12 Books to Read if You Loved ‘Dark Places’

Posted on August 3, 2015 by

Dark PlacesGillian Flynn’s Gone Girl gets all the attentionbut her two other novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects are just as dark, twisty, and amazing.

The film adaptation of Dark Places opens this week, and it will definitely have you craving Flynn’s writing style more than ever. There are countless literary lists about Gone Girl-comparisons, but what if you devoured Dark Places and want more? Well, look no further. Here are 12 books you’ll love if you enjoy fast-paced, page-turner thrillers like Dark Places. Publisher descriptions included below as well.

 

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods by Tana FrenchAs dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film by Marisha PesslOn a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova — a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

 

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithA brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

 

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Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda

Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an isolated blue-collar neighborhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, 15-year-olds June and Val are looking for fun. Forget the boys, the bottles, the coded whistles. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay. But on the water during the humid night, the girls disappear. Only Val survives, washing ashore in the weeds, bruised and unconscious.

This shocking event echoes through the lives of Red Hook’s diverse residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, hopes that his shop is a place to share neighborhood news, and he trolls for information about June’s disappearance. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father’s murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect in the investigation.. Val contends with the shadow of her missing friend and a truth she’s buried deep inside. Her teacher Jonathan, a Juilliard dropout and barfly, wrestles with dashed dreams and a past riddled with tragic sins.

 

Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland by Stephen King

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life — and what comes after — that would change his world forever.

A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old — and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time — Joyland is Stephen King at the peak of his storytelling powers. With all the emotional impact of King masterpieces such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, Joyland is at once a mystery, a horror story, and a bittersweet coming-of-age novel, one that will leave even the most hard-boiled reader profoundly moved.

 

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-OlsenCarl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl — who didn’t draw his weapon — blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects.

But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead… yet.

 

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

And When She Was Good by Laura LippmanIn the comfortable suburb where Heloise Lewis lives, she’s just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she’s the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record. But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she’s the woman of your dreams — if you can afford her hourly fee.

But now, after a decade, her secret life is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new dangers. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it? And then she learns that her son’s father, a killer, might be released from prison. With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life — again. Disappearing will be the easy part. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.

 

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Vanishing Acts by Jodi PicoultDelia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her beloved, widowed father, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiancé, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall… until a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret about herself that changes the world as she knows it — and threatens to jeopardize her future.

With Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult explores how life — as we know it — might not turn out the way we imagined; how the people we’ve loved and trusted can suddenly change before our very eyes; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

 

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica KnollAs a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

 

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Weight of BloodThe town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy — darkly beautiful as her mother was — is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls — the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save — and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

 

After Her by Joyce Maynard

After Her by Joyce Maynard

Summer, 1979. A dry, hot Northern California school vacation stretches before Rachel and her younger sister, Patty — the daughters of a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective father and the mother whose heart he broke.

When we first meet her, Patty is eleven — a gangly kid who loves basketball and dogs and would do anything for her older sister, Rachel. Rachel is obsessed with making up stories and believes she possesses the gift of knowing what’s in the minds of people around her. She has visions, whether she wants to or not. Left to their own devices, the sisters spend their days studying record jackets, concocting elaborate fantasies about the mysterious neighbor who moved in down the street, and playing dangerous games on the mountain that looms behind their house.

When young women start turning up dead on the mountain, the girls’ father is put in charge of finding the murderer known as the “Sunset Strangler.” Watching her father’s life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on her most dangerous game yet… using herself as bait to catch the killer. But rather than cracking the case, the consequences of Rachel’s actions will destroy her father’s career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves.

Thirty years later, still haunted by the belief that the killer remains at large, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father — a plan that unexpectedly unearths a long-buried family secret.

 

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate RacculiaFifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside.

When a young prodigy disappears from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of conductors and caretakers, teenagers on the verge and adults haunted by memories. A genre-bending page-turner, full of playful nods to pop-culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee, Bellweather Rhapsody is a winning new novel from a writer to watch.

 

Which of these have you read? Let us know in the comments!

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