I sometimes think that if in the literary world romance is the red-headed step child, horror is the kid locked in the basement. It's true. Very few authors in the field get the respect that they deserve in my opinion. King alone should be recognized as one of the greatest authors of our time (again, my opinion). Most recently his son Joe Hill burst onto the scene with an award winning short story collection, Twentieth Century Ghosts, and his Stoker winning Heart Shaped Box. The question among many readers minds, though, is what else is there?
So often people name King, Koontz, and even Saul as their first three picks in the genre. There are so many more out there, though. Dorchester publishes at least two new horror paperbacks a month. Their site is a great place to find new authors. The Horror Writers Association is another great place to find new authors, just look at their yearly Stoker nominations.
I've recently been going back to some of the 80s authors - horror was a different style then than it is now. I love old James Herbert and Clive Barker. I've got all of the Books of Blood sitting on my shelf now in hopes that I'll at least read "Midnight Meat Train" before the movie comes out next month.
Horror today is a crap shoot. I understand why so many people shy away from it. Some of the ones that I've read and enjoyed in recent years include:
The brilliantly fabulous James A. Moore. Moore doesn't pop one out every year, though, and most of his previous ones are out of print. His Serenity Falls trilogy is the most fun I've had in years!
Doug Clegg can be an acquired taste for some. He has some quiet novels, but most are in-your-face gore and lots of shock factor action - something I really don't mind.
Tamara Thorne is fun in a B-movie way. I especially love Moonfall.
Most recently I read Gary Braunbeck's Coffin County and really enjoyed it. I also just finished Sarah Pinborough's Tower Hill. There's an odd trend in the horror titles that I've read lately and I'm not sure exactly why there's such a surge in these titles. It's an almost Needful Things type trend. Pinborough's latest and Braunbeck's title, to an extent, both fall into this category as do Sarah Langan's debut and Stoker nominated The Keeper and Nate Kenyon's Bloodstone. In fact, I found Kenyon and Langan's titles oddly similar and both were nominated for Stokers in the same year.
Some other "new" titles that have been garnering attention are:
Infected by Scott Sigler (gory and fun!)
The Terror by Dan Simmons (historical horror)
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff (a ghost story with a twist)
Monster Island and 13 Bullets by David Wellington (zombies and vamps, respectively)
Interestingly enough, Wellington and Sigler both gained recognition thanks to their massive online following and both deservedly so.
Of course, there's one other to mention here and that's the upcoming title The Passage by Jordan Ainsley (aka Justin Cronin). Still rumored to be published sometime next year, it's a vamp trilogy that earned Cronin a six-figure deal. I sincerely hope it's worth it.
Anyway, my point is that there is so much out there and like all genres it's hit or miss depending on your own personal taste. Hopefully if you're a horror enthusiast, you'll have found a new author here to try. And, if you're curious, maybe you'll check out one of these authors even if you don't normally read horror.