How to Read Stephen King Books in Order

Stephen King books

Stephen King has been a household name for fans of horror and suspense fiction for over four decades. He is known for his vivid imagination and attention to detail, creating memorable characters and plots that keep readers on the edge of their seats.

From psychological thrills to supernatural scares, King has something for everyone. This guide will provide a comprehensive list of his books in order of publication, so you can follow his writing journey from start to finish.

What is the order of Stephen King’s books?

Here is a complete list of 60 Stephen King books in order of publication:

  1. Carrie (1974)
  2. Salem’s Lot (1975)
  3. The Shining (1977)
  4. The Stand (1978)
  5. The Dead Zone (1979)
  6. Firestarter (1980)
  7. Cujo (1981)
  8. The Running Man (1982)
  9. Pet Sematary (1983)
  10. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
  11. Christine (1983)
  12. The Talisman (1984)
  13. It (1986)
  14. Misery (1987)
  15. The Tommyknockers (1987)
  16. The Dark Half (1989)
  17. Gerald’s Game (1992)
  18. Dolores Claiborne (1993)
  19. Needful Things (1991)
  20. Insomnia (1994)
  21. Rose Madder (1995)
  22. Desperation (1996)
  23. The Green Mile (1996)
  24. Regulators (1996)
  25. Bag of Bones (1998)
  26. Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
  27. Dreamcatcher (2001)
  28. Black House (2001)
  29. From a Buick 8 (2002)
  30. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
  31. Everything’s Eventual (2002)
  32. Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (2003)
  33. Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  34. Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
  35. Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
  36. Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
  37. Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
  38. Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
  39. Cell (2006)
  40. Lisey’s Story (2006)
  41. Duma Key (2008)
  42. Under the Dome (2009)
  43. Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
  44. 11/22/63 (2011)
  45. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
  46. Doctor Sleep (2013)
  47. Mr. Mercedes (2014)
  48. Finders Keepers (2015)
  49. End of Watch (2016)
  50. Sleeping Beauties (2017)
  51. Elevation (2018)
  52. The Institute (2019)
  53. If It Bleeds (2020)
  54. Later (2021)
  55. The Twenty-Third Psalm (2021)
  56. Joyland (2013)
  57. Mile 81 (2011)
  58. Suffer the Little Children (2017)
  59. A Good Marriage (2014)
  60. The Secretary of Dreams (2006)

1. Carrie

“Carrie” is the first published novel by Stephen King and was released in 1974. It is a psychological horror novel that follows the story of a teenage girl named Carrie White who possesses telekinetic powers.

The book takes a closer look at the concept of bullying and the consequences of mistreatment, as Carrie is constantly tormented by her classmates and has an abusive mother. The novel ends with a shocking climax, where Carrie uses her powers to get revenge on her tormentors.

“Carrie” is widely considered one of King’s best works, and it has been adapted into several films, television shows, and theatrical productions.

2. Salem’s Lot

“Salem’s Lot” is a 1975 horror novel by Stephen King. It is a story of terror that takes place in the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine. The town is a peaceful community until a mysterious writer named Ben Mears returns to his hometown and begins investigating strange occurrences.

It quickly becomes evident that something sinister is at work, as the town’s residents start turning into vampires.

King’s writing style in “Salem’s Lot” is both eerie and atmospheric, and the book has a strong sense of place. The way King develops the town’s residents and their relationships adds depth to the story and makes the horror even more impactful.

The book’s slow build of tension and the introduction of supernatural elements make it a classic of the horror genre.

3. The Shining

“The Shining” is a 1977 horror novel by Stephen King. It tells the story of the Torrance family, who becomes caretakers of the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies during its off-season.

The family consists of Jack Torrance, a struggling writer, his wife Wendy, and their son Danny, who has psychic abilities known as “the shining.”

Jack takes the job to try to write and fix his relationship with his family, but the hotel’s dark past and supernatural elements soon take hold, leading to a series of terrifying events.

