Check out our round-up of authors like Stephen King; discover novels that will give you a spin-tingling chill that only the best horror writers can create.
Bone-chilling, heart-pounding, thrilling storylines that leave you with a million questions and a need to search for the answers. If that sounds like your kind of novel, then you’re in the right place. Not only am I a massive fan of Stephen King horror novels, but I’ve also got a library full of the best horror and thriller novels a superfan could find.
If you’re not familiar with the great horror writer Stephen King, he is a world-famous horror, supernatural fiction, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy author who is arguably the best horror author of all time.
His works have landed numerous spots on The New York Times bestseller list, such as The Shining and Carrie, which have even become immensely successful 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
- 2. Paul Tremblay
- 3. Lauren Beukes
- 4. Alma Katsu
- 5. Joe Hill
- 6. Edgar Cantero
- 7. Mira Grant
- 8. Kanae Minato
- 9. Victor LaValle
- 10. Scott Thomas
- 11. Jennifer McMahon
- 12. C. J. Tudor
- 13. Laird Barron
- 14. Caitlin R. Kiernan
- 15. Stephen Graham Jones
- FAQs About Authors Like Stephen King
1. Tananarive Due
American author and educator Tananarive Due is an accomplished author who won the American Book Award for her novel The Living Blood. She is a passionate writer and educator and teaches a course at UCLA called “The Sunken Place: Racism, Survival and the Black Horror Aesthetic.”
Previously working as a journalist for the Miami Herald, Due developed a fierce passion for writing, and she wrote her first novel while balancing her journalistic career, publishing The Between in 1995. Throughout her career, Due has authored many popular dark fantasy novels, including African Immortals, a thrilling four-part series.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I find the real world much more frightening than anything I can write in my books.”Tananarive Due, Horror Writers Association
Check out African Immortals on Amazon; click here.
2. Paul Tremblay
Tremblay’s 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 excellent at implementing this striking technique into his works. One of the best examples of this technique is in his novel A Head Full of Ghosts. The terrifying tale 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.
“At a point about five years into my fledgling writing career, I decided that instead of a horror writer, I was a writer who wrote horror. That was an important distinction for me, and it meant I wouldn’t force a story into being a horror story.”Paul Tremblay, Nightfire
Check out A Head Full of Ghosts on Amazon; click here.
3. Lauren Beukes
If you are looking for an author who produces work similar to Stephen King’s It, you should explore Lauren Beuke’s novels. She’s a South African novelist who beautifully blends psychological horror and alternative history, sometimes working with just a touch of science fiction.
Beukes’s high-concept horror novels deal with important themes, such as violence and ambition. In Broken Monsters, she uses her mysterious writing style, which intrigues her readers—looking for more fiction books? You might also enjoy our list of authors like Sarah J. Maas.
“I’d like to think that the most common characteristics of my writing are that it’s sharp, dark, witty, vicious and playful.”Lauren Beukes, Clarkesworld
Check out Broken Monsters on Amazon; click here.
4. Alma Katsu
Alma Katsu’s novels often include supernatural elements and complex storytelling that 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. Katsu’s storytelling shines through her work, creating thrilling novels that her fans adore.
“The Taker is definitively not something you want to attempt for your first book. I had an idea for a story and had no idea that it was, basically, impossible to write. I ended up rewriting it many, many times over a period of ten years before it sold.”Alma Katsu, Nightmare Magazine
check out The Hunger on Amazon; click here.
5. Joe Hill
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. He creates memorable characters who 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.
“What’s fun about is that it’s always a great pleasure to immerse yourself in a big imagined world where you’re surrounded by lots of characters and lots of moving parts. I think that’s true. I feel that as a writer, but I also feel that as a reader.”Joe Hill, The Verge
Check out The Heart Shaped Box on Amazon; click here.
6. Edgar Cantero
Edgar Cantero creates captivating characters you’ll be rooting for from the first page. More often than not, his feelings must overcome an evil foe, sometimes from their past, to save the community.
In This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us, supernatural creatures, small-town settings, and young characters try to live together in harmony, but there’s a twist. This story bears many similarities to King’s It, making it a great introduction to Cantero for fans of King’s works.
“I wanted to tell stories from very early on. I used to come up with my own shows, my own comics; I had stuff in my head and I wanted to share it. The decision that writing was the easiest way to do it came later, maybe at 17 or so.”Edgar Cantero, SciFi Pulse
Check out This Body’s Not Big Enough for Both of Us on Amazon; click here.
