Are you searching for authors similar to Stephen King?
Want to find other writers who explore the shadow world with page-turning stories that keep you glued to your chair?
If so, welcome to this little corner of the Internet, where today, we’re breaking down 17 authors that are like Stephen King.
Our goal is to present writers with unique voices whose work engendered at least one similarity to King’s.
- Why Do People Love Stephen King Books?
- 17 Excellent Authors Like Stephen King
Why Do People Love Stephen King Books?
Stephen King is one of the most beloved writers in American publishing history.
Though best-known for his horror classics (like Carrie), King has hopped genres throughout his career, most notably with his best-selling non-fiction title, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
So why do people love to read Stephen King’s books? A few things contribute to his success:
- Relatable: He doesn’t use pompous prose, making his stories utterly accessible.
- Brain Teasers: You never know what you’re going to get with Stephen King, and he keeps you thinking and wondering as he carries you through a tale.
- Fear Factor: Life is full of creepy, crawling, mind-bending things, and King allows readers to gaze upon what is usually hidden.
- Fully Formed Characters: King’s characters are anything but flat, which keeps readers entranced, constantly guessing what they’ll do next.
17 Excellent Authors Like Stephen King
If you like Stephen King, there’s a good chance you’ll be interested in the books and authors listed below. Or, at the very least, we hope you find a few new titles that tickle your reading fancy.
1. Lauren Beukes
South African writer Lauren Beukes is a master of many writing trades. Screenwriter, short story weaver, journalist, and novelist Beukes is a skilled wordsmith who knows how to plot an engaging tale.
Her fiction usually falls into the sci-fi, dystopian, and urban fantasy subgenres, but, like King, she’s also penned a couple of literary fiction titles.
Beukes is probably best known for The Shining Girls, the story of a time-traveling serial killer and his vengeful survivor.
Best Book by Lauren Beukes: Afterland
Stephen King wrote the New York Times book review for Beukes’s Afterland, calling it a “smartly written thriller that opens with a satisfying bang.” The story of a dystopian near-future where a parent and child are running from the government after escaping a quarantine compound, Afterland falls into the micro-genre of “pandemic literature.” But unlike lockdown, it was an exciting ride featuring intense characters set in an immersive world.
2. Christa Carmen
Christa Carmen is an indie writer whose work has appeared in niche horror and suspense outlets, including Tales to Terrify, The Wicked Library, and Fireside Magazine.
Known for her nature imagery and plots that involve a haunting past, Carmen is similar to King in that they’re both great at writing descriptive and evocative gore scenes.
Best Book by Christa Carmen: Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked
Like Stephen King’s Night Shift, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked is a short-story collection of horror, suspense, and dark fantasy stories. The volume includes 13 tales and won the 2018 Indie Horror Book Award for Best Debut Collection.
3. Tananarive Due
Named after the capital of Madagascar, Tananarive Due won American Book Award for her novel The Living Blood. Currently, she teaches at UCLA and has a course that deeply explores Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
Like King, Due transcends genre, mixing sci-fi, horror, mystery, and supernatural elements.
Best Book by Tananarive Due: The Good House
The Good House is very King-esque in that it’s about a woman confronting her son’s death in a small town at war with eternal darkness — a common theme woven throughout several of his works. But instead of Maine, where so many of King’s stories take place, Due sets this tale in Washington State.
4. Gillian French
Like Stephen King, many of Gillian French’s stories are set in rural Maine, and the place becomes an entity unto itself. If you like creepy characters and unexpected plot twists, you’ll enjoy French’s tales.
Best Book by Gillian French: The Missing Season
The Missing Season is about a small Maine town contending with annual child abductions and a marsh monster named the Mumbler. This could be your next great read if you like a little romance sprinkled in with your horror.
5. Stephen Graham Jones
A member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, First Nations writer Stephen Graham Jones is a prolific writer of experimental fiction, horror, science fiction, and crime titles.
Known for his literary prose, in 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Jones the prestigious fiction fellowship.
Revered among the literati, Jones is credited for crafting engrossing stories using elements of “dark playfulness, narrative inventiveness, and genre mixture.”
Best Book by Stephen Graham Jones: Ledfeather
Ledfeather is Jones’s most-studied book, telling the story of Doby Saxon, a troubled young man living on a reservation.
The masterfully written book has many layers and ultimately asks readers to question the impact one life can have on an entire community. It also explores issues related to ties that bind us to the past and future.
6. Alma Katsu
Another one of Stephen King’s recommended authors, Alma Katsu, has a unique style that evokes feelings of nostalgic comfort and uneasy uncertainty.
Born in Alaska and raised in Massachusetts, Katsu worked for the government for nearly 30 years and after became a senior policy analyst for the RAND corporation.
The American Library Association hailed her first book, The Taker, as one of the ten best novels of the year when it came out, and the New York Times has called her work “supernatural suspense at its finest.”
If you want to taste Katsu’s work without committing to something long, check out her short story The Wehrwolf: A Short Story on Kindle Unlimited.
Best Book by Alma Katsu: The Deep
Mixing historical fiction and supernatural suspense elements, The Deep takes place on the ill-fated Titanic and her sister ship, the Britannic. The story hops through time like a skipping rock, and public figures from the past make appearances.
7. Caitlin Kiernan
Paleontologist-turned-author Caitlin Kiernan is a master of science fiction and dark fantasy. A prolific talent, Kiernan has penned ten novels, several comic books, and over 250 short stories and novellas.
A two-time recipient of the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards, she has been lionized as an author “with the most distinctive stylists in [the horror genre] field – Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the voice of weird fiction.”
