fantasy

Discover famous authors like Stephen King in our guide to expand your library and explore the horror genre.

Stephen King is a world-famous horror, supernatural fiction, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy author. Born in 1947, King is arguably the best horror author of all time and has written countless short stories and novels, many of which have landed on the New York Times Bestseller List, such as The Shining and Carrie, which have even become movie adaptations. His dark fantasy thrills are a mainstay of Halloween, but King’s work has also inspired many author horror authors to follow in his footsteps. 

1. Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Tananarive Due is a highly accomplished author who combines supernatural, horror, and Afrofuturism to create a gripping tale. She often uses spooky adjectives and elements of the past, presenting them in unique ways that provide different perspectives on popular stories. Her most famous work is an African Immortals four-part series, a thrilling dark fantasy novel.

2. Paul Tremblay

Best Authors Like Stephen King: Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Paul Tremblay is an American horror author known for using a bait-and-switch technique to keep his readers guessing. His novels tend to begin with an incredibly peaceful story, which turns south quickly. Even though this is a common technique that Stephen King uses, Tremblay is very good at it. One of the best examples of this technique is in his novel A Head Full of Ghosts. It begins with a family torn apart as they believe a demon possesses their daughter, but there is more to the story than that in this exciting thriller.

3. Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes
Lauren Beukes via Wikipedia, Public Domain

If you are looking for an author who produces work similar to Stephen King’s It, you should explore Lauren Beuke’s novels. She is a South African novelist who beautifully blends psychological horror and alternative history, sometimes working with just a touch of science fiction. Her high-concept horror novels deal with important themes, such as violence, ambition, and changes over time. In Broken Monsters, she uses her signature writing style that is mysterious in nature which intrigues her readers. Looking for more fiction books? You might also enjoy our list of authors like sarah j maas

4. Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu
Alma Katsu via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Alma Katsu is one of the top American contemporary authors best known for combining elements of history with psychological horror. Her novels often include supernatural elements and complex storytelling that aim to thrill her readers by blending history with fantastical fiction. The Hunger is her most famous book and was named one of NPR’s 100 favorite horror stories, and it’s a much-loved classic American horror story. Katsu’s storytelling shines through her work, creating thrilling novels that her fans adore.

5. Joe Hill

Joe Hill
Joe Hill via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, and the influence of King is undeniable in his. One of Joe King’s most popular books is The Heart-Shaped Box, which won the Best First Novel and a Bram Stoker Award. Like his father, many of his stories take place in small towns in New England. Furthermore, his characters are easy to relate to, making it easy for readers to become engrossed in the story.

His novels often feature a push and pull between good and evil, which has made Joe Hill a beloved horror author. You might be interested in exploring more horror books, such as the best Michael Crichton books.

6. Edgar Cantero

Another author you may want to check out is Edgar Cantero, a Spanish author known for his horror work blended with a bit of classic noir. Typically, his characters must overcome an evil foe, sometimes from their past, to save the community. For example, This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us incorporates supernatural creatures, small-town settings, and younger characters to set the stage beautifully. This specific story bears many similarities to King’s It, making it a great introduction to Cantero for fans of King’s works.

7. Mira Grant

Mira Grant
Mira Grant via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Mira Grant is the pen name of an author named Seanan McGuire. Grant tries to bend, mold, and shape the genre, consistently pushing the boundaries of horror writing. During her career, she has written about various deadly, terrifying characters, ranging from parasites that seek to destroy humanity to zombies and mermaids that want to conquer the world.

In her work, there is always an element of the supernatural blended with something that might be possible, making her work genuinely terrifying. For example, suppose you are looking for a medical horror; you should want to check out Parasite, a dystopian medical thriller with plenty of adrenaline to keep your blood flowing. 

8. Kanae Minato

If you are interested in psychological horror and thriller novels, you should explore works by Kanae Minato. Plenty of her horror novels have a “gross” factor, and one of the first recommended books is Confessions. This book focuses on a middle school teacher who feels like she has lost everything when her child dies on the playground, ultimately convincing her to quit her job. She decides that she needs to deliver one final lecture to the people she feels are responsible for the death of her child, setting off a series of events that nobody could have predicted.

