10 Best Authors Like Wendy Webb for Must-Read Gothic Suspense Fiction Novels

If you want to read gothic stories about family secrets, black magic, and paranormals, check our guide with authors like Wendy Webb for eerie suspense reads. 

In her early career, Wendy Webb worked as a journalist, offering entries in local and national newspapers and magazines. While Webb looked for a balance between work and family, she also dedicated time to writing novels. Finally, she released her first book, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, in 2010. It’s a modern ghost story of a woman who went to a remote island hoping to reveal her past, which won the Minnesota Book Award Fiction category in 2011. 

Webb was dubbed Queen of the Northern Gothic for her continuous deliverance of thrilling and unsettling paranormal and horror stories set in the Great Lakes Region. When she published the Daughters of the Lake. It engraved her name in the literary world of gothic suspense as she showcased her talent in writing about love, redemption, and reckoning seamlessly blended with her supernatural storylines. In 2020, she published The Haunting of Brynn Wilder, revealing her real and personal encounters with loss and horror. Love this topic? Check our round-up for the best crime thriller authors

Best Authors Like Wendy Webb Ranked

1. Jonathan Moore, 1964 –

Before being a full-time writer, Jonathan Moore worked as an English teacher and investigator while attending law school in New Orleans. In 2013, he debuted with Redheads and was immediately nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. The following year, he was nominated for the same award for his Close Reach novel, a tale of horror set on a ship with pirates voyaging on the high seas.

Moore is a recipient of the Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America and nominated for the Hammett Prize, a literary excellence award in crime writing. His work on The Poison Artist was praised and selected by BBC Radio 2 Book Club, and his The Night Market was a film choice by Mandeville Films and Amazon Studios. With these achievements, it’s clear that Moore is a notable name in the gothic suspense fiction genre, delivering intense and terrifying stories about horrors and supernaturals.

If you enjoyed this round-up of the best authors like Wendy Webb, you might also like our list of suspense novel authors in our guide to the best authors like James Patterson. Or you can use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.

“There was nothing wrong with her. It was the world that was the problem. Frankly, it was hard to argue against that.”

Jonathan Moore, The Night Market
The Poison Artist
  • Moore, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 12/06/2016 (Publication Date) - Harper Paperbacks (Publisher)

2. Sarah Addison Allen, 1971 –

Sarah Addison Allen earned her literary degree at the University of North Carolina. Shortly after graduating in 2007, she published her first modern fairy tale novel, Garden Spells, which immediately entered the mainstream paranormal fiction. The book uncovers a family’s secret garden full of extraordinary powers that should remain protected by their generations despite the wounds of the past. It was a New York Times bestseller and also included in Barnes & Noble Recommends. 

Her novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and millions have been sold worldwide. In 2011, she released The Girl Who Chased the Moon, where the protagonist was set to solve her mother’s mysteries and ended up haunted by ghosts in their old house. Although most of Allen’s works delve into magic realism, she still incorporates suspenseful gothic stories, which make her writings unique and chilling. 

“Sometimes it’s necessary to embrace the magic, to find out what’s real in life, and in one’s own heart.”

Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost
First Frost: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Allen, Sarah Addison (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 305 Pages - 01/20/2015 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Press (Publisher)

3. Betty Ren Wright, 1927 – 2013

Betty Ren Wright’s early career as an editor of kid’s books in Western Publishing honed her to write compelling ghost stories about kids. She also contributed short fictional stories in many magazines before fully committing to writing novels. Wright authored over 50 books, and among her famous gothic works are The Dollhouse Murders, Christina’s Ghost, and The Ghosts of Mercy Manor.

In The Dollhouse Murders, she invested in characters with disabilities who were called by the spirit of a dollhouse to unravel the murder that happened in the house 30 years ago. Similarly, A Ghost in the House plots supernatural events occurring in an old home until the main character decides to track them and finds they’re a family. In these two novels, Wright’s writing style centers around bringing a scary yet satisfying involvement of her readers in solving the twists and plots in the stories.

“But, even little kids can learn to help themselves, and they’re happier because of it.”

Betty Ren Wright, The Dollhouse Murders
The Dollhouse Murders (35th Anniversary Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Wright, Betty Ren (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 10/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Holiday House (Publisher)

4. Katherine Howe, 1977 –

Most of Katherine Howe’s works in the gothic suspense genre are based on historical information about universal reality and beliefs. For instance, her debut novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance, published in 2009, reflects the controversial Salem Witch Trials. The hearings prosecuted over 200 people for witchcraft during colonial Massachusetts in 1692. In this novel, Howe hooks her readers through black magic, alchemy, and witchcraft. 

Howe’s debut novel also landed the second spot on New York Times bestselling list in 2009 and was one of the top ten books for USA Today in the same year. With her significant work on this, she became an editor of the Penguin Classics for The Penguin Book of Witches in 2014, sourcing the witchcraft history of England and North America. Howe also collaborated with Nathaniel Hawthorne for The House of the Seven Gables, a classic gothic story of curses and ghosts spreading terrors in an evil house. 

“God shields the souls of the innocent the best He can from the Devil’s torments.”

Katherine Howe, The Physick Book of Deliverance
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Howe, Katherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 394 Pages - 06/03/2009 (Publication Date) - Hachette Books (Publisher)

5. Daphne du Maurier, 1907 – 1989

Daphne du Maurier
A photo of Daphne du Maurier, 1930

Many critics overlooked the works of Daphne du Maurier in the gothic suspense genre as she has the style of borrowing traditional gothic motifs from other writers and reviving them using dark romance plotlines. Soon enough, her persistence and love for this genre earned her a reputation. For instance, her three novels Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, and My Cousin Rachel used gothic themes and twists in desperate stories with dark and mature themes. 