Best Book by Caitlin Kiernan: The Very Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan
As its title suggests, The Very Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan is a compilation of the author’s most memorable short stories and novellas. Readers praise her works in the volume for “blurring boundaries” and creating literary “sensory experiences.”
8. Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novels keep readers guessing. They’re well-paced and engaging books you’ll pick up instead of finishing the latest Netflix binge. Like King, Korelitz pens penetrating psychological thrillers and has been known to cast writers as the protagonists in her stories. (Think Paul Sheldon in Misery.)
Best Book by Jean Hanff Korelitz: The Plot
Stephen King called Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot “insanely readable,” and we have to agree. The story revolves around a struggling writer navigating the low end of academia, a potentially deadly plagiarism scandal, and a web of family secrets.
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9. Victor LaValle
Native New Yorker Victor LaValle was raised in Queens by his immigrant mother and went on to earn degrees at Cornell and Columbia Universities. A Shirley Jackson Award recipient, LaValle is often praised for his atmospheric writing in horror and speculative fiction.
Best Book by Victor LaValle: The Changeling
The Changeling is a genre-defying tale about how supernatural forces have impacted a young couple’s life. Issues related to postpartum depression are interwoven with mystical elements to create a powerful, fascinating account.
10. Amy Lukavics
As a child, Amy Lukavics got lost in stories written by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen King, and while she loved reading and writing, she thought it would be impossible for her to become an author. Instead, she studied to become a medical technician.
But she was less than passionate about her work and started penning stories in her free time. As fate would have it, Lukavics had a gift, and she was able to turn her passion into a career writing young adult horror titles.
Best Book by Amy Lukavics: The Ravenous
Described as “The Virgin Suicides meets Pet Semetary,” The Ravenous was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and tells the haunting tale of four sisters, a powerful mother, and their struggle to keep their family together in the face of supernatural forces.
11. Alex Michaelides
Cyprus-born Alex Michaelides is a trained psychotherapist who once worked on a secure psychiatric unit for young adults. His experience is evident in his work, which is highly realistic, making it creepier!
A critical success, Michaelides spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list.
Best Book by Alex Michaelides: The Maidens
The Maidens is a super story for folks who love a cult mystery. This one takes place at Cambridge University and follows the exploits of an academic sect devoted to a mysteriously charismatic leader.
12. Kanae Minato
Japanese crime and thriller writer Kanae Minato is known as the “queen of Iyamisu” in her home country. Her books explore the dark side of human nature in a King-like style.
Minato didn’t start writing until her 30s, and only two of her books have been translated into English thus far. But any fan of psychological suspense would be remiss to pass them over.
Best Book by Kanae Minato: Confessions
The Gone Girl of Japan, Confessions is the story of a woman who plots an elaborate scheme to avenge her child’s life. The Wall Street Journal named it one of the ten best mysteries the year of its publication.
13. Alex North
Much like Stephen King, British crime writer Alex North grapples with the impact of childhood trauma in several of his works. North’s books have been translated into several languages, and they’re can’t-put-down good.
Best Book by Alex North: The Whisper Man
The Whisper Man is an engrossingly creepy tale set in a small village. North got the idea for the story when his young son said he was playing “with the boy in the floor,” but it’s best to go in blind.
14. Helen Oyeyemi
Award-winning writer Helen Oyeyemi is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and wrote her first bestselling novel as a teenager. Like King, she’s proficient at infusing her work with a sense of impenetrable dread and dissecting the human condition through a horror lens.
Gruesome fairy tales, death, reincarnation, and hauntings are also hallmarks of her work.
Best Book by Helen Oyeyemi: White Is for Witching
White Is for Witching is a chilling tale about an anthropomorphized house in which a mother and daughter try to navigate disquieting events.
15. Ruth Rendell
Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE — aka “Barbara Vine” — has won many “Daggers” from the Crime Writers Association and Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America.
Stephen King once praised Rendell by insisting that “no one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence.”
The aristocratic writer scribed over 70 books in her lifetime, most of which fall into the psychological murder mystery, suspense, and thriller genres.
If you like Dolores Claiborne, you’ll appreciate Rendell’s works.
Best Book by Ruth Rendell: From Doon With Death
Ruth Rendell is best known for creating the Inspector Wexford character — an updated British Hercule Poirot. She introduced him in her first novel, published in 1964, called From Doon With Death. In some ways, the story is ahead of its time and weaves a mystery about the death of an otherwise unremarkable village woman.
16. Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay started his career as a private school math teacher who coached basketball. Today, he’s a beloved horror writer whom Stephen King has shouted out on social media.
Currently, one of his titles is in development at Robert Downey Jr.’s film production company.
Tremblay serves as a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards for outstanding achievement in psychological suspense, dark fantasy, and horror.
Best Book by Paul Tremblay: Survivor Song
If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Stand, you’ll likely enjoy Tremblay’s odyssey pandemic suspense, Survivor Song, which has been widely lauded as “propulsive and chillingly prescient.“
17. C.J. Tudor
Regularly dubbed Britain’s female answer to Stephen King, C.J. Tudor writes twisting narratives that plumb the dark depths of the human psyche. She writes books and short stories.
Best Book by C.J. Tudor: The Burning Girls
The Burning Girls takes place in an isolated English village with a history of tragedies. If you enjoyed King’s books with religious subplots, like Revival and Salem’s Lot, pick up a copy of this probing tale.
We hope our list introduced you to alternatives to Stephen King horror books. Remember to lock the doors when you tuck into a new title!