4. The Stand

“The Stand” is a 1978 post-apocalyptic horror novel by Stephen King. It is a story of good vs. evil, set in a world where a deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity.

The remaining survivors are divided into two groups: one following a mysterious figure named Mother Abagail who represents good, and another following a charismatic leader named Randall Flagg who represents evil. The two sides eventually come into conflict, leading to a final showdown between good and evil.

“The Stand” is a sprawling, epic novel that spans over 1,100 pages and explores themes of morality, faith, and the human condition. King’s writing is masterful, and the book’s well-developed characters and the richly detailed world make it stand out in the post-apocalyptic genre.

5. The Dead Zone

“The Dead Zone” is a 1979 science fiction novel by Stephen King. The story follows Johnny Smith, a schoolteacher who wakes up from a coma with the ability to see the future.

At first, Johnny’s visions seem like a gift, but as he continues to experience them, he realizes the weight of his newfound powers and the dangerous consequences that come with them.

The book explores the idea of destiny and the concept of free will, as Johnny faces difficult choices and the possibility of changing the future.

King’s writing in “The Dead Zone” is both suspenseful and thought-provoking, and the book is a masterful exploration of morality and the human condition.

The characters are well-developed and relatable, making the reader feel invested in their fate. The book’s blend of science fiction and supernatural elements make it a unique and captivating read.

6. Firestarter

“Firestarter” is a 1980 science fiction novel by Stephen King. The story follows Charlie McGee, a young girl with the ability to start fires with her mind.

Charlie and her father, Andy, are on the run from a secret government agency that wants to use Charlie’s powers for their own purposes. The book explores themes of government control, the abuse of power, and the importance of family.

King’s writing in “Firestarter” is suspenseful and fast-paced, and the book is a gripping tale of a family on the run. The characters are well-developed and relatable, making the reader feel invested in their fate. The book’s blend of science fiction and suspense elements make it a unique and captivating read.

7. Cujo

“Cujo” is a 1981 horror novel by Stephen King. The story follows the Trenton family and their friendly St. Bernard, Cujo, who contracts rabies and turns into a dangerous and unpredictable monster.

The book is a tense and suspenseful tale of a family fighting for survival against a once-loyal pet gone mad.

8. The Running Man

“The Running Man” is a 1982 science fiction novel by Stephen King, written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The story takes place in a dystopian future where a struggling everyman named Ben Richards is forced to participate in a deadly reality show known as “The Running Man.”

The show, in which contestants must outrun professional assassins and survive for 30 days, is broadcasted to the entire world and is one of the most popular television programs in the country.

9. Pet Sematary

“Pet Sematary” is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King. The story follows the Creed family as they move to rural Maine and discover a mysterious pet cemetery that has the power to bring the dead back to life.

When their beloved family cat is hit and killed by a truck, the Creed’s neighbor shows them the pet cemetery and urges them to bury the cat there. However, the cat returns, changed and hostile, leading the Creeds down a dark path of loss and regret.

10. Cycle of the Werewolf

“Cycle of the Werewolf” is a 1983 horror novella by Stephen King. The story takes place in a small town that is being terrorized by a mysterious werewolf.

The book is structured as a series of vignettes, each describing a different stage of the werewolf’s cycle, from its first appearance to its final confrontation with the town’s sheriff. The vignettes are interconnected by a central narrative that provides context and builds tension.

11. Christine

“Christine” is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King. The story follows the journey of Arnie Cunningham, a shy and awkward teenager who becomes obsessed with a 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine.

The car, which has a dark and sinister history, begins to exert a dangerous influence over Arnie, changing him in ways he never could have imagined. The car becomes a symbol of evil, terrorizing the town and those who stand in its way.

12. The Talisman

“The Talisman” is a 1984 horror/fantasy novel co-written by Stephen King and Peter Straub. The story follows the journey of 12-year-old Jack Sawyer, who embarks on a dangerous quest to find a mysterious talisman that can save his mother’s life.

