After mixed success with two attempts at literarily-aimed mainstream novels in the mid-1970s (Marriages and Under Venus) Peter Straub dabbled in the supernatural for the first time with Julia (1976) and If You Could See Me Now (1977) and came to widespread public attention with his fifth novel, Ghost Story (1979), which was a critical success and loosely adapted into the 1981 film starring Fred Astaire. Several increasingly successful horror novels followed including The Talisman, a fantasy-horror collaboration with Stephen King.
Following a brief fallow period, Straub re-emerged in 1989 with Koko, a non-supernatural (though often horrific) Vietnam novel. Koko was followed in the early '90s by the related novels Mystery and The Throat, which together with Koko comprise the "Blue Rose Trilogy". These complex and intertwined novels extended Straub's explorations into meta-fiction and unreliable narrators.
In 1996 Straub returned to occult themes with The Hellfire Club, which applied the lessons learned in the Blue Rose period to a novel of the supernatural, followed by Mr. X, dealing with a doppleganger theme. In 2001, Straub and King re-teamed for Black House, a loose sequel to The Talisman tying that book in with King's Dark Tower Series. 2003 saw the publication of a new Straub novel Lost Boy, Lost Girl.