9 Thrillers Like 'Sharp Objects' That Need To Be The Next Big Thing
Whether you’ve been with her since Gone Girl fever or only arrived at the altar of Gillian Flynn during the more recent HBO adaptation of her novel Sharp Objects, there’s no denying that the thriller writer is having a major moment. Few writers celebrate female rage quite like Gillian Flynn, and female rage has never been more celebrated. It’s no coincidence, in my opinion, that the rise of Flynn coincides with the rise of Me Too, the founding of Time’s Up, the exact moment in American history when angry women have never been more potent.
But Gone Girl is long gone from theaters, Sharp Objects has recently wrapped up on HBO, and Flynn’s novels are probably tucked cozily into the thriller section of your bookshelves. So, who’s taking up the mad girl banner next? Once you’ve read (and loved) all there is of Flynn’s angry women, what books should you pick up next? Which writers might be the next Gillian Flynn? What thrillers might be the next Sharp Objects? (And will they get the book-to-screen treatment too?)
If you’re as Flynn-obsessed as the rest of us, be sure to check out these nine new books that might just be the next Sharp Objects.
‘All These Beautiful Strangers’ by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Family tragedy, secret societies, a disappeared woman, and an abandoned daughter are the ingredients in Elizabeth Klehfoth’s psychological thriller, All These Beautiful Strangers. At 17-years-old Charlie Fairchild, the daughter abandoned 10 years earlier, is trapped in a dangerous scavenger hunt organized by her boarding school’s elite secret society. And it's a game that threatens what she knows about her past, her present, and the secrets her family keeps.
‘Trust Me’ by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Filled with unreliable characters and plenty of suspense, Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan is definitely the novel of this summer that could stand alongside Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Mercer Hennessey is a journalist grappling with the death of her husband and three-year-old daughter, and discovering a renewed sense of purpose when she’s assigned to cover the murder of a three-year-old girl whose mother is accused of killing her. But it she really guilty? And whose story is Mercer really writing?
‘Give Me Your Hand’ by Megan Abbott
Filled with female rage, secrets, and betrayal, Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott is about friendship gone horribly, terribly wrong. Kit and Diane have been friends since they were 17-years-old, bonding over their shared drive, ambition, desperation to achieve. But both women have secrets — and it's information that could destroy everything both women have worked for.
‘I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer’ by Michelle McNamara
Already optioned for television by HBO (and with an introduction by the Sharp Objects author herself) I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer traces real-life journalist Michelle McNamara intense search into the case of a serial rapist and murderer who killed up and down the California coast in the 1970s and 80s. The case was solved just months ago, in April of 2018, but McNamara, who died suddenly before the book was published, would not live to see the conclusion of the story she dedicated years of her life to researching.
‘The Exes' Revenge’ by Jo Jakeman
Coming out in September, The Exes' Revenge by Jo Jakeman reads like a darker Big Little Lies with all the female rage of Sharp Objects. Imogen Rochester’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Phillip, is controlling, abusive, and tormenting her with the threat of fighting for custody of their young son. Desperate to protect her child, Imogen does something that changes everything — she unexpectedly teams up with Phillip’s other exes to exact revenge against him.
‘Social Creature’ by Tara Isabella Burton
Already earning comparisons to Gillian Flynn, Tara Isabella Burton’s debut thriller, Social Creature, is about a dangerous friendship between two young women. Louise and Lavinia — one a party girl, the other more reserved. Their relationship is intimate, intoxicating, and toxic. And their sinister uses of social media will make you think twice before your next “like”.
‘The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder’ by Claudia Rowe
Another true crime book that follows the obsessions of one reporter and the terrifying violence she uncovered, The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder follows Claudia Rowe when she was just a fledgling reporter at the New York Times. At the same time, New York police have uncovered the bodies of eight women in the home 27-year-old college student Kendall Francois lived in with his parents and younger sister. While writing about Francois’s crimes, Rowe develops an intense and unusual connection with the killer — one that leads her to see her own past in a new light as well.
'The Broken Girls' by Simone St. James
A thriller that traverses back and forth across time, Simone St. James’s Broken Girls introduces readers to Fiona Sheridan, a journalist who is obsessed with the events surrounding the death of her older sister, whose body was found in the fields behind the boarding school she attended. Now, with the long-abandoned boarding school being restored and Fiona uncertain the convicted murderer is really the killer, she decides to write a story about the death. In the process, she uncovers long-buried secrets and finally gets the answers she’s been seeking for two decades.
‘What My Sister Knew’ by Nina Laurin
Imagine you're watching TV, when suddenly your twin’s face splashes across the news — a brother who disappeared 15 years earlier, after the fire that killed your parents, and who is now wanted by police. What would you do? That’s the question — that, and more — that Nina Laurin answers in What My Sister Knew, a thriller of family betrayals, violence, and secrets.