Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the name Gillian Flynn. The number-one New York Times bestselling author shines at crafting innovative, un-put-downable mysteries and thrillers, from her debut Sharp Objects to the blockbuster Gone Girl. If you love Flynn’s work and are on the hunt for more thrills, the following authors like Gillian Flynn are sure to do the trick.
11 Authors Like Gillian Flynn
These must-read writers will hook you just like Flynn.
The Silent Patient
By Alex Michaelides
Fans of Flynn will love Alex Michaelides, bestselling author of The Silent Patient and The Maidens. Both writers excel at creating pulse-pounding narratives with multifaceted female protagonists at their core. In The Silent Patient, Michaelides introduces us to Alicia Berenson, an enigmatic central character who is just as wickedly engaging as Flynn’s Amy Elliott Dunne or Camille Preaker. Berenson is a world-famous artist who appears to lead a picture-perfect life. So why did she kill her photographer husband, despite exhibiting no previous signs of violence? In the wake of the shooting, Alicia goes silent and refuses to speak a word — which makes things all the more intriguing when troubled criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber begins digging deeper into her story in search of the truth.
A Nearly Normal Family
By M.T. Edvardsson
In her debut novel, Sharp Objects, Flynn examined dysfunction within the family unit, highlighting duplicitous characters with secrets to hide from the ones they profess to love the most. Sweden’s M.T. Edvardsson explores similarly complicated family dynamics in his translated thriller A Nearly Normal Family, which also centers on crime, murder, and blood relations. In the novel, seemingly normal teenager Stella Sandell is accused of killing an older man. Stella’s parents — a defense attorney and a pastor — must confront disturbing truths about their daughter and what she may have done, and ultimately decide how far they’re willing to go to defend her.
The Cutting Season
By Attica Locke
Attica Locke is an Edgar Award–winning novelist who has produced and written for some truly amazing television productions, including Little Fires Everywhere and Empire. Like Flynn, Locke knows how to weave together multiple mysteries into a singular, heart-pounding narrative. In The Cutting Season, the author presents two interlocking cases: The first is a murder mystery that occurs in Belle Vie, a historic plantation in Louisiana’s sugarcane country; the second centers on a slave who went missing more than a hundred years ago. Bestselling author Dolen Perkins-Valdez hails The Cutting Season as “a rare murder mystery with heft” and champions Locke as a “dazzling writer with a conscience.” We also recommend Bluebird, Bluebird, Locke’s celebrated 2017 crime novel about family and justice set against an evocative Southern small-town backdrop, reminiscent of the setting in Flynn’s Sharp Objects.
By Laura Lippman
Like Flynn, bestselling crime novelist Laura Lippman is a former reporter whose background in journalism shines through in her gripping fiction; her narratives hook you immediately and don’t let go until the very end. The author is perhaps best known for her Tess Monaghan mysteries, but she’s also penned a number of stand-alone narratives that are more than worth your attention. In Sunburn, two lovers play a dangerous cat-and-mouse game of desire and psychological manipulation that culminates in a shocking act of violence. Flynn herself is a fan of Lippman and her work: “Every time Laura Lippman comes out with a new book, I get chills, because I know I am back in the hands of the master.… Sunburn is her dark, gleaming noir gem.” Other Lippman books Flynn readers are sure to enjoy include the deliciously twisty What the Dead Know, which centers on a woman claiming to be a girl who went missing decades earlier, and Lady in the Lake, about a housewife turned investigative journalist in 1960s Baltimore who dives into the unsolved murder of a young woman.
By Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben and Gillian Flynn are genre titans who expertly weave tangled memories and unreliable narrators into their twisting, turning thrillers. Fans of the mind games in Flynn’s Gone Girl are sure to enjoy the deception at play in Coben’s suspenseful novels, from the conspiracy of secrets in his bestselling The Stranger to his exhilarating domestic thriller Six Years. In Six Years, we meet a college professor named Jake who still pines for his old flame, Natalie. Years ago, Jake watched Natalie marry another man, so when he learns of her husband’s passing, Jake tries to reconnect with his former lover in hopes of rekindling their love. There’s just one problem: Jake’s memories of Natalie no longer align with reality. The mourning widow at the funeral isn’t Natalie, while the old acquaintances Jake can track down don’t recognize him. Is Jake coming undone? Or is he trapped inside a menacing ruse?
