Thursday, July 24, 2014

Read-alikes: Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn's 2012 break-out hit novel, Gone Girl, is still going strong for readers everywhere (to give you an idea, as of this writing, while the hardcover edition is no longer on the New York Times Bestseller List, the trade paperback has been there for the last three months). And with the film adaptation being released this coming fall (starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris), it is about to get even bigger.

But what if you've already read it?  What if you loved it and, as you wait for the film's release, you're looking for something similar to read?  I'm so glad you asked!  Here are some compulsively readable suspense novels full of plot-twists to keep you going:

The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. You may be familiar with the movie adaptation of this novel (which starred Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law). But if you ask this librarian (it's why you're here, right?), the book was better! The first in a series of five novels about Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley follows the suave young Tom through his introduction to Manhattan and his trip to Italy to find a wealthy industrialist's wayward playboy son and bring him home, where Tom finds himself both entranced by the lifestyle of Dickie Greenleaf and enraged by the man's casual disregard for a sweet young dilletante. The birth of a confidence man.

Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson. I adored this book, and while Watson has not been forthcoming with a second novel, this remains one of my favorite thrillers. You can read my review here.

Never Look Away, by Linwood Barclay. Fans of missing-persons suspense will love this read-alike by Barclay. I really enjoyed this one--you can read my review here.

Like suspense books about deep family secrets? Try Defending Jacob by William Landay.  I read it for my book club earlier this year.  Here's what I thought about it: This is so much more than a thriller or a courtroom drama. In the wake of the murder of a teenage boy, the son of assistant district attorney Andy Barber, middle-school student Jacob, is the prime suspect. In the course of the investigation and prosecution, the tale becomes as much about secrets, family dynamics, community response to tragedy, and coping with change, all of which make this deep, intriguing novel so much more than the sum of its parts. Not for the faint of heart, but very highly recommended.

Josie and Jack, by Kelly Braffet.   Siblings Josie and Jack have always depended on each other, living in a secluded decaying mansion in western Pennsylvania with their mostly absentee and abusive father. Once they finally escape and venture into the outside world, however, it becomes apparent that Jack may be even more sinister than their father. I've heard this likened to Hansel and Gretel on drugs, so it's sure to be dark and twisted. 

I'm back next week with a review of something so good, I just can't keep it to myself.  In the meantime, happy summer reading!

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