15 Best Horror Authors You Must Read - Deepstash

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Stephen King

Stephen King

  • Stephen King is arguably one of the best horror writers on this list and one of the most popular among horror fans.
  • His first professional content sale was in 1967 for a short story published in Startling Mystery Stories. His debut novel Carrie was published in 1971, and King continues to publish short stories and horror books to this day over six decades later.
  • King is a New York Times bestselling author and lives with his wife, sharing their time between Maine and Florida depending on the season.
  • Best Works: Pet Semetary, The Shining, The Stand, Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot.

5

39 reads

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker

  • Bram Stoker is nearly synonymous with vampires, having written the original Dracula.
  • Originally named Abraham Stoker, this Irish gothic author lived between 1847 and 1912, when he died after suffering several strokes.
  • In 1987, the Bram Stoker Award was established and has been awarded every year since 1988. Popular Bram Stoker Award winners include other horror authors on this list like Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and more. 
  • Best Works: Dracula, Dracula’s Guest, The Jewel of Seven Stars.

5

30 reads

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson

  • Shirley Jackson is the popular gothic horror novel author of The Haunting of Hill House, published in 1989. Later, a 20th-century movie would be inspired by the tome.
  • Instead of sticking to common horror story tropes, Jackson wrote what would become one of the most well-known haunted house horror books currently available. 
  • Best Works: The Haunting of Hill House, The Letters of Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived In the Castle, Dark Tales.

5

29 reads

Clive Barker

Clive Barker

  • Clive Barker is a well-known playwright, film director, and author in the horror genre. His debut set of short stories, The Books of Blood, received high praise from Stephen King.
  • Several of his stories have been made into movies, including Hellraiser and Candyman.
  • In addition, Barker received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Gods and Monsters, a period drama published in 1998 about the last days in the life of another esteemed film director, James Whale.
  • Best Works: Books of Blood, Volume 1,, The Hellbound Heart, Weaveworld.

5

21 reads

Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz

  • Dean Koontz is another extremely popular New York Times bestselling author.
  • It’s hard to decide which book of his is the scariest; there are so many to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a horror story about phantoms, ghosts, serial killers, or even horror novels with a bit of science fiction thrown in, Koontz is an ideal choice.
  • Koontz’s horror books read quickly despite their intimidating volume, keeping readers on their toes and guessing about what may be coming next.
  • Best Works: The Other Emily, 77 Shadow Street, The Lost Soul of the City, The Servants of Twilight, The Night Window: A Jane Hawk Novel.

5

14 reads

Anne Rice

Anne Rice

  • Anne Rice is best known for her series The Vampire Chronicles, including the novel Interview With a Vampire.
  • The first book in the series introduced us to Lestat and Louis, later played by Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the movie of the same name.
  • Since 2008, Rice has sold more than 80 million copies of her debut novel, which remains one of the best books about vampires in the entire horror genre.
  • Best Works: The Vampire Chronicles, Blackwood Farm.

5

15 reads

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

  • Edgar Allen Poe is perhaps one of America’s most beloved poets and short story authors, having written classic works like The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart.
  • Poe lived between 1809 and 1849, with his death being just as mysterious as his life.
  • A great deal of speculation surrounds his manner and cause of death, which is technically marked as “phrenitis,” a condition that caused brain inflammation and was often used in cases where the actual cause was unknown.
  • Best Works: The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories, The Fall of the House of Usher.

5

16 reads

H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft

  • H.P. Lovecraft is an acclaimed short story author from Rhode Island, born in August of 1890.
  • H.P. showed an early interest in the English language, reciting poetry at just two years of age. He began reading a year later at the age of three and writing his own work at around six.
  • Lovecraft suffered from severe mental illness throughout his life and later supported himself through ghostwriting and revising content for other authors. He died in March 1937 of intestinal cancer. 
  • Best Works: The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, H.P. Lovecraft Tales of Horror.

5

13 reads

Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell

  • Ramsey Campbell is one of the most awarded authors in the horror book genre. He has been awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, and the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention.
  • Campbell is described by The Oxford Companion to English Literature as “the most respected horror writer” in all of Britain. He currently resides in Merseyside.
  • Best Works: The Books of Blood, Volume 1, The Searching Dead (The Three Births of Daoloth), Born to the Dark (The Three Births of Daoloth), Far Away & Never, The Hungry Moon (Fiction Without Frontiers).

5

13 reads

Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson

  • Richard Matheson is a popular science fiction, horror, and fantasy author and screenwriter. Many of his books have been adapted for the big screen, some more than once, such as I Am Legend, most recently starring well-known actor Will Smith.
  • Matheson published his first short story at just eight years old, inspired by the 1939 movie Dracula and similar. After serving during the First World War, he attended the University of Missouri, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
  • Best Works: Hell House, I Am Legend, What Dreams May Come, A Stir of Echoes, Somewhere In Time.

5

12 reads

Peter Straub

Peter Straub

  • Peter Straub is a famous American poet and novelist with dozens of horror fiction books under his belt. Having co-written The Talisman with fellow horror author and close friend Stephen King, Straub has left a significant mark on the genre.
  • His unique works have enjoyed literary success, winning the Bram Stoker Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and the World Fantasy Award.  
  • Best Works: Koko (Blue Rose Trilogy Book 1), Mystery (Blue Rose Trilogy Book 2), The Throat (Blue Rose Trilogy Book 3), Ghost Story, Floating Dragon: A Thriller.

5

15 reads

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

  • Ray Bradbury (1920 - 2012) is a cherished American author of short stories and poetry.
  • He died in Los Angeles, California, in 2012 after a long career of successfully publishing more than 50 novels and over 400 short stories.
  • Bradbury is best known for Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian novel named after the temperature at which books burn, depicting a future society where literature is illegal.  
  • Best Works: Fahrenheit 451: A Novel, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine (Greentown Book 1), Something Wicked This Way Comes (Greentown Book 2).

6

16 reads

Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons

  • One facet that separates Simmons’ work from other horror authors is that he often blends genres to create wholly unique worlds.
  • He began his career by publishing his work in the Twilight Zone Magazine, winning first place.
  • He has since won the World Fantasy Award for his work on Song of Kali, the Locus Award for his Seasons of Horror series, the Bram Stoker Award, and has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award.
  • Best Works: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 1), The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 2), Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 3), Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 4), Children of the Night: A Vampire Novel.

5

13 reads

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne Du Maurier

  • Daphne Du Maurier is the author of the esteemed horror novel Jamaica Inn, a thrilling mystery about a woman who moves in with her Aunt and Uncle to a home located in a dangerous part of town.
  • Although Du Maurier is most well known for her romance novels, most of her writing has elements of horror and the paranormal woven in to create a multilayered work of fiction. 
  • Best Works: Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek, The House on the Strand, The King’s General.

5

15 reads

Jack Ketchum

Jack Ketchum

  • Stephen King has called Ketchum (real name Dallas Meyr) “the scariest guy in America.”
  • Ketchum spent time as a lumber salesman, teacher, performer, and literary agent to make ends meet between publishing novels.
  • Five of Ketchum’s books have been adapted to the big screen, and his work The Crossings was mentioned in a speech at the National Book Awards in 2003 by Stephen King.  
  • Best Works: The Girl Next Door, Off Season, Offspring, The Woman, Red.

6

25 reads

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