10 Horror-Thrill Books Like The Outsider

Horror Thriller Fiction Novels

The Outsider by Stephen King is an atmospheric horror novel that establishes a community and world and adds disturbing elements for the reader to become very invested. It is based in a realistic setting, and slowly introducing horror elements is wonderful and works incredibly well for him. Unlike most horror authors, Stephen’s voice is about making you feel this world is your own. This reflection of reality with maybe one element mixed in it almost reminds me of classic sci-fi.

Step into the shadowy realm of mystery and suspense with our curated list of books for fans of Stephen King’s “The Outsider.” If you found yourself captivated by the chilling narrative, complex characters, and the blend of detective fiction with supernatural elements in King’s masterpiece, you’re in for a treat.

Just like “The Outsider,” each book on our list promises to take you on a gripping journey through dark alleys of the human psyche, unraveling mysteries that blur the lines between the ordinary and the paranormal. Prepare to be enthralled by stories where nothing is as it seems, and every turn of the page brings a new heart-pounding revelation. So, let’s turn down the lights and dive into these tales that are sure to keep you reading late into the night!

10 Books Like The Outsider

Stephen King has a great track record for ending stories on solid notes. The Outsider felt like an incredibly well-planned strategy. Also, with the building of tension and characters, every scene felt like it was happening slightly faster and faster.

We were stumbling down this hill to this epic resolution, a building pace that worked and had the characters battle their disbelief. I will talk about ten horror/thriller books like The Outsider to keep your feelings alive and give you the same vibe.

NameKey FocusTropes
The Exorcist by William Peter BlattyA chilling and iconic horror novel about a young girl’s demonic possession and the subsequent exorcism conducted by two priests, blending psychological terror with theological questions.Demonic possession, religious horror, exorcism ritual, good versus evil, psychological thriller, supernatural events, crisis of faith, mother-daughter relationship, paranormal investigation, moral ambiguity, spiritual warfare, intense horror.
The Good House by Tananarive DueA gripping horror novel blending family saga with supernatural elements, centered on a woman who confronts an ancient curse haunting her family’s home in a small Washington town.Haunted house, ancestral curse, family legacy, supernatural horror, small-town secrets, African American folklore, mother-son relationship, occult practices, psychological depth, intergenerational trauma, mystery and suspense, dark past revelations.
Strange Weather by Joe HillA collection of four short novels, each presenting a unique and eerie tale that explores bizarre weather phenomena and their profound impact on the lives of the characters involved.Anthology, supernatural events, psychological horror, apocalyptic scenarios, surrealism, moral dilemmas, dark fantasy, climate anomalies, intense drama, character-driven narratives, societal commentary, speculative fiction.
The Reaping by Bernard TaylorA horror novel centered around a young couple who, after adopting a seemingly perfect child, gradually uncover a terrifying and supernatural secret linked to her past.Adoption with a dark twist, supernatural horror, sinister child, psychological terror, family secrets, small-town mystery, escalating dread, haunted past, suspenseful atmosphere, gradual revelation of horror, unexpected consequences, eerie undertones.
December Park by Ronald MalfiA gripping and atmospheric thriller set in a small town, where a group of friends become entangled in the mystery of a serial kidnapper and murderer known as the Piper.Small-town mystery, coming of age, serial killer, group of friends, amateur investigation, 1990s setting, suspense and tension, dark secrets, psychological drama, childhood adventure, fear and bravery, community impact.
Midnight Rain by James NewmanA coming-of-age horror novel that delves into the dark and disturbing events unfolding in a small town, as seen through the eyes of a young boy uncovering grim secrets and confronting evil.Small-town horror, childhood innocence, sinister secrets, supernatural elements, coming of age, psychological terror, dark past, evil presence, personal growth amidst fear, suspenseful narrative, nostalgic setting, moral complexities.
The Changeling by Victor LaValleA dark and enchanting modern-day fairy tale that blends horror, fantasy, and social commentary, following a father’s quest to find his missing wife and child in a New York City twisted by ancient magic.Urban fantasy, supernatural horror, family saga, mythical creatures, modern folklore, parenthood, psychological thriller, magical realism, social issues, quest journey, identity exploration, mysterious disappearance.
Jane Doe by Victoria Helen StoneA sharp and suspenseful psychological thriller about a calculating woman, Jane, who embarks on a covert mission of revenge against a manipulative man who wronged her best friend.Revenge plot, psychological manipulation, female antihero, undercover investigation, sociopathy, dark humor, corporate setting, emotional trauma, moral ambiguity, manipulation tactics, power dynamics, personal justice.
The Invited by Jennifer McMahonA haunting and atmospheric novel where a couple building their dream home in rural Vermont becomes entwined with the local legend of a tragic woman and unearth disturbing secrets buried on their property.Haunted house, ghost story, rural mystery, past and present intertwining, supernatural events, local folklore, couple’s journey, suspenseful discoveries, historical secrets, psychological drama, eerie atmosphere, building a new life.
Confessions by Kanae MinatoA dark and intense psychological thriller revolving around a schoolteacher’s intricate plan for revenge against her students, whom she believes are responsible for her daughter’s death.Revenge narrative, psychological manipulation, school setting, dark secrets, multiple perspectives, moral ambiguity, suspense and twists, Japanese culture, complex character dynamics, tragedy and grief, justice and retribution, chilling atmosphere.
Books Like The Outsider List

