Best Books to Read After Gone Girl
Loved Gone Girl? Want to read something else just as good?
Few books have captured our imaginations recently like Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn. She has proven to be a master at suspense in all her books, but Gone Girl has definitely brought her into the limelight. I don't know a single person who has been able to put this book down, and it's no surprise why. This book reads like a regular suspense book, and then turns everything on its head midway through. I couldn't stop reading, and everyone I know felt the same way.
When I was finished, I was really interested in reading more books like Gone Girl. It had been a while since a book had gripped me so much, and I wanted more! If you're looking for a psychological thriller like Gone Girl, this is the right place for you. Likewise, if you are looking for a gift for the holidays for someone who just read Gone Girl, here are some books that will make them happy.
This is a great list of books to read after seeing David Fincher's movie adaptation of Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
The most obvious book to start with is another Gillian Flynn book. I started with Dark Places: A Novel, which is a dark book about a woman, Libby Day, whose family was murdered when she was seven. She's been famous all her life for being the only survivor besides her brother, who she fingered for the murders. Now she is a broken adult, he is in prison, and questions are being asked by a group called The Kill Club whether he is the real killer. For a fee, she starts to take a look at the events of that fateful day. The narrative moves back and forth in time, from present day Libby to the day of the murders, and the ending is surprising and unexpected to everyone.
Package this book up with Flynn's debut novel Sharp Objects for the perfect Secret Santa gift for the Gone Girl fan in your life. Sharp Objects tells the story of a traumatized journalist who reluctantly returns to her hometown to cover the story of two murdered girls, and starts identifying a little too much with the victims.
Defending Jacob - William Landay
Another extremely popular book this year was Defending Jacob: A Novel. It has a similar feel to it, with an impossible-to-predict twist near the end. Andy Barbor, the assistant district attorney in his small town, is forced to defend his son Jacob when he is charged with the murder of a fellow student. The book is split between a courtroom encounter between Andy and the prosecutor and the events leading up to the trial. Nothing is what it seems in this book -- it's unclear whether Jacob is guilty; Andy certainly doesn't think so, and Jacob says he is innocent. However, there are signs that his mother takes to indicate that he might, in fact, be guilty.
If you want to pick up William Landay's first book, definitely take a look at Mission Flats, which won the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel in 2003 and was also a Barry Award nominee.
The Light Between Oceans - ML Stedman
Another novel that people who enjoyed Gone Girl liked is The Light Between Oceans: A Novel. This is a debut novel by ML Stedman and is one of the best-selling psychological novels today.
This beautiful novel is about a soldier, Tom Sherbourne, who returns home to Australia to take a job as a lighthouse keeper on the desolate Janus Rock, where they are cut off from civilization for most of the year. He and his wife Isabel make a life there, but are unable to conceive. One night Isabel hears a baby crying on a boat that also carries a dead man. Against Tom's moral code, they take the baby for themselves instead of reporting them to the authorities.
I found this book completely heart-breaking, but incredibly well-written. It's a book that will stay with you for a long time after you've read it.
Dublin Murder Squad Series - Tana French
For those who have read all of Gillian Flynn's books but haven't heard of Tana French, for shame! Go right out and pick up one of her books today. Her most recent book is The Secret Place and is a continuation of her Dublin Murder Squad series. What's fascinating about French is that she will write a book based on a secondary character in a previous book, and then write another book about a secondary character in that book. Her books are set in Ireland, and all involve mysteries and murders that must be solved. In this book, the murder is of the entire Spain family (except for a barely-alive wife), and the cop is Scorcher Kennedy, a minor character in her third novel Faithful Place. It seems to be an open-and-shut case, but there are too many questions.
If this sounds like a generic cop procedural, it is not. Tana French's novels shine in their complex characters and her haunting writing style.
To start at the beginning of her Dublin Murder Squad series, head back to In The Woods. Though I wasn't personally a fan of the ending, I loved her writing style and have read every book of hers since.
Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
I confess, I never saw the movie for Shutter Island, so it's possible this psychological thriller will not be as unexpected if you've seen it. However, I read this novel several years ago, and the twist in the book has stayed with me all this time. If you haven't seen the movie, this is a great surprising novel to read by the great Dennis Lehane.
Shutter Island is a hospital for the criminally insane. An escaped prisoner is cause for US Marshall Teddy Daniels to investigate. With his partner Chuck Aule, Daniels soon discovers that nothing at the hospital is as it seems. They get stonewalled in every direction, and can't seem to get a fix on the beautiful escapee. Against the backdrop of the Cold War and an impending hurricane, this book twists and turns in every possible direction, and will leave you breathless at the end.
Another great Lehane book is Gone, Baby, Gone. Though not on the psychological level of Shutter Island, this book introduces us to Patrick Kensie and Angela Gennaro, two of Lehane's recurring characters in several of his books. Also made into a movie, this book also has twists and turns, though not on the level of Shutter Island. (Interestingly, this movie starred Casey Affleck, Ben's younger brother. It's a really good movie too!)