Along the way, he encounters a cast of strange and fantastical characters, including werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings.

“The Talisman” is a true masterpiece of modern fantasy literature. Whether you’re a fan of horror or fantasy, or simply enjoy well-written fiction, “The Talisman” is a must-read for any reader.

13. It

“It” is a 1986 horror novel by Stephen King. The story revolves around a group of seven friends in the small town of Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by an evil entity that takes the form of a clown named Pennywise.

Over the course of several decades, the friends band together to confront the entity and put an end to its reign of terror. “It” has been adapted into 1990 television miniseries and a 2017 feature film.

14. Misery

“Misery” is a 1987 psychological horror novel by Stephen King. The story follows Paul Sheldon, a bestselling novelist who is rescued from a car crash by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes.

However, Annie’s apparent kindness quickly turns to obsession, and Paul finds himself trapped in her remote mountain home, forced to write a novel to her specifications or face dire consequences.

“Misery” has been adapted into a successful film and stage play, and continues to be a popular and highly regarded novel.

15. The Tommyknockers

“The Tommyknockers” is a 1987 science fiction/horror novel by Stephen King. The story takes place in the small town of Haven, Maine, where a strange spacecraft is discovered and buried in the woods.

As the townspeople begin to investigate the craft, they are gradually taken over by a sinister alien presence, with only a small group of residents immune to its influence.

The characters are well-developed and relatable, and the alien presence is a memorable and frightening force. The book’s blend of science fiction, horror, and suspense elements makes it a unique and captivating read.

16. The Dark Half

“The Dark Half” is a 1989 horror novel by Stephen King. The story revolves around Thad Beaumont, a successful writer who uses a pseudonym, George Stark, for his more violent and graphic works.

When the secret of Thad’s dual identity is threatened to be exposed, George Stark comes to life and embarks on a killing spree, forcing Thad to confront the dark and violent aspects of his own imagination.

17. Gerald’s Game

“Gerald’s Game” is a 1992 horror novel by Stephen King. The story takes place in a remote cabin, where Jessie and her husband Gerald go to rekindle their relationship.

During a BDSM game, Gerald suffers a heart attack and dies, leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed with no means of escape. As Jessie struggles to survive and escape, she is forced to confront her own fears, secrets, and past traumas.

The protagonist Jessie is a complex and relatable character, and the psychological terror of her situation is both captivating and frightening. The book’s blend of horror and psychological suspense elements makes it a unique and thought-provoking read.

18. Dolores Claiborne

“Dolores Claiborne” is a psychological crime novel by Stephen King, published in 1992. The story is narrated in the first person by the titular character, Dolores Claiborne, a sixty-three-year-old woman living in a small coastal town in Maine.

The novel begins with Dolores being arrested for the murder of her employer, Vera Donovan. Through her recollections, we learn about Dolores’ troubled past, including the disappearance of her husband and the abuse she suffered at the hands of both her husband and her father.

“Dolores Claiborne” is a haunting and powerful novel that explores themes of domestic violence, poverty, and the resilience of the human spirit.

19. Needful Things

“Needful Things” is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1991. The story takes place in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine, a setting that King has used in several of his other books.

The book opens with the arrival of a new store owner, Leland Gaunt, who opens a shop called “Needful Things.”

The store sells various trinkets and knick-knacks, and the prices are seemingly reasonable. However, there’s a catch – in order to purchase something from the store, customers must perform a small prank on someone else in the town.

As the pranks escalate in severity, the town of Castle Rock descends into chaos, with friends turning against each other and long-standing grudges coming to the forefront. Meanwhile, the store’s owner, Leland Gaunt, reveals that he has a hidden agenda and is using the townspeople’s desire for material goods to further his own goals.

“Needful Things” is a fast-paced and suspenseful novel that explores the darker side of human nature.

20. Insomnia

“Insomnia” is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1994. The book tells the story of Ralph Roberts, a widowed retiree who begins to experience strange and vivid dreams that blur the line between reality and fantasy.