1. The Exorcist

This horror classic is about an actress who worries that a demon has possessed her daughter. So she seeks out the help of medical professionals and then the church to get her daughter exercised. I love the religious undertones of this book. It is written as a way for the author to call people back to the faith. I don’t want to underplay that this is a horror book, and it was pretty darn scary as The Outsider.

This time, I listened to the audiobook, which enhanced the experience, and the woman was terrifying. I found the possession to be very believable because they spent so much time going through and crossing out all of the medical possibilities before they finally concluded. In addition, she is possessed, and the exorcism itself is so well done.

Author: William Peter Blatty
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Psychological Fiction
Number Of Pages: 385
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

2. The Good House

This follows a woman celebrating the 4th of July at her family home when her son commits suicide. Then, the story is from their broken into two different timelines. One is the present day, where the woman is dealing with the grief and aftermath of losing her son and trying to come to terms with that. Then, we also get to see back before the son died, what happened, and the events that led to his demise.

You get to see that grief, which was so poignant but even more than that. I love this part that involved the son and getting to see what was going on in his mind leading up to that suicide. He is such a relatable character. The relationship between him and his mother is so realistic that I turned the pages. The suspense and world-building are very similar to The Outsider.

Author: Tananarive Due
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Black & African American Literary Criticism
Number Of Pages: 597
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

3. Strange Weather

Joe Hill quickly became one of my favorite horror authors of the four stories. One of the stories was Snapshot, which follows a nerdy teenager in the 1980s who believes a man with a Polaroid camera can steal memories. This book has a lot of emotional pull that you can relate to The Outsider. Also, the story of Loaded is topical and won’t be for everyone, depending on your political leanings. But it deals a lot with gun violence and gun control in America.

Finally, I want to mention Rain, a post-apocalyptic story about a small town in America. One day, Crystal’s nails rained from the sky, and you see that outcome. This story has some fantastic, diverse representations of a protagonist who is a lesbian. More than that, this story has a lot of political nods and winks.

Author: Joe Hill
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Horror Anthologies & Short Stories
Number Of Pages: 432
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. The Reaping

This follows an artist commissioned to do a portrait of a young woman, so he goes off to an estate and does the job. However, when he is there, the people living there are slightly strange about their actions. So the story goes from there. It’s one that you want to go into without knowing too much. When you start reading it, it’s lovely and cozy. Moreover, it’s very character-focused and slow-paced.

You can see the characters’ similarities between this man and Terry Maitland from The Outsider. When I read the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I thought about putting it down, but then the story went to where it was going, and I loved it again. The ending was brilliant and very enjoyable. It’s more of a vintage horror book and worth it.

Author: Bernard Taylor
Average Rating: 4.1/5
Category: Horror Fiction
Number Of Pages: 256
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

5. December Park

This story follows a group of boys, but particularly one who is the son of a police officer. It’s set in a small town where many young people have gone missing, and the city begins to get the idea that there is possibly someone stealing away the children. At the story’s beginning, this person’s nickname is the Pied Piper.

