11 Marriage Thrillers For Gone Girl Fans
"I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"
This seemingly innocuous quote from Gone Girl takes on a much more chilling undertone once you've read the book or, now, seen the movie. In fact, throngs of movie theater-goers took to Twitter to voice their fear of marriage after seeing the film, and Jezebel even went so far as to say that "Gone Girl's biggest villain is marriage itself." There is something so fascinating about a novel that has you questioning how well you really know the person you've chosen to spend the rest of your life with and the secrets we all hide from our partners — even when the premise is extreme. These dangerous love stories have become so popular that they've even garnered a new subgenre: "marriage thrillers." And while there's nothing new about the notion that marriage is scary, it takes on a much darker meaning in these 11 novels, including what will be this year's hottest adaptation — The Girl on the Train.
The Girl on the Train
Take the missing wife premise of Gone Girl, set it in London, throw in a dysfunctional love triangle, give it an alcoholic trainwreck of a narrator, and you've got The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. If you're looking for a creepy mystery that'll turn you off marriage and keep you guessing until the end, this is the novel for you. I couldn't put it down.
"I can't do this, I can’t just be a wife. I don't understand how anyone does it — there is literally nothing to do but wait. Wait for a man to come home and love you. Either that or look around for something to distract you."
The Husband's Secret
A wife and mother who seems to have the perfect life faces a life-altering choice when she finds a letter her husband wrote to be opened after his death in Liane Moriarty's relational mystery The Husband's Secret.
"Marriage was a form of insanity; love hovering permanently on the edge of aggravation."
Broken Harbor is the fourth book in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, and it's bone-chillingly good. I won't say too much, but the case centers on a triple homicide — two young children and the father of a family of four — with the barely alive mom being the only survivor.
" . . . You would be amazed at how seldom murder has to break into people lives. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it gets there because they open the door and invite it in."
Season to Taste
Married couple drifts apart, wife kills husband, wife eats husband. Natalie Young's stomach-turning dark comedy Season to Taste is just your run-of-the-mill tale of marriage, murder, and cannibalism filled with helpful advice and recipes . . .
"Don't suppress. If you need to run into the woods and scream into the trunk of a tree, then do that."
You Should Have Known
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz follows a wife, mother, and author of a book by the same title that chastises women for missing the signs of trouble in their relationships. Her world is suddenly flipped upside down when there's a mysterious death and her husband goes missing, forcing her to heed her own advice about the man she thought she knew.
"If a woman chose the wrong person, he was always going to be the wrong person: that was all. The most capable therapist in the world wouldn't be able to do much more than negotiate the treaty."
A man hunts for his missing wife — a well-known mezzo-soprano — throughout the now desolate Midwestern city of Trude until his teenage son uncovers a secret that changes everything in Eric Lundgren's funny, existential, and mysterious novel The Facades.
"[The opera is] about near misses, tragically missed opportunities, yearning and nostalgia. Is there any better place to cultivate these feelings than in Trude?"
Before I Go to Sleep
S. J. Watson's psychological thriller Before I Go to Sleep has been described as Memento meets 50 First Dates . . . except this woman — who after an accident now wakes up every morning having her memory wiped clean — doesn't know if her husband is telling her the full truth.
" . . . I feel like he's taking advantage of me. Advantage of my illness. He thinks he can rewrite history in any way that he likes and I will never know, never be any the wiser. But I do know. I know exactly what he's doing. And so I don't trust him."
How to Be a Good Wife
How to Be a Good Wife is a psychological thriller by Emma Chapman about a wife and mother dealing with an empty nest who stops taking her medication and doesn't know if the visions of a blond girl she keeps seeing are real or just in her head.
"And below is always the accumulated past, which vanishes but does not vanish, which perishes and remains."
The Silent Wife
From the start of The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison, we know this crumbling marriage between a wife in denial and her cheating husband will end in murder. The question is how they get there.
"There are lots of reasons why a woman stays with a man, even when she's given up on changing him and can predict with certainty the shape that the rest of her life with him is going to take."
Bouncing back and forth in time, Chris Pavone's fast-paced mystery thriller The Expats follows a mother living a double life who suspects her husband has secrets of his own when their family moves to Luxembourg for his job.
"That was not her husband; she knew him, and that was not him. But of course she didn't really know him."
Before We Met
In Lucie Whitehouse's suspenseful thriller Before We Met, a woman's husband doesn't return to their London home from a business trip to the US, which gets even stranger when his colleagues seem to think he was in Paris, not America. As she investigates his disappearance, she discovers their fairy-tale romance was not what it seemed.
"These women who want perfume and designer handbags for Christmas — it's when you're unwrapping anti-freeze and smoke alarms that you know. When a man starts worrying about something happening to you, that's when he really loves you."