If you’re a fan of gripping psychological thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, chances are you’ve read Gillian Flynn’s runaway hit, “Gone Girl.”
With its twisty plot, unreliable narrators, and dark atmosphere, it’s no wonder readers are often left craving similar reads that will evoke that same sense of anticipation and suspense.
Thankfully, the genre is ripe with thrilling novels that will satisfy your appetite for intricate mysteries and unexpected twists.
Here’s a curated list of books that share the same electrifying energy and psychological depth as “Gone Girl,” ensuring you’ll stay hooked from the first page to the last.
Best Books Like Gone Girl
1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This psychological thriller revolves around Rachel, a woman who becomes entangled in a missing person’s investigation that deeply affects her life. As she takes the same commuter train every morning, Rachel fantasizes about the seemingly perfect couple she sees from the window. However, her life spirals into chaos when she witnesses something shocking in their backyard. The novel explores themes of memory, domestic violence, and the effects of alcoholism.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “The Girl on the Train” features complex female characters, unreliable narrators, and a gripping plot full of twists and turns. Both novels delve into the dark side of intimate relationships and the facades people construct.
2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
In this dark novel, journalist Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two pre-teen girls. Haunted by her own troubled past and a dysfunctional family, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely. As she digs deeper into the investigation, she uncovers chilling secrets and faces her own demons.
Major Similarities: Written by the same author, “Sharp Objects” shares Gillian Flynn’s signature style of complex psychological characters and dark, twisty narratives. Both books explore themes of violence, family dysfunction, and the destructive nature of secrets.
3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Set in a seemingly tranquil Australian suburb, “Big Little Lies” follows three women, each at a crossroads in their lives. Behind the community’s perfect facade lies a world of secrets, lies, and murder. The novel skillfully weaves together the stories of these women, leading up to a shocking event at a school trivia night.
Major Similarities: “Big Little Lies” and “Gone Girl” both excel in creating a suspenseful atmosphere that keeps readers guessing until the end. They explore the themes of domestic life, the complexities of female friendships, and the dangerous undercurrents that lie beneath the surface of ordinary lives.
4. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Christine wakes up every day without remembering who she is. Her memories reset overnight, and she relies on her husband, Ben, to fill in the gaps of her life. However, when Christine starts keeping a journal at the suggestion of her doctor, she begins to question everything she has been told about her life and her accident.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” this novel presents a gripping psychological mystery with an unreliable narrator. Both books explore themes of identity, trust, and the manipulation within relationships, leading readers through a maze of twists and unexpected revelations.
5. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. He is a cheater and she lives in denial. However, their lives unravel as they move inexorably towards a violent, inevitable end. The novel alternates between the perspectives of Jodi and Todd, offering a deep dive into their complex psychological states.
Major Similarities: “The Silent Wife” shares with “Gone Girl” a focus on a troubled marriage, complex character dynamics, and a narrative that alternates perspectives to reveal the deep-seated issues and psychological twists. Both novels examine the facade of the perfect life and the darkness that can lurk within a relationship.
6. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
This follow-up to “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins delves into the mysterious deaths of a single mother and a teenage girl in a small town’s river. The story is told through multiple perspectives, uncovering the town’s secretive past and the complicated relationships between its residents.
Major Similarities: “Into the Water” and “Gone Girl” both utilize multiple narrators to unravel their mysteries, creating a complex and layered narrative. Themes of memory, truth, and the impact of the past on the present are central to both stories.
7. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine, watching old movies, and spying on her neighbors. When the Russells move into the house across the way, Anna witnesses something she shouldn’t have. Her world begins to crumble as she tries to prove what she saw was real.
Major Similarities: Both “The Woman in the Window” and “Gone Girl” feature intricate plots with psychological depth and unreliable narrators. Themes of surveillance, the real versus the perceived, and the unraveling of the protagonist’s life are central to both narratives.
8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Set on a private island over the course of several summers, “We Were Liars” focuses on Cadence Sinclair, a young woman from a privileged family who struggles to remember the details of a catastrophic event that happened during her fifteenth summer. The story explores themes of family dynamics, greed, and the power of love and sacrifice.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “We Were Liars” uses suspense and strategic revelations to keep the reader guessing. Both novels explore the darker aspects of human nature and the complexities of family relationships, culminating in surprising twists.
9. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Jack and Grace appear to be the perfect couple, but appearances can be deceiving. Grace is a prisoner in her own home, meticulously controlled by her charming but psychopathic husband. The story unfolds as Grace plans her escape, revealing the horrifying extent of Jack’s manipulation.
Major Similarities: Both “Behind Closed Doors” and “Gone Girl” delve into the concept of a marriage based on deceit and manipulation. They explore psychological control, the facade of perfection, and the lengths to which someone will go to escape a toxic relationship.
10. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
This novel intricately unwinds the complexities of an impending marriage, the jealousies of an ex-wife, and the secrets that lie between. As the layers of this psychological thriller are peeled back, the reader’s assumptions are challenged at every turn, revealing that nothing is as it seems.
Major Similarities: “The Wife Between Us” shares with “Gone Girl” the theme of marriage and the secrets that partners keep from each other. Both books excel in delivering unexpected plot twists and exploring the psychological depth of their characters.
11. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Following a tragic accident that kills a child, Jenna Gray moves to a remote cottage to start over. As she tries to escape the memories of that night, the narrative slowly reveals the truth about the accident and Jenna’s past. The novel is a blend of police procedural and psychological thriller, with a twist that turns the story on its head.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “I Let You Go” features a dramatic plot twist that changes the entire narrative. Both novels explore themes of guilt, grief, and the lengths to which individuals will go to protect their secrets.
12. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Set in the planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio, this novel explores the intertwined fates of the Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. The story examines the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Major Similarities: “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Gone Girl” both explore the dynamics of seemingly perfect suburban lives, the secrets that can fracture them, and the societal expectations placed on women. Each narrative builds suspense and complexity through its exploration of identity and familial bonds.
13. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
A dinner party goes awry when a couple’s baby daughter goes missing from her crib. The investigation reveals secrets and lies that challenge the trust between neighbors and friends. The narrative twists through a maze of deceit, showing that no one is who they seem.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “The Couple Next Door” offers a thrilling exploration of the complexities of relationships and the facades people maintain. Both novels feature a fast-paced plot, filled with twists that challenge the reader’s perceptions.
14. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Mia Dennett, daughter of a prominent judge, is kidnapped by her seemingly harmless one-night stand. However, the abduction doesn’t go as planned, leading to unexpected alliances and a complex psychological drama. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, revealing the motivations and secrets of each character.
Major Similarities: “The Good Girl” shares with “Gone Girl” a penchant for suspenseful storytelling and complex, character-driven plots. Both novels feature unexpected twists and delve into the psychological complexities of their characters, challenging readers to question their assumptions.
15. Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane
Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired to find a missing four-year-old girl from one of Boston’s toughest neighborhoods. The investigation leads them into a complex web of corruption, deceit, and moral ambiguity. The novel questions the very nature of right and wrong, and the price of seeking justice.
Major Similarities: “Gone Baby Gone” and “Gone Girl” both explore themes of media influence, the complexities of justice, and the moral dilemmas faced by their characters. Both novels are gritty, with deep psychological insights and a narrative that keeps readers engaged and guessing.
16. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Nora is invited to a bachelorette party for a friend she hasn’t seen in ten years, held in a remote glass house in the woods. What should be a fun weekend takes a sinister turn, as secrets from the past come to light and Nora realizes there is a killer among them.
Major Similarities: This novel and “Gone Girl” are both psychological thrillers that build suspense through isolation, the uncovering of secrets, and the unraveling of friendships. Both stories are driven by complex female characters and culminate in unexpected twists.
17. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander are hired to solve the mystery of a woman missing for forty years. Their investigation uncovers a darker side of Sweden’s elite. The novel combines mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric narrative.
Major Similarities: Both “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Gone Girl” feature intricate plots, complex characters, and themes of investigation and uncovering hidden truths. Each novel provides a critical look at societal norms and the dark underbelly of human nature.
18. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This novel tells the story of a group of classical students at an elite college in Vermont who explore morality beyond the boundaries of the law, leading to tragic consequences. The story is narrated by one of the students, who reflects on the events that led to the death of one of their own.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “The Secret History” explores themes of identity, moral ambiguity, and the consequences of living a lie. Both novels are characterized by their psychological depth, complex characters, and a narrative that gradually unveils the truth behind a façade.
19. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was only seven years old when her family was brutally murdered in their Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
Major Similarities: Another novel by Gillian Flynn, “Dark Places” shares with “Gone Girl” a dark, complex plot and a troubled, compelling protagonist. Both novels delve into the psychology of their characters and the impact of the past on the present.
20. The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald
After Olivia falls from a bridge, her mother, Abi, is determined to find out what happened to her daughter. The story unravels the mystery of Olivia’s last night, revealing secrets, lies, and a profound maternal bond that refuses to give up in the face of tragedy.
Major Similarities: Both “The Night Olivia Fell” and “Gone Girl” are compelling narratives that combine elements of mystery and drama with a focus on family relationships and the lengths to which individuals will go to uncover the truth.
21. The Widow by Fiona Barton
Jean’s husband is accused of a terrible crime, and after his sudden death, the media and the police seek answers from her. As Jean navigates the intense scrutiny, she must decide how much of her husband’s secrets to reveal, exploring the dark corners of her marriage and the possibility of her own complicity.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “The Widow” delves into the complexities of marriage, the role of media in personal tragedy, and the ambiguity of guilt and innocence. Both novels feature strong, complex female protagonists who are enigmatic and compelling.
22. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Ten years after her teenage daughter disappears, Laurel Mack is still trying to put her life back together. When she meets a charming man and his young daughter who eerily resembles her own missing child, Laurel uncovers a series of shocking revelations that promise to unravel everything she thought she knew about her family and her past.
Major Similarities: “Then She Was Gone” and “Gone Girl” both explore the themes of loss, the search for truth, and the impact of the past on the present. Each novel is filled with suspense, unexpected twists, and the deep psychological exploration of its characters.
23. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Cassandra Bowden wakes up in her hotel room hungover from the night before in Dubai, with a dead man lying next to her. Afraid to call the police, she begins to lie about the night, leading her into a web of deceit. As the FBI gets involved, Cassandra’s life spirals out of control.
Major Similarities: Like “Gone Girl,” “The Flight Attendant” features a flawed and unreliable protagonist whose life is filled with secrets and lies. Both novels are high-stakes thrillers that explore themes of deception, identity, and the consequences of one’s actions.