Top Ten Horror Book Writers

The top ten horror authors. Not films but books. Their ability to scare amazes and will pull you into the book.

Please share your comments.
The Top Ten
1 Stephen King Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Many of his most well-known novels include Carrie, It, The Shinning, The Stand, Misery, The Dark Tower series, and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was later... read more

Stephen King is probably one of the most well-known and prolific writers of our time. Ranging from the frustrated child that develops telekinetic powers to a mythic universe of gunslingers and creatures, and passing through the basic horror of the classic vampire and werewolves, King does one thing for sure: he keeps you reading and devouring the next chapter.

Is he the best horror writer of all time? Probably. Quality and quantity join the concept of diversity, but above all, King is even better day after day. He has something new to tell, something to write about. And we, well, we'll just wait for his next book.

2 Edgar Allen Poe Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American... read more

If you truly respect the horror genre, you wouldn't place someone as talented and dedicated as Edgar Allan Poe in second place. If anything, he should be number one. Of course, there are people who believe "so-and-so's books are so much scarier," but Edgar Allan Poe was the man to push his way into man's subconscious and bring its fears to life back in the 19th century.

Stephen King would not have a place in this world if it weren't for Poe. He was one of the best-known authors of American history and has earned his place at number one. If anyone claims differently, then they are unable to fully appreciate the true horror genre.

3 H.P Lovecraft Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and published only in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century... read more

Stephen King was the first horror author I had the chance to read. I was introduced to horror movies and literature at an early age and I've been hooked ever since. However, when I branched out, I realized that King is kind of elementary and doesn't really branch out from his standard formula after the first few classics. I'll always respect The Shining because come on - it's a masterpiece! But Lovecraft opens and imagines entire worlds for us, and there's just nothing like him. Disturbing, violent, scary in so many different ways!

4 R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine is one of the greatest horror writers for kids. He is writing so many scary books with monsters, for example, Say Cheese and Die, The Haunted Mask, Welcome to Dead House, and many more. I will probably start reading Stephen King's books after I have read all of his books.

So far, my favorite Goosebumps books are Monster Blood and A Night in the Living Dummy. Well, I pretty much hate the Goosebumps book called Curse of the Mummy's Tomb. But still, I love the books.

Awesome! Stine is the creator of the popular children's series Goosebumps. Goosebumps is very intense and introduces a new character in pretty much each book. Stine is very creative when it comes to writing horror stories, but horror stories your future kids will adore! Currently reading Revenge R Us. Great book!

5 Clive Barker

I like King, Koontz, Poe, and Lovecraft. Barker does elevate horror stories to the level of art. His themes are deep, multilayered messages. His characters are complex and multifaceted. There is something to be learned by reading his work. The darker side of human nature is exposed to us and understood, not justified or agreed with. You can relate to all his characters, even the monsters. Isn't that true horror? The true horror is to realize that all of us have the capability of being a monster. The challenge is to resist that impulse no matter how much "horror" we may have experienced in our own lives. No one today expresses this with such eloquence.

6 Bram Stoker

One of the greatest writers, of all genres, of the 20th century. He weaved one of the greatest horror stories of all time, and in doing so created perhaps the most infamous monster of all, Dracula!

7 Mary Shelley Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, née Godwin (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her... read more

Mary Shelley, in her one novel, energized the horror genre worldwide at a critical moment. Her effect has been felt for over 200 years. Lovecraft's essay, "Supernatural Horror in Literature", being organized chronologically, provides a good viewpoint on Shelley's relative place in horror literature by showing what preceded her and what followed. Just for sheer impact and influence on the genre, Shelley should be listed in the top ten.

I would like to point out one little fact. In Stephen King's Danse Macabre, he states that Frankenstein's Monster (along with Dracula and the Werewolf via Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) is one of the horror genre's major archetypes. Famous to the point of having its own breakfast cereal, Frankenstein is pretty influential. I mean, it helped shape number 1 on the list.

8 Dean Koontz

For me, he is second to #1, which is Stephen King. He incorporates elements of horror, mystery, thriller, and suspense. Stephen King read his book and inspired him. Sometimes he gets ideas. One of the best.

Love Koontz! His works keep me on the edge of my seat. I am also more apt to reread his works. His work does lean more toward suspense, and yes... when he dives into horror, you will not sleep!

Stephen King and Dean Koontz are by far the best authors, but seriously consider reading Watchers or Strangers, Odd Thomas... the list just goes on.

9 Richard Laymon

I think people are getting confused between horror and thriller. Laymon is a true horror writer. A lot of this top 10 are overrated, and Mary Shelley at #7! Come on, she wrote one good book and that's it!

I have read all of Richard Laymon's books. Such awesome stories. They kept me riveted from the very beginning all the way to the end.

This writer was an absolutely awesome storyteller. He made you feel as though you were right in the middle of the horror.