Instead of a child going missing, they find that one of these young people has been murdered. So it is not that children are running away, but there truly might be a serial killer on the loose. This book made me question my beliefs, like The Outsider, and I fell in love with the narrative.

It was comforting to know about this boy and his group of friends. They are a bit of an outcast, particularly the one boy they befriended at the story’s beginning. Also, they begin to investigate what is happening in the town. So it will be more accessible for those of you who want to read it and if you love coming-of-age stories.

Author: Ronald Malfi
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Horror Literature & Fiction
Number Of Pages: 534
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

6. Midnight Rain

This coming-of-age story follows a young man who sees a terrible act. He sees the murder of a young girl that changes everything in his life. The story is told in the weeks afterward as he comes to terms with that event and tries to respond to what he saw and what he should do about it.

This book is different than December Park but very similar to The Outsider. It’s much more focused around a single boy. This coming-of-age story focuses on the loss of innocence because the murder shapes his life, and you get to see the fallout, which is horrible. It is a lot darker, giving it more of a nudge. If you love such emotionally affecting stories, I highly recommend this one.

Author: James Newman
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Coming of Age Fiction
Number Of Pages: 297
Available: Paperback | Kindle

7. The Changeling

This is the story of Apollo’s man with a wife and a newborn son. Something terrible happens, and his wife commits a terrible act. From there, he is forced to take on the role of the story’s hero and try to find his family. This book is so different than any other horror book I have read. It has fantastical elements. There’s a witchy angle to it. Moreover, it follows that almost classic fairy tale narrative of the hero saving the day.

So, it’s a story about parenthood, specifically about fatherhood, represented positively in stories. Many other people can relate and see themselves in this story. It is very scary, but not in a very classic horror way. The situations that the characters were put into terrified me on a very personal level. If you want to read only one book I recommend this year regarding horror or thrillers, this is it.

Author: Victor LaValle
Average Rating: 4.1/5
Category: Paranormal Fantasy
Number Of Pages: 431
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

8. Jane Doe

This is about a woman (Jane) who is a sociopath and has a personality disorder. Her best friend has died or rather committed suicide after the breakup with a terrible boyfriend who treated her so badly. So Jane decides to change her identity, meet this man, and ruin his life. It’s a story that is a bit larger than life, and you must suspend your disbelief.

Jane is unapologetic and lacks that emotion, which I enjoy in stories. It was enjoyable, especially on audio, because of Jane’s voice and expression. So if you like a thriller with horror tropes and are a fan of ‘The Outsider,’ you must read it.

Author: Victoria Helen Stone
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Psychological Thrillers
Number Of Pages: 267
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | MP3 CD

9. The Invited

The story is about a couple who move to the countryside and build their dream home. However, the land they’ve chosen to build on has a history. There are generations of women in this family who died in very strange and mysterious ways, quite young. So it’s a question of whether or not this land is perhaps haunted, if it’s a ghost story, or if there’s something else going on.

For me, it came down to the fact that this book couldn’t quite decide whether or not it was a horror book, suspense, or a thriller. It edged the different lines like The Outsider but didn’t go far enough in any direction. It follows a couple of different perspectives, one being the couple itself and a young girl who gets involved in their lives.

Author: Jennifer McMahon
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Ghost Horror Fiction
Number Of Pages: 353
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

10. Confessions

This is a Japanese thriller about a schoolteacher who seeks revenge on her students after her daughter’s unfortunate, tragic death. This story is unique, and you will get the same vibe from The Outsider. It’s told from a few different perspectives. Four different perspectives recount and go over the same events surrounding this young girl’s death.

So, the story is slightly repetitive in places and has some intense moments. The audiobook narrators were good, and it’s a good way to experience or try Japanese thrillers because they have a certain style.

I never fully connected with the characters regarding translated horror and thrillers in the Japanese genres. So it’s something that I liked but didn’t love. But if you like those more intense stories, particularly Japanese styles of horror with thrillers, you should pick this one up.