As his dreams become increasingly intense, Ralph begins to see apparitions of strange creatures that seem to be following him.

Ralph also starts to experience “insomnia,” an inability to sleep, which only exacerbates his strange and frightening experiences.

With the help of a young girl named Lois Chasse, Ralph sets out to discover the source of his visions and unravel the mystery behind the strange creatures that are haunting him.

21. Rose Madder

“Rose Madder” is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1995. The book tells the story of Rose Daniels, a woman who is trapped in an abusive marriage and desperately seeking a way out.

After discovering an enigmatic painting of a woman in a rose garden, Rose is drawn into a world of mystery and terror as she realizes that the painting holds the key to her escape.

As Rose embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption, she finds herself in a world filled with supernatural forces, both good and evil, that threaten to destroy her.

She must use her strength and cunning to outwit her abusive husband and confront the terrifying evil that is pursuing her.

“Rose Madder” is a beautifully written and emotionally charged novel that explores themes of domestic abuse, resilience, and the power of self-discovery.

22. Desperation

“Desperation” is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1996. The book tells the story of a group of travelers who become trapped in the remote desert town of Desperation, Nevada, where they are hunted by an evil entity known as Tak.

As the travelers desperately search for a way to escape the town, they begin to realize that they are up against something far beyond their comprehension.

King masterfully blends elements of supernatural horror with classic Western storytelling to create a novel that is both terrifying and thought-provoking.

23. The Green Mile

“The Green Mile” is a serial novel by Stephen King, originally published in six parts in 1996 and 1997. The story takes place in the 1930s and follows the life of a death row corrections officer named Paul Edgecombe.

Edgecombe is in charge of supervising death row inmates, including a mysterious man named John Coffey who has been sentenced to death for the murder of two young girls.

As Edgecombe gets to know Coffey, he begins to realize that there is much more to the man than meets the eye. Coffey has a remarkable ability to heal people, and Edgecombe starts to question whether he is truly guilty of the crimes he has been accused of.

The Green Mile is a powerful and emotional story that explores themes of love, justice, and the nature of good and evil.

King’s writing in “The Green Mile” is lyrical and evocative, and he does an excellent job of creating vivid, memorable characters that readers will care about.

The story is both touching and haunting, and King’s powerful storytelling will keep you engaged from beginning to end.

24. Regulators

“Regulators” is a novel by Stephen King, written under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. The story follows a small town in Ohio that becomes terrorized by a mysterious force that possesses electronic devices, turning them into deadly weapons.

The town’s police force is unable to stop the force and turns to an outsider, a private investigator named Alan Pangborn, for help.

With the help of an autistic boy who can sense the presence of the force, Alan sets out to uncover the source of the evil and put an end to it before it claims more lives.

This dark and suspenseful tale explores themes of technology, evil, and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. “Regulators” is a must-read for fans of Stephen King’s signature style of horror and suspense.

25. Bag of Bones

“Bag of Bones” is a novel by Stephen King, which was published in 1998. The story is set in a small town in Maine and focuses on bestselling author Mike Noonan, who is struggling with writer’s block and grief following the death of his wife.

After having a dream about his deceased spouse, Mike returns to the lakeside town where he and his wife used to vacation and begins to experience strange and terrifying events.

As he delves deeper into the mystery, Mike uncovers a dark and dangerous secret involving a murdered child, a vengeful ghost, and the town’s powerful and corrupt elite.

This supernatural thriller blends horror, romance, and suspense, to create a haunting and captivating story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

26. Hearts in Atlantis

“Hearts in Atlantis” is a novel by Stephen King, published in 1999. This collection of five interconnected stories explores the coming of age of a young man named Bobby Garfield, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s.

The first four stories detail Bobby’s childhood, his friendship with a mysterious and powerful man named Ted Brautigan, and the impact of the Vietnam War on their lives.