In 1940, Rebecca was adapted into a film, and in 2020, Netflix released a remake after 80 years to revive Du Maurier’s timeless contribution to the gothic literary genre. The story’s about a man who married soon after his wife died. However, his previous wife’s death haunted his new marriage, and the danger echoes from the grave. 

“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”

Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • du Maurier, Daphne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 449 Pages - 12/17/2013 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

6. Tamara Thorne, 1957 –

Tamara Thorne is an American horror writer with the pen name Chris Curry. Her interest in collecting and reading ghost stories prompted her to write numerous novels about the paranormal, folklore, conspiracies, and vampires. Tamara has also been an investigator for real-life paranormal activities for 20 years, from which she’s spoken to different groups and appeared in television shows like Ghost Adventures. 

Since her first published book in 1991, she became an International Bestseller for her works in Haunted, Bad Things, and The Sorority. For instance, Haunted was set in a Victorian mansion with a bloody history of mass murders, torture, and deprivation of everyday life. On the other hand, Bad Things is a childhood story of a boy who sees green jacks, which haunt him even when he has kids of his own. Thorne likes to venture into the depths of gothic suspense novels. You might also be interested in our guide on the best books by Edgar Allan Poe.

“In their rooms, some guests read or made love, but most of them slept, blissfully unaware of the fact that their innkeepers were losing their minds.”

Tamara Thorne, Candle Bay
Candle Bay
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Thorne, Tamara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 408 Pages - 09/20/2012 (Publication Date) - Glass Apple Press (Publisher)

7. Henry Farrell, 1920 – 2006

Henry Farrell
A photo of Henry Farrell, 1952

Henry Farrell authored the well-received gothic horror What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? a classic story of revenge through threats of revealing past secrets. The novel was adapted into a movie in 1962, instilling Ferrell’s name in the literary world. After a big hit, he wrote a short story, Sweet Charlotte, to follow the story of Baby Jane, which was later made into a novel, What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte

His short stories collection and novel were also converted into a second film, which received seven Academy Award nominations. These two works of Farrell established his writing style of including psychological horrors with profound and fascinating events about murder, ghosts, and family secrets in his works. Check out our round-up of authors like Sandra Brown.

“Sometimes you thought you had a thing – but then part of it – or all of it – always got away. Life itself could not be possessed, really, not even a minute of it.”

Henry Farrell, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Farrell, Henry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 294 Pages - 04/02/2013 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

8. David Morrell, 1943 –

David Morrell
A photo of David Morrell, 2009

David Morrell received his Ph.D. in American Literature at Penn State. He taught as a professor at the University of Iowa for over 15 years before finally leaving to commit to full-time writing. His first book, First Blood, became an International Bestseller and has been adapted into the 1982 Sylver Stallone’s iconic character, Rambo, which started a series of films with the same protagonist. The novel and film reflect the psychological effects of the Vietnam War on American veteran soldiers. 

Morrell is also one of the founders of the International Thriller Writers organization, with over 5,000 members in 49 countries guiding and supporting about 3.2 billion book sales worldwide. Some of his notable books are Inspector of the Dead and Thomas and Emily De Quincey series, which also portrays a historical war set in Victorian England, blatantly revealing the dark and intense killings threatening the whole nation.

If you are looking for more suspense books, check out our round-up of the new books by Nelson Demille. You can also use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best books.

“Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth with an irony that a self-respecting fiction writer would be ashamed to invent.”

David Morrell, Fireflies
Fireflies: A Father's Tale of Love and Loss
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Morrell, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 257 Pages - 11/21/2013 (Publication Date)

9. Beatriz Williams

Beatriz Williams worked as a communication strategy specialist in London and New York before becoming a full-time writer. Her decision to leave her high-paying job was worth it as she became a New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling author. Most of Williams’ novels capture the Jazz Age, demonstrating historical fiction with brutal and mysterious storylines. 

Williams wrote different novel genres, including romance, fiction, mystery thrillers, and gothic suspense. Her works in The Forgotten Room combine relationships, family secrets, and mysteries set in an old mansion. Her other popular novels are A Certain Age, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, and A Hundred Summers. You might also like these authors like Quinn Loftis.

“Listen and love and support and whatever you can. But you can’t expect to save them. You can’t hold yourself responsible for their choices.”

Beatriz Williams, The Glass Ocean
The Glass Ocean: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Williams, Beatriz (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 414 Pages - 09/04/2018 (Publication Date) - William Morrow (Publisher)

10. Jennifer McMahon, 1968 –

Jennifer McMahon is famous for writing thriller, suspense, and fiction novels with supernatural and paranormal content. Eleven of her books were on the bestselling list of the New York Times, including her debut novel, Promise Not To Tell. The book is a ghost story anchored on McMahon’s dark fears and the unexplained elements that haunts her every night.

The second book by McMahon, Island of Lost Girls, was also on the bestseller list and was released in England and Germany. Meanwhile, her Dismantled nominated her for the Lambda Literary Prize and was released in England, Germany, and Netherlands. McMahon’s latest book, The Children on the Hill, tells a childhood story of evils spreading dangers. Check out these authors like Shari Lapena.

“The tragedies we endure shape our lives: we carry them like shadows.”

Jennifer McMahon, The Children on the Hill
The Children on the Hill
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • McMahon, Jennifer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 349 Pages - 04/26/2022 (Publication Date) - Gallery/Scout Press (Publisher)

  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.