Sharp Objects was Gillian Flynn’s literary debut in 2006, followed after with Dark Places in 2009, Gone Girl in 2012, and The Grownup in 2014. Flynn’s first three works are all suspenseful, dark books full of thrilling chases, tragedies, secrets, and lies. I was introduced to Gillian Flynn through Gone Girl and immediately dived into her other books.
In Sharp Objects, Camille Preaker is working as a journalist for a second-rate newspaper, the Daily Post, in Chicago when her boss, Frank Curry, gives her a new assignment. Camille is to head to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri to cover the murder of one young girl and the kidnapping of another. Camille soon finds herself back in Wind Gap for the first time in eight years, working on her career-boosting serial-killer-in-the-making article.
In this psychological thriller, Camille struggles to break through small-town barriers to find the truth about what happened to those two girls. Once the body of the second girl is found, Camille finds herself swept into the story amidst all the rumors flying through town about who committed these vile acts. These murders are especially hard for Camille and her mother, as her younger sister died when she was 10 of a mysterious illness. Local police call on the help of a profiler from Kansas City, MO and Camille works closely with him to discover Wind Gap’s secrets.
Camille has secrets of her own. She comes from a dysfunctional family and one of the things she turned to to cope was self-mutilation. She was once institutionalized for this; her body covered in scars, words littering every surface of skin. Her trip back to Wind Gap forces her to relive her disturbed childhood, digging into old family secrets and things simmering under the surface. This book is truly suspenseful, leaving readers guessing about the murderer and the truth those simmering secrets until the very end.
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The Girl on the Train is a messy intrigue of a book. If you’ve read Gone Girl, this book covers the same bases: suspense/psychological/mystery fiction, murder victims, witnesses, married people, and missing persons. This book is fast-paced and, at least for me, it was difficult to pin down who the killer actually was.
The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson’s life post-divorce. Every day she takes the same commuter train to London to work and passes the same houses and scenery. As one is apt to do on long train rides, Rachel creates stories about the people, places, and things that she sees along the way. One particular couple catches her eye on every trip. Rachel soon finds herself looking out for this married couple every time she speeds by, hoping to catch more of a glimpse into their daily lives. She gives them names, invents background stories for them, and even gives them careers. Everything is seemingly perfect until one day when she sees something out of the ordinary happen at the married couple’s home and soon after, the woman goes missing.
Rachel is forced to confront whether she should go to the police, contact the missing woman’s husband, or just lay low. Rachel is having a rough time dealing with her past, with her ex-husband, Tom, and his new wife, Anna. Her life is spiraling out of control and the peace that she found while watching the married couple has been shattered, leaving her in the lurch and without a solid place in the world. This novel shifts between three different narratives: Rachel, Anna, and the missing woman. Each narrative is packed full of action. Readers will be left wondering what happened and wondering about each characters’ motives.
The Girl on the Train will also be released as a movie on October 7th!
This book is also available in a wide variety of other formats.
What if you woke up one day and no one recognized who you were? What would you do? Would you think it’s a practical joke? Would you think something was seriously wrong?
What if you had lived your whole life hiding from memories of your past; terrible, horrible memories that you’d blocked from your mind? What if you had secrets you wanted no one else to know, be they good or bad?
What if all of a sudden someone else knew all your secrets, all your previous actions, and thought those memories were actually theirs? What would you do?
All of the above scenarios happen in Mike Carey’s graphic novel, Faker. In Faker, readers follow the lives of five college students: Yvonne, Marky, Sack, Jessie, and Nick. Jessie shows up a few days before the semester begins to meet with teachers and get everything sorted before the semester begins. After all of her friends show up and the house has been reunited, they decide to head out and party. Yvonne, Marky, Sack, and Jessie end up drinking in one of the science labs in the college with Marky mixing up drinks for them. Soon they all end up violently ill, throwing up everywhere, and passing out until morning when Nick finds them all incoherent on the floor. Thinking they are just hung over, all four go on with their lives.