The final story takes place years later and brings the characters full circle as they reflect on the events that shaped their lives and the meaning of friendship, loss, and sacrifice.

This novel is not a traditional horror story, but instead a meditation on the transformative power of youth, love, and the passing of time. “Hearts in Atlantis” is a touching and insightful novel that showcases Stephen King’s ability to write emotional and introspective fiction.

27. Dreamcatcher

“Dreamcatcher” is a novel by Stephen King, published in 2001. The story revolves around four childhood friends who reunite in adulthood to hunt in the Maine woods.

During their trip, they come across a mysterious stranger who is infected with a deadly alien organism, and the group must band together to stop the spread of the virus.

The plot takes a number of twists and turns as the friends confront their own personal demons, and they soon discover that the true enemy may be something much more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

28. Black House

“Black House” is a horror novel written by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and published in 2001. It is a sequel to the novel “The Talisman” and features the return of Jack Sawyer, the protagonist of the first novel, as a middle-aged detective.

The book follows Jack as he investigates a series of brutal murders in the small town of French Landing, Wisconsin. Jack discovers that the murders are linked to a mysterious force known as the Territories, a parallel world filled with supernatural beings.

As Jack delves deeper into the case, he realizes that the fate of both worlds rests in his hands. “Black House” is a dark and suspenseful novel that combines elements of horror, mystery, and fantasy to create a thrilling reading experience.

29. From a Buick 8

“From a Buick 8” is a novel written by Stephen King and was published in 2002. The story revolves around a mysterious car, a Buick Roadmaster, that has been parked in the back of a Pennsylvania state trooper barracks for over 20 years.

The car is known for its strange and frightening abilities, including opening up to another dimension and releasing otherworldly entities.

The narrative is told from the perspective of several characters, including a young boy who befriends the troopers, and together they try to understand the car’s origin and powers.

The novel explores themes of loss, grief, and the unknown as it blends horror, science fiction, and supernatural elements. “From a Buick 8” showcases King’s mastery of storytelling and ability to captivate readers with its suspenseful and thought-provoking plot.

30. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

“The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King, first published in 1999. The story centers around a young girl named Trisha McFarland who gets lost in the woods while on a hiking trip with her mother and brother.

As she tries to find her way back to civilization, Trisha turns to her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, for comfort and strength. The wilderness, however, is full of terrors, both real and imagined, and Trisha soon realizes that she is not alone in the woods.

The novel blends elements of survival, fantasy, and horror as it explores Trisha’s inner thoughts and emotions. The story is a character study of a young girl on the brink of adolescence, facing her fears and learning to find her own inner strength.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just starting to explore his work, this list of Stephen King books in order will guide you through his writing journey and provide you with hours of thrills and chills.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Why is Stephen King so famous?

Stephen King is famous for his contributions to the horror and suspense genres of literature. He has written many best-selling novels, including "The Shining," "Carrie," and "It," many of which have been adapted into successful films and television series. King's writing style, characterized by his mastery of suspense, horror, and the supernatural, has made him one of the most recognized and influential authors of our time.

What is Stephen King’s number one selling book?

Stephen King's best-selling book is "The Stand," a post-apocalyptic horror novel originally published in 1978. The book is set in a future America where a deadly pandemic has wiped out most of the population, and the survivors must choose between good and evil as they rebuild society.

Do all Stephen King books connected?

Many of Stephen King's novels and stories are set in the same fictional universe and contain references to characters and events from other works. This shared universe is often referred to as the "Kingverse" or the "Stephen King Universe." Some of King's most famous works, such as "The Stand," "Salem's Lot," and "The Dark Tower" series, are directly connected and reference each other. However, not all of King's books are part of this interconnected universe, and many of his works can be enjoyed as standalone stories.

What is Stephen King’s writing style?

Stephen King is famous for his suspenseful and horror-filled writing, blending elements of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He creates vivid and atmospheric descriptions, with a focus on ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. His use of suspense, twists, and cliffhangers keep readers engaged.