Friday, June 22, 2012

Read Alike: Gillian Flynn

Chicago author Gillian Flynn earned a loyal following for her novels of psychological suspense. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, was published in 2006, and was inspired, in part, by Ms. Flynn's desire to write about women's dark sides. She has an interesting essay on this topic available on her website:

Disturbing at the mildest, Ms. Flynn is not for readers bothered by violence, but readers who enjoy a suspenseful read with great characters and plot twists are in for a treat.

Her most recent novel, Gone Girl, has received some great reviews and already has a waiting list here at Carnegie-Stout. Amy disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary, and her husband is left to piece together the story from her diary, even as he is under suspicion for her murder.

If you're looking for more authors of darker psychological suspense, you might like these authors as well:

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Mr. Watson's debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, also features a marriage that isn't as happy as it appears on the surface, with secrets revealed by the wife's journal. Christine's memory is damaged, and the past 22 years of her life, including her marriage to Ben, are missing. The first person narration of Christine's attempt to understand who she really is and what really happened to her is fast-paced and suspenseful.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Chelsea Cain's popular mystery series focuses on the twisted relationship between the damaged detective, Archie Sheridan, and the twisted serial killer, Gretchen Lowell. The plots are thrilling, the crimes are gruesome, and the humor is darkest black. The series starts with Heartsick, Archie is haunted and broken by his time as Gretchen Lowell's prisoner, but he returns to the force to catch a killer targeting young girls.

In the Woods by Tana French
Irish author Tana French’s grim and compelling mysteries have won her an international success. The character-driven stories follow the suspenseful cases of the Dublin Murder Squad. Start with In the Woods, a young girl is found murdered in the woods near Dublin, the same woods where one of the detective’s two friends disappeared twenty years ago. Detective Ryan struggles to catch the killer as his long-suppressed memories resurface.

End of Story by Peter Abrahams
In addition to psychological suspense novels, Mr. Abrahams writes for teens and younger readers, as well as a mystery series narrated by a dog named Chet (published as Spencer Quinn). In End of Story, struggling writer Ivy takes a job teaching at Dannemora Prison. Ivy becomes fascinated by Vance Harrow, a charming convict, and unconvinced of his guilt, Ivy slips deeper into a dangerous world. 

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis are the co-authors of the Nina Borg suspenseful mystery series. The first book in the series (and only with an English translation so far), The Boy in the Suitcase, is fast-paced with a twisted plot, and was the topic of an earlier staff review. Nina is a deeply flawed character, a nurse who works tirelessly to protect strangers in dangerous situations, a mother who can't remember to pick her son up from daycare.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson suspenseful mystery series follows private investigator Jackson Brodie as he investigates crimes with offbeat characters and dark secrets. The series starts with Case Histories, Jackson takes on three seemingly unrelated cases, all involving the death or disappearance of a young girl from the Cambridge region over the course of 30 years.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith remains a favorite for fans of psychological suspense. Her dark, creepy stories of charming evil, like The Talented Mr. Ripley, make for compelling reads. Expect ambiguous morals and exciting plot twists.

You may also want to take a look at Becky Spratford of the Berwyn Public Library write ups on Ms. Flynn's books for some more reading suggestions!

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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