I need a new horror author - recommendations?

I love horror books. My favorite author is Graham Masterton, though I like most of Stephen King’s stuff as well, and John Saul. Problem is, prolific as he is I’m running out of Masterton books to read and thus I need a new author to dig into, so I’m turning to the Dope.

What I like:

  • Horror based on old legends or ethnic history (Masterton does a lot of this, particularly with Native American mythos)
  • Horror set in modern times, with modern-day characters.
  • Lots of gore/shocking stuff. The gorier, the better!
  • Horror combined with criminal investigation/mystery solving/that kind of thing.
  • Psychological horror.

What I don’t like:

  • Sex. I don’t like my horror mixed with too many sexual themes. Mild is okay, and things like “here’s a scene where somebody was horribly violated by the Evil Thing™,” but shocking scenes of violent rape and such aren’t my thing.
  • Period or historical horror. Never really got into things like Dracula or Frankenstein. I prefer a more modern-day slant.
  • Books/authors where the protagonist fails. I don’t mind high body counts (in fact, I expect them) but I do want the protagonists to succeed in the end (or at least survive!)
  • Graphic depictions of cruelty to animals.

How about it? Any suggestions? I’ve tried Dean Koontz and wasn’t terribly impressed (though I only tried a couple of his books). I know there are a lot of good horror authors out there. Oh, and it would be a big bonus (though not a requirement) if the author’s work was available on the Kindle. Thanks in advance!

You should download some HP Lovecraft. He has a certain, somewhat mockable, style, but truthfully his short stories creep the crap out of me.

Apparently there are three collections out right now from Penguin Classics, called
-The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
-The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
-The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories

There are also many, many anthologies by various authors in homage to Lovecraft, I recently read “Children of Cthulu” which were mostly set in the modern day.

I would second HP, but combining all of his works into one volume, you have something about the same thickness as the average modern Stephen King novel. Well, on second thought, half the thickness.

What I am saying is that depending on your reading speed, you aren’t going to stay busy long, but it is certainly primo stuff.

I am interested what others have to say.

Peter Straub’s Blue Rose series are probably considered more mystery/thriller, but they’re gory, riveting and loads of fun and should fit the bill, anyway. Make sure to read them in order:

The Throat

His more mainstream horror, Ghost Story, Shadowland and Julia are also quite good.

I think Robert McCammon’s earlier novels had some of this – Baal, Night Boat, The Fog, and Bethany’s Sin.

Try John Farris – Son of the Endless Night and All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By. Actually, anything by him is worth a look.

For modern day stuff, I like The Minnesota Supernatural novels by Thomas Disch. The Sub, The Businessman, The M.D., and The Priest.

Sorry these aren’t new – they’re mostly from the 80’s – but maybe they’ll be new to you. :slight_smile:

But you can’t really call him a writer whose protagonists always succeed . . . they usually survive, but regret it . . . At any rate, there is some detective work involved in a lot of his fiction, and no sexual themes at all unless you go really Freudian on it. And there’s lots of psychological horror – if Lovecraft didn’t invent it, he took it to the next level.

Or, you can read all his short stories online here, if you don’t mind white letters on a black background.

Also consider Richard Matheson.

The movie tie version of “I am Legend” contains a couple excellent short horror stories of his. (including, as I remember, “Dress of White Silk,” that story’ll creep ya into next tuesday )

I also liked his book “A Stir of Echoes” a short novel that really fits your bill, and which differs from the (IMHO underrated) movie of the same name.

Thanks for the suggestions, all. I’ll check them out.

I’ve read some Lovecraft–I love the concept, but his writing puts me to sleep. I do enjoy “Lovecraftian” style stories, but it’s not quite what I’m looking for. For one thing, they tend to dance around the gore, and I like it right out there in your face.

But I’ll take a look at all the suggestions. Thanks!

I second the recommendation of Robert McCammon. Swan’s Song is a great post-apocalyptic horror novel by him. I liked it as much as I liked King’s The Stand.

It’s not not billed as a horror novel, more of a “gothic western” with hints of the supernatural, but give Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy a shot. I was horrified by the climax, to say the least.

Agreed. Swan Song was my absolute favorite book for quite some time.
Another candidate is L. A. Banks (she’s a bit of a hottie, to boot!) You can find her story Spellbound in the somewhat popular My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding anthology (excerpt here).

You may like Brian Lumley, then.

Scott Sigler, brilliant storyteller, can’t recommend him enough. Just what you wanted.

Plus, have an Ipod or similar? How about free podcast version of his books read (very well) by the author.

Get them from itunes or his website.

I’d start with Earthcore which is practically written to meet the specifications you requested above, but they are all good.

Richard Laymon is not a bad horror writer.

His vampire novels, like The Stake are particularly good.

Also try F. Paul Wilson for a linked series of novels, The Keep is fantastic. The final part is a bit too hokey and post apocalyptic, but the rest are good.

Seconded on Sigler (though I’ve only read his print books). He’s awesome and very gory.

Bentley Little - the most underrated horror author ever. Stephen King is actually a fan of his. His obscurity is due in no small part to the fact that he is a recluse who lives in isolation in Arizona and refuses to maintain any online presence, distrusting computers.

I was also going to suggest F Paul Wilson, who I’ve been reading a lot of. Not a lot of his stuff is horror, though most of it gets put in that section. I’d also suggest Midnight Mass as a good book.

There’s also a trilogy of books from Jonathan Maberry called the Pine Deep trilogy. There’s a lot of bloodshed in the last novel at least.

Or Ramsey Campbell – see Campbell Country.

You might try Jack Ketchum. He’s my favorite horror author and his books definitely qualify for very bloody / gory. The only thing is though, it’s been a while since I’ve read everything and I’m not sure how much violent sex there is in there. In Off Season, which is about cannibalism, I don’t remember any and that’s the one that set me on the path of adoring him as a writer.

I have read some of his - it was pretty good.

I also liked Dan Simmons - * Summer of Night *

It has sort of a nightmare * Stand by Me * feel to it