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Could One of These Books Be This Summer's Gone Girl?

Gone Girl hasn't exactly gone anywhere--nearly a year after publication, Gillian Flynn's novel about a marriage gone very very bad is still sitting comfortably on everybody's best sellers list... but that hasn't stopped publishers from trying to find the next thriller as compelling, sophisticated, and psychologically twisted. I've read (riveted) dozens of new books coming out this summer and I've found some great stuff. Here's how eight new books measure up to Flynn's finest.


The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

What it's about: A well-to-do Chicago couple is in a bad place in their common-law marriage because the wife can no longer look away from her partner's infidelities. Much meanness ensues.
GG similarities: Twisted relationship, Midwestern locale, ending sure to provoke conversation
Bottom line: This is a novel about lust and betrayal and how you can never really know another person, even if you love them dearly.
GG success potential: Medium high



The Shining Girls

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

What it's about: A time-travelling serial killer is hunted by one of the few victims he left alive
GG similarities: Strong female character (but this one is likable), sometimes prurient descriptions of violence, blessedly little psychoanalyses of the psycopaths involved
Bottom line: You can almost see the movie in this one: Plucky young woman refuses to be victim and trips up her attacker with old fashioned sleuthing.
GG success potential: High



Kiss Me First

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

What it's about: A shy young woman is hired to impersonate a suicidal woman online
GG similarities: Lots of suspense, a jaded view of relationships, fast moving
Bottom line: Leila is a naïve geek, more would-be Lisbeth (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Sander than a fierce and vengeful Gone Girl. Still, the novel offers insight into the lonely world of those whose primary relationships are digital.
GG success potential: Medium



The Never List

The Never List by Koethi Zan

What it's about: Two women who were held captive by a psychopath in a basement meet up ten years later and try to bring their torturer to justice
GG similarities: Suspense, female victimhood that morphs into aggression, complex relationships
Bottom line: There's at once a prurience and a naïvité to some of the scenes in this book (There are S&M clubs in Midwestern towns? Really???) that detract from an otherwise powerful story of revenge and sisterhood.
GG success potential: Medium



Reconstructing Amelia

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

What it's about: A teenage girl is caught cheating and kills herself--or so they say; her executive mother sets out to reconstruct the girl's life and figure out what really happened
GG similarities: Nimble plotting about how even the smallest mistakes can derail lives
Bottom line: Particularly scary for parents and anyone else who lives with what-if scenarios daily
GG success potential: Medium high



The Execution of Noa P Singleton

The Execution of Noa P Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

What it's about: A young woman on death row for the murder of her estranged father's much younger fiancée refuses to fight for her life.
GG similarities: Very powerful, not terribly likeable heroine, violence, subversive view of American culture
Bottom line: We're all guilty of something, whether or not it's what we're accused of
GG success potential: High



Visitation Street

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda

What it's about: Two 15-year-old girls go looking for fun on a steamy summer night, and only one of them survives.
GG similarities: Taut writing, a deep understanding of twisted criminals, a strong sense of the mundanity of betrayal
Bottom line: Dennis Lehane compares this to the work of Richard Price, Junot Diaz and Alice Sebold for its style and story.
GG success potential: High




Brilliance by Marcus Sakey

What it's about: A federal agent with a special gift for finding terrorists takes on the most dangerous man alive.
GG similarities: Psychologically astute, fast-paced, unusual twist on a familiar story
Bottom line: Being gifted, as Sakey's hero here is, can be both a blessing and a curse
GG success potential: Medium high



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