Stephen King can certainly be hit or miss, no doubt. But for those of you who have read and liked The Stand, IT, 'Salems Lot, the Talisman/Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, well, I highly recommend the Dark Tower Series. The interaction between the various "universes" of all these books is incredible.
To me, it's his flat-out best. I also read a lot of Fantasy, which I think would catagorize DT as, moreso than Horror.
Smilla, "Wolves of The Calla" is second-best to "Drawing of the Three", IMO
Hara, I think you said Anne Rice has dropped off in quality, just in it for the $$, dead-on correct! Nothing decent for the past several years.
My favorite new author is Neil Gaiman, American Gods, Stardust, Neverwhere, all excellent IMO
. He has also written with Terry Pratchett, hilarious stuff.