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11 Stephen King Readalikes To Satisfy Your Hunger for Horror 

He may be the King, but this isn't a monarchy.

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  • Photo Credit: Featured photo: Attila Lisinszky / Unsplash

Stephen King is the master of horror and suspense. He’s written over sixty novels, hundreds of short stories, and several non-fiction novels, all selling well over 350 million copies worldwide. Chances are, if you love horror fiction, his books were your "gateway drug."

And as much as we all love Stephen King, sometimes you want to see what else is out there in the vast horror landscape. And sometimes there are so many new authors to try out, it can get a little overwhelming. So we took eleven of Stephen King's best-loved books and matched them with a comparable title. This way you get a bit of what's familiar mixed with a different author's completely unique take. 

Scroll down, find your favorite—and start reading! 

If you love Carrie, then you’ll adore…


My Heart is a Chainsaw

By Stephen Graham Jones

Even though the plots might seem very different on the surface, it’s an absolute guarantee that you will love Jade Daniels as much as Carrie White. They’re the underdogs. Abused, teased, bullied, ignored. And yet, when things get tough, when all else fails, they both find hidden strength inside themselves that they never knew they had.

If you love Firestarter, then you’ll adore…


The Power

By Naomi Alderman

Charlie McGee didn’t ask for her powers. But that doesn’t stop the government from trying to hunt her down to see how they can use her. It’s this exact attitude that sparked the change in The Power. Women being used, abused, hunted, and controlled. The women with power refuse to let anyone take it away from them. And if you like the idea of stories being told inside stories, both books have that element woven in.

If you love Pet Sematary, then you’ll adore…



By Laurel Hightower

Grief is hard. Particularly when you lose a child. Louis Creed makes an emotional decision that nearly costs him everything after he loses his son Gage. Chris doesn’t make the same choice. But she ends up haunted by her grief all the same. When someone you love dies, all you want is one more moment with them. But sometimes, that moment can turn into a nightmare.

If you love The Gunslinger, then you’ll adore…


The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie

Roland of Gilead is the only thing holding all the worlds together. The last gunslinger is a complicated man in a forgotten parallel world, so much like our own. It’s an epic quest in a fantasy Wild West, where the line between good and bad blurs. While The Blade Itself isn’t set in the West, the gritty, morally grey murderous characters will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hero. Villain. The line is as thin as the blade itself.

If you love Misery, then you’ll adore…



By Octavia Butler

There’s nothing more terrifying than being held prisoner. Paul and Dana’s imprisonments are drastically different, and arguably, Dana’s is infinitely more horrific. But they’re both trapped, struggling to survive at the mercy of people they don’t trust or understand. The longer they’re trapped, the worse things get. Can they endure? Can they survive? 

If you love Cujo, then you’ll adore…

Pearl by horror author Josh Malerman


By Josh Malerman

Pearl is not as innocent as Cujo. One was infected with rabies, the other, well, isn’t. There was always something “off” about Pearl. Dogs and pigs are capable of being incredibly violent. But for the most part, they aren’t. They’re docile. Domesticated. They aren’t supposed to be the monster hiding in the shadows. But when they are, it’s absolutely terrifying.

If you love The Stand, then you’ll adore…

books like the stand


By Chuck Wendig

These are two books about the end of the world. A virus ended one. A fungal infection the other. But how humanity survives is dramatically different in each. Except, there’s still good and evil, and a battle between the two. They’re breathtaking in scope, featuring the complicated nature of humanity. And they both have the fate of mankind hanging in the balance. 

If you love The Shining, then you’ll adore…

white horse

White Horse

By Erika Wurth

This is another pairing that may not seem like they fit on the surface. But both Jack and Kari have some similarities that are impossible to ignore. Haunted by their pasts that impact their choices in the present, their futures are uncertain. There’s even an Overlook Hotel—the same one, in fact. 

If you love Salem’s Lot, then you’ll adore…

books like the stand

The Passage

By Justin Cronin

These are not books where the vampires are sultry or sparkly. They are terrifying entities that mercilessly hunt their prey. While The Passage does have more post-apocalyptic vibes than Salem’s Lot, the creatures in them are terrifying. And the rural town of Salem feels isolated and out of time, making it fit perfectly with the eerie, end-of-the-world vibes of The Passage.

If you love The Green Mile, then you’ll adore…


Chain-Gang All-Stars

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Of all the books on this list, this pairing is probably the most unusual. Yes, they’re both set in prisons, where the cruelty of incarceration shows up in myriad ways. They speak bold, profound messages about cruelty and forgiveness, vengeance and justice. But there’s no doubt, Chain-Gang All Stars is the much grittier, far more violent version. And yet, they both humanize the prisoners while villainizing the systems that keep people imprisoned. 

If you love IT, then you’ll adore…

scary books to read this october

Clown in a Cornfield

By Adam Cesare

It doesn’t get much more terrifying than murderous clowns. Put them in a sewer, put them in a cornfield—they’re still the stuff of nightmares. Frendo and Pennywise have a lot in common. They prey on kids, want things to go back to the way they once were, and just can’t get murder out of their system. Oh, and they’re both clowns.

Featured photo: Attila Lisinszky / Unsplash