Whenever we talk about horror books it is impossible not to mention Stephen King. The bestselling author with one of the greatest books in the horror genre, well, not one of them, but The BEST. Over the years the writer has provided us with some of the brilliant books and he is frequently dubbed as the king of horror books for a reason.
Many of his books are now transformed into a movie and series. His work has had a great impact on the movie and television industry that produced some of the best masterpieces that we have today including It, The Shining, etc.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the author was asked which one of the books that he has written is his favorite, to which he replied with Lisey’s Story, the 2006 novel. There are, however, many books that gained more fame and recognition than the author’s favorite and we are going to list each one of them into this list.
If you are confused about which is the best Stephen King books you should start with, then you have come to the right place. Among the many many books written by the writer, we have narrowed down some of his best masterpieces that proved to be a hit among the readers.
1. The Dead Zone
The Dead Zone considered one of the best works of Stephen King features Johnny Smith. Johnny Smith who was in a coma finally wakes up but he has suddenly gained some of the psychic powers. Later he meets with a politician who is going to be an upcoming president.
After meeting the deranged Politician, Johnny is having a conflict in his mind about whether or not the politician should be assassinated by him. The book introduces us with a riveting story of a psychic and how he chooses to use his power. The book became really famous after its releases and there is a movie out there based on the book of the same name starring Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen.
2. The Shining
The Shining is often dubbed as one of the scariest novels to ever exist. The idea of the book came to him when the author, Stephen King moved to Colorado with his young family. Around the 1970s for a brief period of time, he spent his time in Colorado. He also visited the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and spent the night there.
Due to winter, the place was about to close, and the building was nearly empty. While wandering through the building, the idea hit King and imagined what it would be like to spend the entire winter trapped inside and this resulted in The Shining.
The time when he was writing this book, the author was struggling with a pretty serious drinking problem. But as soon as he released the book, it became an all-time classic although the author himself is not very appreciative of his work about The Shining.
The list of best Stephen King books is incomplete without adding ‘It’ to the list. The book has had a great impact on people’s lives and it has created a terror of clowns among them more than any book or movie ever did, not even close. The book is about a Maine group of friends and how do they tackle a scary clown named Pennywise.
Pennywise lives in the town’s sever and hunts the kids. The kids thought that they had killed him in the 1950s but 30 years later he is back again, and this time stronger. They are now forced to have a final battle with him. ‘It’ is one of the longest books of Stephen King with around 1,142 pages but it is worth reading every page. And once you start reading it, it is hard to put the book down.
4. The Stand
The Stand is the story about a virus called Captain Trips. The virus is so dangerous that it has wiped about 99 percent of the planet. The rest of the people who are survivors of the pandemic is ready to face it and start the war of good against evil. The book is crazily ambiguous but with the brilliance of the author, he has executed it flawlessly.
The original book that Stephen King wrote was actually so long that the printing press told the author that they are unable to handle it and he will have to reduce it. Stephen King had to remove big chunks from his book to shorten it. The uncut version of the book came out in the year 1990. The network ABC has turned the book into miniseries.
5. Salem’s Lot
As soon as the first-ever book of Stephen King came out, he sent a loud and clear message with his book, that he is here for the long run. His debut novel Carrie did pretty well for a first novel. Then sometime later, the author also introduced a follow-up in the year 1975. The follow up is called Salem’s Lot.
Salem’s Lot starts in the small town of Maine and revolves around only one question., What will happen when the creature like Dracula-Vampire hits the town? The town is slowly getting transformed into the vampires and it has attacked the most part. Who will end this? Well, probably this young highschool teacher and his young girlfriend who are trying to battle this evil.
6. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
Many people are unaware of the fact that the brilliant movie Shawshank Redemption is actually based on the 1982 novel by Stephen Hawking. The author is generally known for writing horror and thriller books but this book surprised everyone. This was something different from haunted places and scary clowns.
The book is actually based on the life of a person who is sentenced to life in jail for the crime that he didn’t even commit. Well, what could be more terrifying than that! But this is not it, the story gets worse, the man in the prison has a prison rapist and a sadistic warden and his whole life turn into a living nightmare.
The theatre adaptation of this book has gained much appreciation and to date the movie, Shawshank Redemption is considered as one of the most moving films Hollywood has ever made.
7. The Dark Towers IV: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Towers is a whole series by the author and The Dark Towers IV: Wizard and Glass is the fourth book of the series. The whole series takes place in the Mid-world. It revolves around a man named Roland who is a gunslinger and attempting to reach the Dark Towers.