You Will Know Me
By Megan Abbott
Megan Abbott is an Edgar Award–winning novelist who doubles as a successful TV writer/producer and journalist. Like Flynn’s, the author’s nerve-jangling narratives are often told from a female perspective; they’re also impossible to put down once you start reading one. You Will Know Me is one of Abbott’s strongest works and is a book that Flynn fans are sure to love. The novel centers on Katie and Eric Knox, parents of a young gymnast prodigy, whose lives are shattered when a violent death rocks their ultracompetitive gymnastics community. The “shocking and perfect” (New York Times Book Review) novel plumbs the depths of ambition, desire, desperation, and, of course, crime. Other Abbott books to check out include Dare Me, a mystery set in the cheerleading world that Abbott recently adapted into a critically acclaimed series on the USA Network, and The Fever, which explores mass hysteria and contagion.
The Witch Elm
By Tana French
Like Flynn, bestselling author Tana French crafts deliciously dark novels rich with complex characters and tense atmospherics. The Irish author’s work falls firmly in the crime fiction genre; she’s best known for her Dublin Murder Squad detective series. For Flynn fans new to French’s thrilling literary world, we suggest starting with The Witch Elm. The Witch Elm is a stand-alone novel published in 2018. It focuses on Toby, a man who must confront dark truths about his troubled past after he finds a human skull in the trunk of a tree at his family’s ancestral home. Once you’ve finished The Witch Elm, jump into French’s expansive Dublin Murder Squad series, including book five, The Secret Place, which Flynn hailed as “absolutely mesmerizing.”
Local Woman Missing
By Mary Kubica
Mary Kubica’s work is perfect for Flynn fans — her bestselling suspense novels are chilling and clever, with inventive plots that often focus on the inner lives of central female characters. Her newest novel, Local Woman Missing, is about a series of unsolved disappearance cases that break open again when one of the missing women returns after 11 years away. Other gems from Kubica that Flynn fans should check out include The Other Mrs., a whodunit set in coastal Maine that will soon be a Netflix film, and Every Last Lie, where a widow investigates her husband’s presumably accidental car crash.
The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
Both Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins love to play with the fallibility of memory by delivering their twisty storylines through unreliable narrators and from multiple perspectives, as Flynn did in Gone Girl and Hawkins did in her debut psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train. Hawkins’ novel — which was named a USA Today Book of the Year and made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Emily Blunt — topped the New York Times fiction list for months after its release in 2015. The novel begins with Rachel, a troubled woman who swears she sees a shocking event from the window of her daily commuter train. Hawkins’ follow-up novel, Into the Water, unfurls its many-layered mystery from the perspective of nearly a dozen characters, similar to the multifaceted narration at play in Flynn’s murder mystery Dark Places.
Before I Go to Sleep
By S.J. Watson
Similar to Flynn, S.J. Watson incorporates elements of trauma, identity, and memory into his work. These themes are at the forefront of Watson’s debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, a New York Times bestseller. The novel centers on Christine Lucas, a middle-aged married woman who suffers from amnesia. Christine is working with a doctor to recover her memories, which she loses every night after she falls asleep. But as she pieces her broken life back together with the help of a secret journal, Christine begins to suspect that those around her aren’t telling the truth about her perplexing condition. Watson’s other two novels — Second Life and Final Cut — are thought-provoking psychological thrillers that Flynn fans are sure to like too.
All the Missing Girls
By Megan Miranda
Completing our list of authors like Gillian Flynn is Megan Miranda, the bestselling author of the YA Fracture series as well as a handful of very good stand-alone adult mystery novels. Both Flynn and Miranda center their work on complicated women and highlight the search for the truth amid the darkness. In Flynn’s Sharp Objects, the main character is a journalist whose inner demons and unresolved family drama bubble to the surface as she investigates a double murder in her hometown. Miranda unfolds an equally compelling narrative in All The Missing Girls. The novel centers on Nicolette “Nic” Farrell. A decade ago, Nic escaped her rural hometown after her best friend vanished without a trace; now she’s back to care for her ailing father and reconnect with her estranged loved ones. Soon after her arrival, however, a close neighbor disappears, reviving buried traumas and plunging Nic back into a deepening mystery.