9. Victor LaValle

Victor LaValle
Victor LaValle via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Victor LaValle is also one of the most popular horror authors. He is known for creating fantastical, horrific fantasy worlds that will have people questioning what is real and what is not. Unafraid to push the boundaries of the genre forward, LaValle does everything he can to ensure his audience is captivated, setting the stage beautifully before blowing up his fantasy world with horrific events that may leave your jaw hanging open. One of the first books you might want to explore is The Devil in Silver, a diabolical horror story in a mental institution. In this facility, the devil is believed to be walking the halls, tormenting the patients. 

10. Scott Thomas

When taking a closer look at Scott Thomas’s work history, you will find that he has written for Disney, which might not be known for horror, but Scott Thomas is! He has written many books about characters stalked by something that goes “bump” in the night, most famously, Kill Creek.

This book follows four writers who spend Halloween at one of the most haunted houses in the world. Even though it was only intended to be a publicity stunt, it is evident that there is something else happening at the house. Now, a supernatural entity wants to kill them all, and they will have to pull out all the stops to make it out with their lives.

11. Jennifer McMahon

If you like Stephen King because his books are set in small towns in New England, you should read books by Jennifer McMahon. Jennifer McMahon bases many of her stories in Vermont and uses ghost tales to bring her novels to life, perfectly displayed in one of her most popular books, The Winter People. This captivating horror story will probably have you looking over your shoulder for a few days.

12. C. J. Tudor

C. J. Tudor is an author known for her impressive character development. As you explore the characters’ minds, their fatal flaws start to reveal themselves, and a perfect example of this is The Chalk Man. This chilling story occurs in London, where a group of friends uses a chalk code to communicate. Then, one of the chalk messages leads to the corpse of a teenage girl, but this is only the first deadly discovery! Over and over, the chalk messages begin to result in disaster, and it is evident that the group of friends is being targeted.

13. Laird Barron

When you read books by Laird Barron, you might feel like there is an evil spirit in the same room as you, watching you turn the pages. His works have been specifically designed to play tricks on your mind, and you might even feel like there is something you have to get out of your head. 

One of the best Laird Barron books is The Croning, a novel that follows a geologist trying to spend his retirement with his wife in a peaceful countryside. His wife is an anthropologist and has spent her career exploring lost tribes. Unfortunately, the husband fears the dark, and his memory starts to weigh on him.

14. Caitlin R. Kiernan

Caitlin R. Kiernan
Caitlin R. Kiernan via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Caitlin Kiernan is an author known for her talent for cosmic horror. She has written horror stories that fall into multiple genres, ranging from comics and novels to short stories and dark fantasy.

The fans of Stephen King will like her work because it has just about everything they could ever want, including psychological thrills, an atmospheric setting, and unusual creatures that might be difficult to describe. It would be best to start by reading The Drowning Girl, which won a Bram Stoker award. This story bends reality in a supernatural, psychological thriller that will eventually have humanity confronting the forces of pure evil.

15. Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones
Stephen Graham Jones via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Author Stephen Graham Jones is of Native American descent as a member of the Blackfeet tribe, so his stories often include elements of native culture, tradition, and history. Many of his stories take place in small towns, and plenty of supernatural elements and psychological thrills might make it hard for you to sleep at night. If you want to be terrified by a jaw-dropping story, explore The Only Good Indians.

This story focuses on a group of Native American men who come to grips with a terrible event during their childhoods. Now, they feel like they are being stalked by a supernatural force that will stop at nothing to hunt them down and have to uncover the mystery before it kills all of them. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best American authors!

FAQs About Authors Like Stephen King

Is Stephen King one of the best authors of all time?

The list of the best authors of all time is highly subjective, but Stephen King usually finds himself on this list. He is considered a master of horror, and many of his books have been turned into movies. His ability to use words to paint a descriptive, horrific scene has cemented his place on the list of the best authors of all time.

What are the best Stephen King books?

Plenty of Stephen King novels have been lauded as masterful horror stories. Many people like to start with Carrie, which was his first novel. Then some of the other books that have become popular include The Shining, Pet Sematary, and Misery. One of his recent works has been turned into a movie series. 

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