The fourth book of this series focuses on the teenage years of Rolland and the doomed love affair that he had with Susan Delgado. Book four is considered as the best one from the series. It is the last book before the van accident of Stephen King. After the accident, King finished the remaining three books of the series in a row and the readers though it to be not as great as other books of the series and though it was a bit rushed.
8. The Green Mile
The Green Mile was released by Stephen King as a six-monthly installment of prison drama. The book revolves around the life of a black man who is large in size, he accused of the rape of two young girls. Even though the man seems to be quiet and timid, he is believed to have possessed the power to heal people with just his touch.
The readers accused the author of creating the magical negro character through his book. To which Stephen King strongly disagrees and said that he was trying to create such a story in which the character doesn’t get off the hook even if he has not committed the crime. This led the author to wonder what could he actually do to make it happen.
Then after some time, he came with an idea, that the book belongs to 1933 and in that era, the officials in no way will let the black man go even if all the evidence is in favor of him so this led him into making the character black.
The author has spent years wondering about the idea of writing the book about a man who went back in time and prevented the JFK assassinations. And he actually made it possible in the year 2011 when he released his book 11/22/63. The book follows the life of an ordinary high school teacher who is divorced.
He recently started his job in a small town near Dallas. The man finds a portal in a small diner that will take him to 1958. The story then moves forward and results in one of the greatest books ever written by the author. The brilliant book containing 849 pages is often talked about to turn it into a film but nobody is yet able to frame the book into the right screenplay.
Well, Stephen King is really lucky to not have Annie Wilkes as her fan. The dangerous character that he created in his book Misery. In the book, Annie Walkies who is a die-hard fan of an author kidnaps him and forces him into writing the sequel of the series that she liked. The author tries to fight back and defend himself, but Annie Walkies starts chopping away at him with an ax.
The book has some seriously disturbing elements and the terror level in the book has made it one of the excellent books that King wrote in his career. It took years for the author to realize that the whole book was the product of his raging cocaine addiction. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the author said, “Misery is a book about cocaine. Annie Wilkes is cocaine. She was my number-one fan.”
11. Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary is considered one of the scariest books that the author has ever written. The New York Times bestselling novel is a very disturbing piece yet you will find it somehow relatable. The book is so brilliantly written that both believers and non-believers were convinced that the beloved pets actually had the ability to rise from their graves.
Most fans of Stephen King considers it to be in their top-3 favorite list. Pet Sematary is so disturbing that people admitted having nightmares after reading it. The book follows the idea of burying your beloved dead pets in the dark forest behind all the whose and every night these animals rise from their graves.
12. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
On Writing is the book where Stephen King will himself tell you how the magic happens that leads him into giving one the greatest books. In this book, Stephen King has explained the process that how he became the King, the King of horror. He has given details about how he came up with the characters and how he builds them in order to make them memorable by the audience.
Apart from this, Stephen King has also given a brief about his childhood when he used to be really poor. He also mentioned that he didn’t get overnight success. He has struggled for so many years and got so many rejection letters before finally his book got accepted. The book is a bible for all the fans of Stephen King and a true fan must read this book to know the author perfectly.
13. Full Dark, No Stars
Full Dark, No Stars is a 2010 novel which is a collection of four short stories and novels. The book will tell you brilliantly that how the author has summoned the story so impactful in such brief. The whole book which is a compilation of four books is based on the dark nature of humans and retribution. The titles of the book include:
- 1922- This book is about a man who murdered his wife.
- Big Driver- Big Driver is based on a drive home that went tragic.
- Fair Extension- This is about a man who actually made a deal with a devil.
- A Good Marriage- Definitely about a bad marriage.
If you have not read any of the sci-fi and horror books yet, this book will make you an instant fan. The incidents in the book will leave you wondering and you will actually be impressed by the intelligence of Stephen King that he used in writing this book.
Stephen King, one of the greatest writers of our time is definitely a very brilliant and intelligent man, his intelligence is quite evident in the books that he wrote and at one point even you will wonder that how he managed to come up with this? With each turning page, the story of his books gets more and more intense. Horror is one of the hardest genres to make the people experience with just words but it is not a task for King.
Over the years the writer has written numerous books, each better than the other and gained a lot of name and fame for his work. The bestselling author is also very recognized in Hollywood as there are a few masterpieces in the Hollywood industry that are totally based on his work.
If you haven’t read any of the artist’s works yet then you should know that you are missing out on so much. Even if you are not a fan of thrillers, these books will make you one. If you have read the books written by the author that you feel should be on the list then you can let us know about it in the comment section below.
Also, if you have any queries or suggestions, you can give it to us by commenting below. We would be happy to help you.