Prior to launching Horror Novel Reviews some four or five years ago I knew a slew of amazing authors. Talents like Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Robert McCammon, Joe Lansdale and Dean Koontz are kind of hard to miss. But what of the “little guys” – you know, the authors just beginning to hit their stride? Tomorrow’s superstars, if you will.
There were an awful lot of those talents that I’d yet to discover. And if there’s one thing HNR has done for me (it certainly hasn’t made me rich), it’s opened my eyes to some genuinely stunning writers. We’re talking authors fully fit to be recognized as some of the best in the world.
I figured it was time to acknowledge those authors. Without them, I would have missed some incredible fiction, and that just can’t happen!
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10 Ronan Cray
Ronan Cray’s limited output is the only reason the man ranks low in this top 10 list. He’s a great writer, and if you’re looking for a riveting tale akin to Lord of the Flies, you need to look into Red Sand. It’s brilliant. Cray followed Red Sand up with Dust Eaters North, but I confess, I haven’t read it… it’s a zombie book.
09 Mark Allan Gunnells
For my buck, Flowers in a Dumpster is Gunnells’ magnum opus (at this point in time), loaded with superb tales. But he’s a dedicated author who has crafted a number of engaging stories. If Flowers in a Dumpster isn’t your bag, look into Halloween House of Horrors, it’s a certified seasonal winner.
08 Brian Moreland
Brian Moreland has written a number of kick ass novels, and sadly, I may have never known the man, nor his works existed if not for HNR. I’m partial to Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, but The Witching House is an excellent novella that may be just the story to pop your Moreland cherry.
07 Glenn Rolfe
When I met Glenn he was an aspiring author with a lot of drive. Fast forward a handful of years and he’s writing stellar stories. The Haunted Halls served as an excellent introductory serial, but Rolfe’s kick ass winner is no doubt Blood and Rain.
06 Terry M. West
Terry M. West is as prolific as it comes, and he’s developed an excellent career. Not only that, but he’s defied the rules, finding great success self-publishing. Among West’s standout affairs are What Price Gory?, Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein and Cecil & Bubba meet a Succubus.
05 Alison Littlewood
Alison Littlewood has a way of turning mundane concepts into jaw dropping narratives that not only command respect, but attention as well. My personal favorite is A Cold Season, but The Unquiet House and Path of Needles are both top notch.
04 Greg Slap
The only issue I have with Greg Slap is a somewhat slow output. Having said that, Mouth Sewn Shut is one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read, and I’ve read an awful lot of novels. Also worth looking into is the collection, Sting.
03 Todd Keisling
Todd Keisling is a sharp dude who understands realism and dialogue. He proved it like never before with the pitch-perfect A Life Transparent. It’s an amazing piece of work, and if it leaves you satisfied, I’d recommend you look into his Ugly Little Things series – there’s some great work in the collection.
02 Eric Red
I’ve been familiar with Eric Red’s films since the ‘90s, but when he made the transition to novelist, I was completely blown away… in the best way possible. A few of Red’s legitimately amazing novels include The Guns of Santa Sangre, It Waits Below and Don’t Stand So Close.
01 Hunter Shea
Of all the amazing talent on this list, none struck a chord with me the way Hunter Shea has. Virtually all of his books are stellar, and there is no better author telling monster stories today. If you’re looking for a place to start look into Hell Hole, The Montauk Monster, The Jersey Devil and Swamp Monster Massacre.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Drabble, Jonathan Janz, Tony Richards, Anthony Rapino, Dan West