Gone Girl is one thriller that’s made a lot of noise in recent years. It’s gained many fans, topped numerous bestseller lists, and was adapted into an award-winning film.
Understandably, after reading or watching it, many fans began to look for books with similar elements. In particular, they seem to be looking for anti-heroines — female leads who lack heroic qualities and ideals. Writers are, of course, more than happy to oblige.
Books Like Gone Girl
Gone Girl owes a lot of its popularity to the character of Amy. She represents a trend of upending stereotypical gender roles—here is a female character who’s finally allowed to be unlikeable.
With that in mind, here’s a list of books like Gone Girl you can read for your regular dose of chills. They feature female characters who range from the merely dark and dubious, to insane and cutthroat dangerous.
1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel, a struggling alcoholic, finds peace in her routine train rides. There, she fantasizes about a couple she sees everyday from the train, whom she calls Jason” and Jess—the perfect couple, as she sees it.
One day, she sees Jess with another man, and Jess disappears soon after. Rachel holds an important clue to Jess’s mystery, but was what she saw real, or a figment of her alcohol-addled imagination?
2. The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
After her first husband’s death, Alice has once again found happiness. The perfect family, a thriving business, and a beautiful house to go home to, not to mention her best friend, whose been with her through thick and thin.
So when her husband begins acting suspiciously, she naturally turns to her best friend for help. But soon she wonders if her trust is misplaced.
3. Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak
Best friends Violet and Stella have always been opposites. Violet, hardworking and focused, stays behind the scenes while Stella, beautiful and charismatic, is always in the spotlight.
Violet begins to step out of Stella’s shadow, building a life she’s never dreamed of. But Stella wants the same. Now both are in a race to success, even if it means destroying each other on the way.
4. The Night Before by Wendy Walker
Rosie has spent much of her life worrying about her troubled sister Laura, who’s never been great at picking good partners… and now she’s living with Rosie and her family, after another failed relationship.
When Laura fails to come home after a blind date, Rosie thinks the worst. But more than what an unknown man might have done to her sister, she’s far more afraid of what Laura may have done to him.
5. Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle
Beth Murphy has meticulously planned her escape. As she settles into a new city and new identity, she obsessively keeps track of a missing woman, Sabine.
As police investigate deeper, the case grows ever more complicated. Evidence of an unhappy marriage suggests foul play, but the detective on the case knows there’s something more. Someone’s hiding the truth, but it won’t stay hidden for long.
6. Temper by Layne Fargo
Kira finally lands the role of a lifetime after years of stagnation in the theatre scene. But she’ll need to work with a director, Malcolm, who’s known to push his performers past their limits.
She’s convinced she can handle him, but the theatre’s co-founder, Joanna, is a different problem. She sees Kira as a threat, and isn’t afraid to use underhanded tactics. As opening night draws nearer, both women discover how far they’ll go for their ambitions.
7. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu
Remy was happy once. She had Jack, the best boyfriend in the world, and Elise, her best friend who understood her so well. But Jack’s dead, and Elise killed him.
As police begin their investigation so does Remy, playing through all of her memories to search for a clue that could save her friendship. Was the incident self-defense, or something darker she couldn’t have imagined?
8. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
When Myriam decides to practice law again, she and her husband begin looking for the perfect nanny for their children. They find Louise: soft-spoken, devoted, and talented in handling children.
But is Louise too good to be true? As the family and their nanny grow closer, Louise begins to take control, and soon Myriam’s idyllic life turns into a nightmare.
9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson lives the perfect life: she’s a famous painter, married to an in-demand fashion photographer. But one day when her husband comes homes, she shoots him five times in the face and then never speaks again.
A psychotherapist becomes obsessed with Alicia’s case and manages to enter the institution she’s kept in. But his attempted treatments lead him down dark and twisted paths, and he discovers secrets that could well destroy him.
10. Lie to Me by Greer J.T. Ellison
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s perfect relationship is a facade: beneath its pristine exterior is a history of betrayal and hate. Now Sutton’s disappeared, leaving behind a note with instructions not to find her.
While investigations are ongoing, Ethan finds himself at the center of gossip. Did he kill his wife? And as friends, family, and the media speculate on what really happened to his wife, their years of spinning lies to keep up appearances slowly begin to untangle.
11. The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
Juliette will do anything to get back with her ex, and while she knows her methods can be extreme, she knows Nate will appreciate them, so she cleans his apartment while he’s out and leaves him all his favorite food.
Now that she’s working as a flight attendant for the same airline Nate works for as a pilot, surely he’ll realize they’re meant to be. If not, then she’ll just have to make him love her more.
12. Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou
Penny and Hattie are not just sisters, but the best of friends. When Penny seeks a way out of an abusive marriage, Hattie’s more than happy to help, so they hatch a plan and get away with murder.
A year later, a charming man comes to town and captures both of their hearts. Sibling rivalry quickly turns to hate as long-buried resentments come to light.
Reading Domestic Thrillers
Gone Girl is a domestic thriller, an emerging subgenre focused on regular people who are faced with dangerous situations in their domestic lives.
This genre replaces the action-packed narrative that’s defined thrillers in general with narratives that focus on interpersonal relationships and relational conflict. Familiar environments, such as homes, are used to create a more realistic atmosphere.
If you’re looking for books like Gone Girl, then domestic thrillers are your best bet. Blurring the lines between fiction and reality, they may make you wonder if the same could happen in your own life!
Cole is a blog writer and aspiring novelist. He has a degree in Communications and is an advocate of media and information literacy and responsible media practices. Aside from his interest in technology, crafts, and food, he’s also your typical science fiction and fantasy junkie, spending most of his free time reading through an ever-growing to-be-read list. It’s either that or procrastinating over actually writing his book. Wish him luck!