10 Darren O'Shaughnessy

The Saga of Darren Shan is the best book series I've ever read. Actually, it's the best 12 books I've ever read. It's not only scary, but there are so many amazing adventures in it you just can't stop reading it. You're always like "One page more and I will stop reading" - well, that never happens! And it's emotional too. I swear I feel every feeling in my body while reading this series. You should be wasting your time if you haven't read the books yet. Go and add reading Darren's books to your bucket list!

Darren Shan is an excellent author who makes his readers lean on the edge of their seats. Readers can't wait for the next book in the Darren Shan series as they can't wait to find out what happens next in his dangerous life.

The Contenders
11 Richard Matheson

Hell House trumps every "scary" book written by King.

Matheson's work is so much more solid than Barker or King, I don't know why I am the first to vote for him?

Matheson explores themes of inner human darkness, choices, consequences and evil. King writes boo stories and Barker writes gore stories.

Hell House in itself is a disturbing piece that is so intense. Despite having ghosts, there are other dark themes including necrophilia, sodomy, abortion, rape, murder, lust and the corruption of the soul.

I would also vote for his collection of short stories over 60% of the authors on this votes best list.

Closing I will say the only really good horror novel by King is Thinner. (Salem's Lot was okay, but not truly as horrifying as Hell House or the Button by Matheson.)

12 Christopher Pike

So happy he's on this list! Christopher Pike is the perfect transition for preteens and teens from most R.L. Stine books (especially the non-Goosebumps) into something like King. Loved his stories growing up, and he could really get into your head. There's one story of his that still haunts me.

You have to read some of his adult novels, especially The Season of Passage, to understand what an awesome horror writer Pike is. Season of Passage stays with you forever, never leaves the back of your mind, and never stops beguiling.

13 Agatha Christie Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, was an English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright. She is the best-selling novelist ever. She also made the longest play ever. She is remembered for making multiple mystery books including; And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient... read more

I have tons of her novels, including Poirot and Marple. Mysteries give the amount of advice that means something to a person in that kind of story.

Best mystery writer! Her stories are believable yet so mesmerizing that you can't put them down.

14 Ramsey Campbell

He's not the fear of the slasher or the satanic being, but rather that of everyday uncomfortable situations - a traffic stop, a confrontation, an audit, etc. - heightened to the point of the unbearable. And if you need them, there are usually monsters underneath.

The absolute best horror writer ever!

15 Anthony Horowitz
16 Shaun Hutson

Makes me feel like I'm reading an 80s horror movie. That is definitely a good thing! Love his work.

17 Bentley Little

His novels made me stay awake all night, unable to put them down. I was so eager to know how the end would turn out. Not to mention they made me glance at the darkness within the room every now and then. Boy, was I scared! (Laugh out loud.)

18 Koji Suzuki
19 John Saul

This author was my introduction to the horror genre with "The Homing". I'm still afraid of insects! Fantastic writer - I would recommend him any day!

His books are suspenseful, and each tale's plot is different from the one before. Horror fans of all ages will appreciate his writing. It's hard to put one of his books down!

When I thought I knew how things would turn out... Bang! Nope, there was a twist in the end. His stories have you on the edge.

20 Peter Straub

Every book he has written has entranced me and spooked the heck out of me. My favorite horror writer, hands down.

If it weren't for Stephen King, Straub would have been considered the best of the 70s and 80s.

A branch of Stephen King. One of the best. Try to read his books, all his books.

21 Kelley Armstrong

Her supernatural novels are the best. They have everything a good novel needs: romance, suspense, gore, fantasy, sex, and a dark sense of humor.

22 Graham Masterton

Some of his ideas may sound silly when the lights are still on. You may laugh at the things he came up with or all the mistakes he made not doing the research or ignoring some details just to make something fit the story, but then you read the stories and they just can't leave your head, some of his ideas will haunt you even years after reading. That man knows how to scare his readers.

Brilliant! Burial and Sleepless are the best books I have ever read.

Horror commences right from the beginning of his books.

23 Chris Mentillo

Known to the macabre audience as "a true master of horror", this recluse's life really is a true testament to a living nightmare, and with no tripe. Dr. Chris Mentillo began writing about such dreams of horror due to his ill-fated lifestyle, dealing mostly with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and routinely horrific nightmares. Thus igniting his career as a best-selling horror writer, the rest as they say is history.

24 Vincent V. Cava

This guy can pull a horror story out of a sock and scare the hell out of you, give you the creeps, or even trouble you for days on end.

My favorite short story writer. In five lines, this man can terrify you where you stand.

I've listened to Picture This three times, and it still gives me chills.

25 Shirley Jackson

I stumbled onto Shirley Jackson. I read her book The Haunting of Hill House. I love her characters and how it was more psychological than horror.

8Load More
PSearch List