15 Best Horror Authors You Must Read

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  • July 20, 2023
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  • 9 min read

Authors Writing

Numerous talented authors have mastered the art of crafting terrifying stories in literature, much like the Tips and 8 Elements of How to Write an Adventure Story. These storytellers, known as horror authors, can transport readers to dark and mysterious realms.

From Stephen King’s hair-raising novels to Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poetry, this introduction will introduce you to 15 of the best horror authors you must read.

1. Stephen King

Well, we have our OG on the top Mr. Stephen King. If you are a fan of reading, then you might have heard about him.

Stephen King is one of the most popular horror book writers, and for those inspired, and one of the best writers on this list. In 1967, a short story writing that he wrote was published in Startling Mystery Stories. This was his first paid writing job.

His first book, Carrie, came out in 1971, a testament to the importance of Book Editing, and he is still writing short stories and horror books today, more than 60 years later. King is a best-selling author in the New York Times.

2. Joe Hill

The next on our list is Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. He has written a lot of comic books and horror stories.

He may not be as productive as his father (yet! ), but he has written a lot of them. Early in his work, he chose the name Joe Hill to set himself apart from his famous father.

Joe Hill also authorizes the books Horns and Locke & Key, which has become a Netflix series, joining the ranks of stories that connect like writing short film scripts.

3. Anne Rice:

Anne Rice is a well-known American author for writing stories about the mysterious and the Gothic, akin to the bestselling non-fiction books that leave a global impact.

The most well-known books by Rice are “The Vampire Chronicles,” “The Mayfair Witches” series, and “Christ the Lord.”

With over 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Rice has done much in the writing world. People usually know her for her writing style, which has poetic language and vivid pictures of people and places.

She can make complicated and easy-to-relate characters like other famous horror book writers. This has helped her build a strong fan base.

4. Jonathan Maberry

Beware! Once you enter Jonathan Maberry’s world after the end of the world, you can’t leave.

Horror fans know there’s nothing better than a classic villain, and Maberry’s action-packed takes on zombies are some of the best of all time.

You can follow any zombie hunters in his best-selling Joe Ledger, Dead of Night, and Rot & Ruin series, or read a short (but not sweet) ghost story or a twisty werewolf story.

Maberry has a way of giving readers thrills and chills that keeps them interested from beginning to end. What else would you expect from a horror genius who has won more than one Bram Stoker Award?

5. Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is an American author who is known for writing books that are scary and thrilling, and his narrative style can be as engaging as the best psychology books that delve into the human mind. He has written over 80 books that have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide.

Koontz’s writing style is defined by the fact that he can mix aspects of horror, mystery, and science fiction into his stories. Some of his best-known books are “Intensity,” “Watchers,” and “Odd Thomas.”

6. Peter Straub :

Peter Straub is a well-known artist and author from the United States. He has written dozens of horror fiction books. Peter Straub made a big mark on horror by writing The Talisman with his close friend and fellow writer Stephen King, much like the collaborative efforts seen in self-publishing on Google Books.

7. Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was an English writer best known for her Gothic classic “Frankenstein,” a work that stands alongside the best autobiographies of all time in literary history.

Shelley was born in 1797. She was the daughter of two well-known writers and grew up in the literary world. In 1818, when Shelley was only 21, her book “Frankenstein” was released without her name.

8. Mylo carbide

Mylo Carbia is a former screenwriter (more like a script doctor) who turned herself into a #1 popular novelist. Her fans call her “The Queen of Horror.”

“The Raping of Ava DeSantis,” her first book, was one of the best horror-thrillers I’ve ever read. It was #1 for a long time, beating out books by King and Koontz, and it won the Silver Falchion Award for Outstanding Fiction.

9. Robert Mackenzie

Stephen King often overlooks McCammon because they both came to fame around the same time and have been steadily writing ever since. Even though he’s always had a strong fan base, his books never became as popular as King’s.

