March 29, 2023

John Saul

johnsaul_authorphotoJohn Saul is an American author of horror novels and thrillers. His first novel, Suffer the Children, was published in 1977 by Dell and became an instant bestseller. Even so, he wasn’t really an overnight sensation — Saul spent many years earning his stripes writing novels that were rejected by publishers. In an interview with Stanley Wiater in Dark Dreamers, Saul said he had 10 unpublished novels under his belt before his first big win at the publishing game.  After Dell rejected one of those books — a comedy murder mystery — they suggested to his agent that Saul should try his hand at writing a psychological thriller. And so Suffer the Children was born; Dell bought the book on the basis of an outline alone and gave the book a huge push with television advertising, which was pretty much unheard-of for a paperback original in those days. The book hit all of the major bestseller lists and launched one of the most enduring careers in modern American thriller history.

Saul followed up his debut with the equally successful Punish the Sinners in 1978, Cry for the Strangers in 1979, and Comes the Blind Fury in 1980.  When his 1981 novel When the Wind Blows was scheduled for publication, Saul admitted he was worried because Mary Higgins Clark had a novel called The Cradle Will Fall slated to appear at the same time. The publisher assured him there was nothing to worry about. Indeed, they were right — retailers displayed the two titles side-by-side on release.

While Saul is one of the great bestsellers of the horror and thriller genres (I feel like there’s a blurry line in-between), he was seldom mentioned in the same breath as King, Koontz, and Straub. It seems to me that Saul remained an outsider from that crew, even during the height of the genre’s popularity in the 1980s. I noted the other day that Saul had provided a cover blurb for Robert McCammon’s 1987 epic Swan Song, and realized this is maybe the only blurb I ever saw from him on any horror fiction of the time. Saul did not attend conventions, or belong to any writers organizations. He claims to not be much of a horror fan for the simple reason that it scares him — although he enjoys writing it very much.

Despite his professed aversion for the popular works of the genre, it can’t be disputed that John Saul has done very well writing them. To-date, 37 of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers.  He was born in California, but has spent much of his adult life in the Pacific Northwest, and now splits his time between there and a second home in Hawaii.

To browse the list of his titles currently available in print and eBook editions, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Christopher Fulbright

Christopher Fulbright is the author of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels of fantasy and horror. His short stories have appeared in many venues--webzines, magazines, and anthologies--since 1993. Fulbright received the Richard Laymon President's Award in 2008 from the HWA, and his short stories have received honorable mentions in "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" and "Best Horror of the Year." He is a former journalist turned technical writer, an unrepentant horror fan, and owner/webmaster of Realms of Night.

View all posts by Christopher Fulbright →

10 thoughts on “John Saul

    1. Hi, to the best of my knowledge John Saul is officially retired. I wouldn’t say we’ll never see another book from him, but everything I’ve read lately seems to indicate he’s not currently writing fiction.


  1. That’s to bad. His books are the reason I fell in love with reading. I’ve devoured each one of his books every night and looked so forward to the next. Aside from Patricia Cromwell, I haven’t found another author to take his place.
    I wish him happiness in his retirement, but maybe he can take time to write one last one…Pretty PLEASE!

  2. I so miss his books! I have read every one of them! loved them all I have to say that he is my favorite author by far!. Please come out of retirement and give us a few more books Please.

  3. I just ran past this post, I think I have all his books in hardback. I need more. I cant help it. I know he’s retired but can’t he sit and take his time and write a few more. I never could put his book down once I started. Tell him we will buy.

  4. I just saw these posts. Mr. Saul is my favorite author . I have devoured each one of his books. The first one I read was Guardian and I was hooked. My favorite was The Manhattan Hunt Club. I agree with the folks above I would love another book or two from Mr. Saul. I understand he’s retired, there is always hope!

  5. I do miss his books also I cant seem to put it down once I start reading he is the best author I have ever ran across that make u want to read more of his books I know he is retired now but if there is a one time chance that he could maybe write one more for all of us out there that like his books so much we all would appreciate a good author wish u the best on your retirement.

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