Author: Kanae Minato
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Psychological Thrillers
Number Of Pages: 240
Available: Paperback | Kindle | Library Binding

Bonus Book: The Devil in Silver

This is more of a literary version of horror. It’s not scary at all in the traditional sense. The story follows Pepper, who gets involved in a fight with police officers. Rather than booking him through the police precinct, they decide to drop him off at a mental institution, and he ends up staying there much longer than expected. So the story is about his time in this institution, working and dealing with the other patients. Moreover, there is a horror element to the story.

It’s much more on the side of literature. If you’re expecting a scary story, I didn’t find this one scary. I listen to this audio it enhances the experience for me. If you enjoy a character-focused story, this is one to pick up.

Author: Victor LaValle
Average Rating: 4/5
Category: Occult Fiction
Number Of Pages: 432
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

More Books & Authors Like The Outsider

If you enjoyed reading “The Outsider” by Stephen King and are looking for books with similar themes and elements, here are some recommendations:

Other Stephen King Novels: Since you enjoyed “The Outsider,” you want to explore more of Stephen King’s works, such as “It,” “The Shining,” or “Misery.” These novels blend horror, mystery, and supernatural elements.

Mysteries with Supernatural Elements: If you liked the mystery and supernatural mix in “The Outsider,” you will enjoy books by authors like Dean Koontz or John Connolly. Koontz’s “Odd Thomas” series and Connolly’s “Charlie Parker” series are good choices.

Serial Killer Thrillers: If you were drawn to the crime-solving aspect of “The Outsider,” you can explore other crime thrillers featuring detectives and investigators. Authors like Thomas Harris (“The Silence of the Lambs”), James Patterson (“Alex Cross” series), and Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, author of the “Cormoran Strike” series) write gripping mysteries.

Supernatural Detective Stories: Books that combine detective work with supernatural elements include the “Dresden Files” series by Jim Butcher, featuring a wizard detective in modern-day Chicago, and the “Peter Grant” series by Ben Aaronovitch, where a London police officer deals with supernatural cases.

Psychological Thrillers: If you enjoyed the psychological aspects of “The Outsider,” consider reading books like Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” or Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train.” These novels cover the minds of complex characters and involve twists and suspense.

Small-Town Mysteries: If you liked the small-town setting of “The Outsider,” you appreciate novels that explore the dark secrets lurking in close-knit communities. “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn or “Dark Places” by the same author are intriguing choices.

Classic Horror: For classic horror vibes similar to Stephen King, you can explore the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, or Shirley Jackson. These authors have written timeless tales of horror and suspense.

5 Books Like The Outsider For Young Adults

For young adult readers who enjoyed the suspense and mystery of Stephen King’s “The Outsider,” here are five books that offer a similar blend of intrigue, supernatural elements, and gripping narratives:

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs: This novel combines fantasy with mystery. It’s about a boy who, following a family tragedy, discovers an abandoned orphanage on an island that hides many secrets, including the extraordinary abilities of its former inhabitants.

“The Diviners” by Libba Bray: Set in the 1920s, this series blends supernatural horror, mystery, and historical fiction. It follows a group of teenagers with secret abilities as they confront a series of supernatural occurrences in New York City.

“The Raven Boys” by Maggie Stiefvater: Part of ‘The Raven Cycle’ series, this book blends supernatural and mystery. It centers around Blue Sargent, who becomes involved with a group of boys from a local private school and their quest to discover a legendary Welsh king.

“One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus: This book is a gripping thriller with a twist of mystery. It’s about five students who walk into detention, but only four come out alive, leading to a tense investigation filled with secrets and lies.

“Paper Towns” by John Green: While this novel leans more towards mystery and drama than the supernatural, it shares the theme of unraveling a puzzle. It’s about Quentin, who goes on a journey to find Margo, a girl he loves, who disappears after a night of adventure.

Last Words

Each recommendation on our list has been carefully selected to match the intensity and charisma of Stephen King’s work, ensuring that your journey through the realms of the mysterious and the macabre continues. The thrill of a good mystery is not just in the resolution but in the journey it takes to get there.

So, grab one of these books, find a cozy corner, and prepare to be lost in worlds where the line between reality and the supernatural is tantalizingly thin. Happy reading, and may your nights be filled with just the right amount of spine-tingling excitement!

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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