Five Authors Like Gillian Flynn (14 Book Recommendations)

Some of Gillian Flynn’s books are simply impossible to put down as they are packed with suspense and tension. Her stories tend to feature highly-flawed characters as protagonists with plots set in worryingly realistic environments that draw a reader in.

Five Authors Like Gillian Flynn (14 Book Recommendations)

That’s largely why her books prove so successful, though the stories are fictional they simply seem remarkably true to life.

You can say that for Sharp Objects which featured a sweet shock for a finale, the spell-binding intersecting timelines in Dark Places, and the twists in Gone Girl.

Her literature awards are few, though she did win the Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2015 for The Grownup. Flynn excels when it comes to screenplays as Gone Girl has won several awards.

For Best Adapted Screenplay, she won the Critics Choice Movie Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Online Film Critics Society Awards, and Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award.

The script was also nominated for a BAFTA as well as the Writers Guild of America Award, both for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Should you enjoy the writing of Gillian Flynn’s psychological thrillers, there are several authors you should consider adding to your list of favorites. These include Paula Hawkins, Laura Lippman, Stieg Larsson, S.J. Watson, and Rachel Howzell Hall.

Authors Like Gillian Flynn

Though she only has a few novels to her name, Gillian Flynn’s books have reached a wide audience. Gone Girl became a critically acclaimed film in 2014 starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, which she also wrote.

After an impact on the big screen, Sharp Objects was a top-rated TV series starring Amy Adams, Sydney Sweeney, and Patricia Clarkson. In each of Flynn’s novels, you can get involved in a thrilling plot with some fascinating characters.

Several authors have a similar ability to create brilliant books that you simply cannot put down. If you have devoured every piece of work that Flynn has produced then you may not be able to wait for her fourth novel.

In the meantime, there are several authors whose style is like that of Flynn’s. That includes Paula Hawkins, Laura Lippman, Stieg Larsson, S.J. Watson, and Rachel Howzell Hall.

Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

There are certain comparisons to be made between Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl. Both are New York Times bestsellers and both have been adapted for the big screen.

That makes sense when both can be considered psychological thrillers that use a complex female character as the protagonist. There are horrors and twists in both books during intricate plots that keep you guessing throughout.

You may even find yourself wondering whether you support or condemn the characters’ actions which is a sign of a great book.


  • Memory – If you enjoy how Gillian Flynn plays with memory in a deviating storyline with several perspectives, then you should enjoy The Girl on the Train.
  • Follow-Up NovelGone Girl stands on its own yet Hawkins decided to follow up her debut novel with another, Into The Water, that delved further into that specific mystery by delivering it from several other perspectives.


  • More To Come – Hawkins is only onto her third novel so there should be more to come, but that may mean that her readers have to be patient.

Themes: Thriller, crime, mystery, suspense

Laura Lippman

Sunburn: A Novel

The key central characters in Gone Girl, Amy and Nick, prove to be brilliantly complex with a more than intriguing relationship. If you wanted more of the same then read Sunburn for another dark, noir gem.

You know you are onto a winning formula when Gillian Flynn herself calls her an ‘unflinching chronicler of life’. Put simply, Lippman has a penchant for psychological suspense that will keep you guessing throughout her novels.



  • Difficult To Pigeonhole – There can be some doubt over which genre some of Lippman’s books belong to.

Themes: Psychological suspense, crime thrillers

Stieg Larsson

Millennium series 6 Books Complete Collection Box Set by Stieg Larsson & David Lagercrantz (Books 1 - 6)

Before Gone Girl showed how a modern book could be adapted into a thrilling film, there was Stieg Larsson and The Millennium Series.

There are six books in total, the original trilogy written by Larsson before his death and a subsequent trilogy written by David Lagercrantz.

The books showcase a female complex protagonist who overcomes great odds to triumph, much like Amy in Gone Girl, and has a similarly thrilling narrative.

If you enjoy reading about fascinating female characters then The Millennium Series is well worth delving into.


  • Stunning Trilogy – Few can forget the lead character of Lisbeth Salander as she embarks on a personal quest for revenge.
  • Film Adaptations – The original Millennium Series became an acclaimed film trilogy from Sweden starring Noomi Rapace while The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was adapted for an English-speaking audience in 2011 featuring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. It may be a shame to consider that there are few plans to follow up the 2011 adaptation when there are two further films in the original trilogy waiting to be adapted.


  • Lackluster Followup – Though the further three books from David Lagercrantz do carry on The Millennium Series, they prove largely lackluster compared to the original trilogy.

Themes: Crime, thriller, suspense, psychological drama

S.J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

Mystery is a hallmark of Gillian Flynn’s writing and in Before I Go To Sleep, S.J. Watson has written a similarly impactful novel.

The book is an exceptional thriller and a New York Times bestseller and is a somewhat frightening and thrilling depiction of memory loss.

Watson won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for the novel as the best debut as well as being awarded Crime Thriller of the Year with the Galaxy National Book Award.

Thankfully, Watson also has several other books to delve into including Second Life and Final Cut.


  • Posed Questions – S.J. Watson enjoys posing certain questions in his books. While Before I Go To Sleep queries constant memory loss, Second Life looks at secret identities and their impact on others.
  • Trauma – Few books incorporate thoughts of trauma as well as Before I Go To Sleep


  • Difficult Reads – By posing such questions of the characters in the book, some of S.J. Watson’s books can prove to be difficult reads.

Themes: Psychological thriller, thought-provoking mystery

Rachel Howzell Hall

Land of Shadows (Detective Elouise Norton Book 1)

It may be nothing much of a surprise to learn that Rachel Howzell Hall was on the Board of Mystery Writers of America. She certainly knows how to create a plot that creates an inviting level of suspense.

That includes the Detective Elouise Norton Series (the first of which is Land of Shadows) which involves a homicide detective and their work in Los Angeles. If you feel like a small investment in a standalone novel then grab a copy of They All Fall Down.


  • Former Board Member Of The Mystery Writers of America – Hall knows how to create suspense in her plots and has been key to advising others.
  • Association of Writers Programs Mentor – Following her work for the Mystery Writers of America, as a mentor she has shown other authors how to write brilliant novels. 


  • Few Standalone Books – While Flynn only has three novels to her name, many are waiting to see what Rachel Howzell Hall will write next.

Themes: Mystery, thriller, crime

Final Thoughts

Gillian Flynn is not just an American author but she is a formidable producer and screenwriter with a deftness for thrilling plots.

Each of her three novels has been critically acclaimed and her work has been published in an impressive 40 languages. That’s quite something, yet Gone Girl has been reported to have sold over 15 million copies which is a staggering number.

Then you realize that she wrote and then produced the TV series Sharp Objects which was nominated for another Writers Guild of America Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.

Few authors create such masterful psychological thrillers as Gillian Flynn. While she only has three books to her name, there are much-anticipated plans for a fourth.

Before that book arrives, delve into the published works of Rachel Howzell Hall, S.J. Watson, Stieg Larsson, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins. Each of those authors can create a mesmerizing plot that will keep you guessing throughout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gillian Flynn Working On Another Novel?

Gillian Flynn has been busy working as a writer and executive producer on the sci-fi series Utopia. However, her fourth novel is set to be published by Penguin Random House.

Will There Ever Be A Sequel To Gone Girl?

While Paula Hawkins followed up The Girl On The Train with Into The Water, there are currently no plans for Flynn to follow up Gone Girl.

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Noah Burton