Things quickly start to escalate out of control when people start not to recognize Nick. People that knew Nick from last year, people he worked with, people he even hooked up with have no clue who he is. Nick also seems to have access to memories that aren’t actually his. Everyone in the group starts throwing around ideas about what could actually be wrong with Nick, while some decide to do their own investigations. This graphic novel is a psychological horror story involving memory drugs, pharmaceutical labs, government conspiracies, and the strength of friendship as all hell breaks loose when no one knows what the truth really is. The beginning of Faker had a bit of a slow start for me, but toward the middle and definitely at the end, I was thoroughly hooked in the story and the conspiracy that was threaded through everything.
If you’re looking to start reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn today, you might be out of luck (make sure you place a hold!), but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the library empty handed. Feel free to visit us at the Reference/Information desk, and we can help you find books that read similarly to Gone Girl (or any title that you’re looking to read.) If you’re looking from home, the catalog can provide read-alike suggestions. You just need to search for the book, and select “details” to the right of the title and book cover. Once you are looking at the details about the book, you can scroll down to “Suggestions and More” where you will find similar titles and similar authors. Here are some suggestions for Gone Girl read-alikes.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison
How is it like Gone Girl? Both books are suspenseful, the story alternates between the husband’s and wife’s voices, and highlight marital woes.
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
How is it like Gone Girl? Both books are suspenseful, have complicated plots, and feature discrepancies between what is being said and what is actually happening.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
How is it like Gone Girl? Both books focus on crime and family, with nimble and smart writing.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
How is it like Gone Girl? Both books are suspenseful, darkly funny, and feature unlikable and unreliable narrators.
Die for You by Lisa Unger
How is it like Gone Girl? Both books are psychological suspense novels that evolve from different perspectives.
In Still Missing, the debut novel by Chevy Stevens, Realtor Annie O’Sullivan had only a few things on her mind the afternoon she finished her latest open house. She was late to meet her boyfriend, she was still reeling from a fight with her mother and she really wanted to sell a house. Annie was thrilled when a last minute, prospective buyer pulls up asking to see the house and introduced himself as David.
Hope for a house buyer turns to horror when, after climbing the home’s stairs, David forces a knife in Annie’s back. He coerces her into his van and into a nightmare of epic proportions. Before driving away from the house he drugs her and then takes her to a remote wilderness cabin intending on holding her captive for the rest of her life. Annie’s kidnapper, who she refers to as “The Freak” has a twisted scheme to make her the perfect submissive wife – or else. Eventually, Annie reaches her breaking point with her captor and the outcome is deadly.
Told in alternating chapters between past and present, Still Missing is a suspenseful journey that holds unbelievable twists and turns culminating at its shocking end. Chevy Stevens is definitely an author to watch – her second novel will be released this July.
Though the recent cold and snowy weather makes us all dream of warmer places, I still can’t stop reading more Scandinavian mysteries, where the cold climate plays a major role. The Preacher is the second mystery novel by Swedish author Camilla Lackberg – if you have recently enjoyed other Scandinavian crime fiction you may want to add her to your list. I blogged about her first novel, The Ice Princess, a few months ago and after I finished reading this book I couldn’t wait for the next book in the series to be translated into English.
In The Preacher, again we meet Erica and Patrik who are now expecting their first child. As a detective in Fjallbacka, a tiny fishing village in southwest Sweden, Patrik has been thrown in to a new investigation – the murder of a young tourist from Germany. With this new case, the 30 year old unsolved disappearance of two young women is also thrust into the spotlight – the young tourist’s body is found with the remains of these two young women.
The case takes an unexpected turn when a young girl, Jenny Moeller whose appearance is nearly identical to the murdered tourist, is kidnapped and Patrik and his fellow detectives know that time is running out to try and save her. With Jenny’s disappearance, clues come to light that focus the investigation on a local and radical family, the Hult’s, whose public feud only complicates the case further. The ending is completely unexpected and shocking – definitely well worth it!