7. Mira Grant
Grant tries to bend, mold, and shape the horror genre, consistently pushing the boundaries of fiction writing and breaking barriers with every new novel. 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 Grant’s work, there is always an element of the supernatural blended with something that might be possible, making her work genuinely terrifying. If you’re looking for a medical horror, you’ll love Parasite, a dystopian medical thriller jam-packed with adrenaline.
“I knew I wanted to do a zombie novel when I realized that all the books I was seeing had one thing in common: the apocalypse came, and we lost. I wanted to go in the other direction.”Mira Grant, Book Banter
Check out Parasite on Amazon; click here.
8. Kanae Minato
Plenty of Minato’s horror novels have a gory or gross factor. One of her most popular 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.
“It’s amazing how much the human brain is able to remember, how much you hold onto in life, but when you write something down, you can forget about it—you no longer have to hold it inside. Remember the good things; write the bad ones down in here and forget about them.”Kanae Minato, Confessions
Check out Confessions on Amazon; click here.
9. Victor LaValle
Victor LaValle is known for creating horrific fantasy worlds with readers questioning reality. 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 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.
“I grew up on horror; it’s the reason I fell in love with reading, and yet there’s such a wealth of cultural assumptions deeply embedded in the genre—at least the US, largely white version I grew up with—that I’m still regularly surprised by what’s taken for granted as the positive, or the good, in a work of horror.”Victor LaValle, Nightmare Magazine
Check out Devil in Silver on Amazon; click here.
10. Scott Thomas
When taking a closer look at Scott Thomas’s work history, you’ll find that he’s not only a horror writer, he’s also written for Disney! He has written many books about characters stalked by something that goes “bump” in the night, most famously, Kill Creek.
Kill Creek 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.
“The idea for Kill Creek came from a couple places. I’ve always loved haunted house stories, the slow burn, the creepy Gothic atmosphere, the tension as the entity subtly—and then aggressively—makes its presence known.”Scott Thomas, LAPL
Check out Kill Creek on Amazon; click here.
11. Jennifer McMahon
If you love Stephen King’s novels that are set in small towns in New England, you’ll enjoy 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.
“I’ve always wanted to write a book exploring themes of monsters and the monstrous; a story inspired by my own childhood with my grandmother, my lifelong love of monsters, and the greatest monster story ever: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”Jennifer McMahon, LAPL
Check out The Winter People on Amazon; click here.
12. C. J. Tudor
C.J. Tudor’s characters are impressive; it feels as though you can see into their minds, and their fatal flaws start to reveal themselves. The Chalk Man is an excellent example of this. The chilling story occurs in London, where friends use 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.
“I’ve always been fascinated by creepy stuff ever since I was a kid. I find most crime/horror writers are usually really nice, happy people. I think it must be because we get all our dark evil thoughts out on the page!”C. J. Tudor, Horror Tree
Check out The Chalk Man on Amazon; click here.
13. Laird Barron
When you read books by Laird Barron, you might feel like an evil spirit is in the same room as you, watching you turn the pages. His works have been specifically designed to play tricks on your mind and create the feeling of horror and suspense that only the best horror writers can emulate.
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.
“There’s a paradoxical element to cosmic horror. It can be expressed through a macro or micro lens. It can be used to demonstrate the indifference of the universe—or, conversely, the appetite of the universe. Vastness unto practical infinity is a difficult idea to visualize and so cosmic horror often reveals itself indirectly.”Laird Barron, Blood Knife
Check out The Croning on Amazon; click here.
14. Caitlin R. Kiernan
Caitlin Kiernan is an author known for her talent for cosmic horror. She has written horror stories in multiple genres, from comics and novels to short stories and dark fantasy.
Fans of Stephen King will love her work because it has almost everything they could ever want, including psychological thrills, an atmospheric setting, and unusual supernatural creatures. The Drowning Girl is a fantastic novel that 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.
“Everything about reading teaches me something about writing. What has it taught me in particular? Everything that I did not learn simply by living, that’s what reading has taught me about writing fiction.”Caitlin R. Kiernan, Clarkesworld
Check out The Drowning Girl on Amazon; click here.
15. Stephen Graham Jones
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 occur 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 face 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!
“But then in my early 20s, I stumbled into two people who would probably change my writing career…well, three. Um, maybe four, actually? Louise Erdrich: her novel, Love Medicine, and the first four in that series, is it Bingo Palace, Tracks, and…The Beet Queen? That’s a wonderful little four book, like, quadrilogy.”Stephen Graham Jones, Tor.com
Check out The Only Good Indians on Amazon; click here.
FAQs About Authors Like Stephen King
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.