Too bad because Robert McCammon’s Swan Song is a post-apocalyptic epic that can stand up to The Stand, echoing the cosmic horror books and science fiction authors’ tips for horror writing. His other stories range from southern gothic surrealism to kidnapping thrillers to monster movies. He has everything, but Stinger is a fun and scary ride about a creature that hunts a small town for blood.

10. Ramsey Campbell

The next we have on our list is Ramsey Campbell. Without people like him, it’s unlikely that Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos would be anywhere near as famous as it is now.

Even though the author kept the creatures and horrors that Lovecraft made, he often moved them to the moors and rocks of England and added folk horror to the mix.

The Hungry Moon, one of his most famous books, is the best place to start with Campbell. An eldritch being takes over the body of an evangelical speaker, and from there, the story gets more and more scary and isolated.

11. Shirley Jackson:

One of the most famous books also turned into a Netflix series, “the haunting hill house”, was written by the American author Shirley Jackson. She was born in 1916.

She wrote scary books like her all-time famous and favorite, The Haunting of Hill House, which came out in 1959. and We Have Always Lived in the Castle is another book by her that came out the same year.

People think the second one is one of the best ghost stories ever written. Jackson died in 1965 before her work became popular with most people.

12. Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American writer best known for his horror podcasts, but many of his works are experimental and range from literary horror to pulp horror.

His stories often show that he is a Native American writer. For example, Mapping the Interior is a novella about a 15-year-old boy who sees his dead father before he and his family leave the tribe.

The Last Final Girl is a parody of horror tropes. It is about the last girl who survived a bloodbath and is motivated to survive more horrors. Eric G. Dove reads both of them. Jones’s newest book,

The Only Good Indians is a revenge story about four Native American men who have to deal with the consequences of a decision they made when they were young and hunting elk.

13. Algernon Blackwood

Then we have on our list Mr. Algernon Blackwood whose stories, like “The Willows” and “The Wendigo,” had a big impact on horror book writers for more than a hundred years after his death.

A folk horror story that was just as much based on the scary things in nature as it was on local stories.

14. Clive barker

English man Clive Barker is a well-known scriptwriter, director of movies, and among the best horror book writers. Clive Barker mixes horror with high fiction and doesn’t follow the rules. Stephen King loved his first short story book, The Books of Blood.

Several of his stories, like “Hellraiser” and “Candyman,” have been turned into movies. Barker also won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Gods and Monsters, a 1998 historical thriller about the last days of the famous film director James Whale’s life.

15. John Langan

Langan is a master of horror who came to be known in the 2010s. He John Langan took Lovecraft’s cosmic horror and turned it into something more local and centered, with themes of grief and loss, which can be as profound as the narratives in best non-fiction adventure books. He is amongst the finest horror book writers to date.

The Fisherman is a great book, but his best work is The Wide Carnivorous Sky, a collection of tales and short stories that includes Mother of Stone, one of the scariest stories I’ve ever read.

Main Attributes and Elaborate Information

Author Key Characteristics Notable Works
Stephen King Master of diverse horror themes and prolific storytelling. “Carrie”, “The Shining”, “It”
Joe Hill Creative blend of horror and graphic novels. “Horns”, “Locke & Key”
Anne Rice Gothic and mysterious themes with poetic language. “The Vampire Chronicles”, “The Mayfair Witches”
Jonathan Maberry Action-packed horror with a focus on zombies. “Joe Ledger” series, “Dead of Night”
Dean Koontz Blend of horror, mystery, and science fiction. “Intensity”, “Watchers”, “Odd Thomas”
Mary Shelley Pioneer of the Gothic horror genre. “Frankenstein”
Shirley Jackson Expert in crafting psychological horror and ghost stories. “The Haunting of Hill House”, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”


Read these fifteen best horror book writers, or start your own journey with Horror Writing Services. Their book writing skills will take you to scary places full of excitement and fear.

From Stephen King’s scary books to Shirley Jackson’s stories about the supernatural, these writers know how to keep their readers on the edge of their seats.

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