The “Gone Girl” phenomenon

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It all started with Gone Girl. The novel by Gillian Flynn captured the attention of mystery lovers everywhere, and started a trend in the publishing world as well: psychological thrillers with “girl” in the titles and unpredictable twists.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, has become the next biggest thing. Debuting at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, it remained in the top position for 13 weeks last year. If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy before the film version starring Emily Blunt is released in October.

I thoroughly enjoyed both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and recently have become addicted to only reading books in that genre. And a lot of them are so good! So, while I’ve seen a few lists of Gone Girl readalikes, I wanted to offer a few of my own librarian-tested, reader-approved selections.

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Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is a bit different as the twist is revealed early on. Ani has worked hard to create the perfect life, but reliving a shocking event from her past makes her question everything. In The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica, Mia is abducted and held by her kidnapper in a secluded cabin while her mother searches frantically to find her.

My two favorite books of 2015 didn’t feature “girl” in the title, but were engrossing nonetheless. Strangers Ted and Lily meet on an airplane and immediately hit it off in The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson. Unfortunately, Ted is married … so they make a plan to get his wife out of the picture.

The body of an infant is discovered in Where They Found Her, by Kimberly McCreight, and as local journalist Molly covers the crime for the local newspaper, she discovers the dark secrets of the seemingly serene New Jersey town she inhabits. McCreight’s debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia, was another tense read.

Read a great mystery lately? Come see me at the library and tell me about it! I love to get new recommendations from the experts – readers like you!

– Submitted by Jen Pace Dickenson