Alright, so before I go into the list, I want to start this off by saying that the recommendations in this blog post are not identical copies of Stephen King, his writing, or his books. The point of this list is to open a few more horror doors to those of you whose only experience in the genre so far is Stephen King – if this list helps you out, then stay tuned, buddy, ’cause I have a lot more independent / smaller press authors & publishers for you that’ll be getting shared soon! I love making lists, and book lists are some of my favorites!
Not all of the people/books listed here are lesser known – some are widely popular due to film adaptations or family ties or time in the horror biz. I tried to include authors that had at least a few books to read, just in case you become obsessed and want to gobble up more of their works. I also made sure that I didn’t produce a totally male list, although there did end up being a significant lean. Don’t worry though – I have two full lists coming soon entirely comprised of my favorite women writers in horror that I’m so excited to share!
I feel like the whole entire introduction to this post is me adding qualifiers so that I don’t get yelled at in the comments, lol. COME FOR ME, I DON’T CARE. Read these authors & books though, ’cause they’re excellent entries into the ever expanding horror genre, and you won’t regret a single page!
Like all my Thursday 10 lists, these aren’t put in any sort of order – I love them all dearly, and can’t recommend them enough!
Also, before we officially get into the list, I’d like to thank Kal @ Reader Voracious for the idea of this blog post! Go check the blog out ’cause you’ll find lots of great reviews & valuable information!
10 Horror Authors To Read If You Love Stephen King
1) Joe Hill
Yes, we’re going to start with the most obvious recommendation first, so sue me! 😛
If you’re not familiar with Joe Hill, he is Stephen King’s son, and also writes horror. His writing is pretty heavily influenced by his father’s, and you’ll notice little nods and references to some of King’s work throughout Hill’s. I’ve read this pictured Christmas horror book three times, and recommend it to everyone ’cause Christmas horror is my favorite and I’ll love it for always. This is a great entry point into new horror, although you’re still in the same “royal family”, so don’t stop here!
Books to Read: N0S4A2 / Heart Shaped Box
So, a lot of the authors and books I’ll mention in this post are ones I’ve only discovered within the last year or so – since joining the #bookstagram community on Instagram, actually! I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve made through the book & writing community both there and on Twitter, and my shelves have easily quadrupled in size since.
THAT SAID, I read Paul Tremblay’s “A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS” about a year before even joining bookstagram! I had no idea how big the world of written horror was at this point, but I was in love with Tremblay’s writing and I still recommend this book super often to anyone that asks for something new to read.
Books to Read: A Head Full of Ghosts / Growing Things and Other Stories
3) Alma Katsu
I’ve only actually read one book by Alma Katsu, but she’s on this list anyway because it was a good one! Writing a book about the tragedy that was the Donner Party, and turning it into something supernatural, marked her as a favorite for me. She’s got a book coming out early 2020 involving the Titanic called THE DEEP, and I am so excited for it, you don’t even know. I’ve been weirdly obsessed with oceanic tragedies for my entire life, and you’d better believe I’m gonna be picking this new one up as soon as it’s published!
Books to Read: The Hunger
4) Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas is a multi-talented writer – he doesn’t just write spooky books, but stuff for TV as well! While it may not seem like a guy who writes things for feel-good companies like Disney and the CW would also be into writing stuff scary enough to give you nightmares, Scott is, and for that we should all be very grateful. He’s got two horror books out now (one just recently released, so scoop it up ASAP!), and he’s a super nice dude on top of being a great writer, too!
Books to Read: Kill Creek / Violet
5) Adam Nevill
Ooh, oh! Adam Nevill is actually another author I’d read before bookstagram! There are so few that I need to point it out; bookstagram dominates my book buying habits these days, friends.
You may actually be familiar with Adam’s work – he wrote the book of the same name that the Netflix movie THE RITUAL is based on! That’s how I discovered him, and I haven’t looked back since. He’s got so many books already published, and every one I’ve read since reading THE RITUAL has been awesome. His newest book, THE REDDENING, comes out this Halloween! I just received an ARC of it in the mail last week and am psyched beyond belief – I’m starting it ASAP!
Books to Read: The Ritual / No One Gets Out Alive
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard me ramble about Jonathan Janz before – and it’s for a damn good reason! He’s been writing for awhile, but he’d somehow flown under my radar til about a year ago, when I discovered that Flame Tree Press was releasing new editions of some of his older works alongside some brand new stuff he’d written. I got my first book of his as a digital copy from NetGalley, and then ended up buying the hardcover as soon as it officially came out ’cause I liked it so much.
Since then, I’ve gotten some of his releases through Flame Tree themselves, but ones I haven’t received as ARCs, I’ve never hesitated to buy for myself. His writing and pacing are amazing, his characters are entertaining as hell, and he’s got a forever fan in this bookworm! He’s actually also a teacher in real life, which I love ’cause that’s what I’m in school for, and I always have so much admiration for people working in the educational system!
Books to Read: The Siren and the Specter / The Dark Game
7) Mira Grant
You may know Mira Grant by her real name, which she also writes under – Seanan McGuire. Her more science-y horror-y stuff is written as Mira, although since I love her books under both names, she’s always an insta-buy for me, no matter what’s on the cover! She blends sci-fi and horror expertly, and I love how detailed and scientific some of her books end up being – even if the science in them is totally made up & about killer mermaids, lol.
Books to Read: Feed / Into the Drowning Deep (or the novella that precedes it – Rolling in the Deep)
Kealan Patrick Burke was actually the first author that I connected with when I joined bookstagram – I’d seen his novellas recommended by some of the accounts I followed, and so I bought them, and posted about them. He commented, and up until that point, I hadn’t even considered that I’d somehow be able to actually TALK to the people who wrote the books I loved. I’d never had bookish friends in normal life, so I joined bookstagram to make some – and since then, I’ve made friends out of authors as well, including Kealan, which is bananas amazing to me even still, a year and a half later!
Kealan’s writing is amazingly atmospheric, and his seasonal short story collections are ones I always look forward to reading when the spooky & chilly seasons draw closer. He also designs book covers, and I love the ones he does – I’ll actually be featuring him & his book covers in an upcoming Artist Spotlight here, so keep an eye out!
Books to Read: Sour Candy / We Live Inside Your Eyes
9) Nick Cutter
When I recommend Nick Cutter, I’m only doing so to those of you with strong stomachs – those who are a bit squeamish may want to steer clear. Some of his descriptions are absolutely horrifying, and could really gross you out (which, tbh, is a selling point for me and many others – but I get that it’s not for everyone, so here’s your disclaimer!).
Stephen King actually recommended Nick Cutter’s books awhile back, calling it “old-school horror at its best”. What a compliment!
10) Josh Malerman
Last but not least, Josh Malerman! He’s another one you’ve probably heard of by now, especially with how big Bird Box’s whole blindfold publicity thing got. He’s got quite a few good books out, so if you’ve only heard of BIRD BOX, definitely check out some of his others! They vary in length, so if a full-length book isn’t your thing, you have options.
Books to Read: Bird Box / A House at the Bottom of a Lake
So, how did I do? Did you already know about any / all of these authors? Which ones will you be reading first? Which authors would you recommend?
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