In Paula Hawkins’ psychological thriller The Girl on the Train, Rachel Watson (played by Emily Blunt in the upcoming movie adaptation) is on an alcohol-fueled downward spiral. Her blackouts make her unreliable—to both the reader and her fictional relationships—but still she’s convinced she has the clue to a woman’s disappearance.
If you’re looking for more books like The Girl on the Train while you wait for the movie’s release, we recommend these thrilling suspense novels of unhealthy obsession, deceptive memory, and untrustworthy companions. Read on, but question everything—especially your own assumptions.
Dark Devotion, by Clare Francis
Alex is a respectable lawyer living in London in practice defending criminals with her husband Paul. But the practice of defending the guilty has put a strain on Alex, and her marriage. So it’s perhaps with too much eagerness that she travels back home to Norfolk, where her old childhood friend Will is looking to solve the disappearance of his wife Grace. The path to hell is paved with the best of intentions, and as Alex finds out, Will may have had good reason for killing Grace. As it turns out, in marriage, no one is completely innocent.
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Improvising Carla, by Joanna Hines
Helen hopes to escape her problems in London by taking a vacation to Greece. There she meets the charming Carla, another single woman looking for adventure, and the two hit it off. But by the end of the trip Carla is dead, and only Helen knows the truth of her demise. Though she convinces herself the only sensible thing to do is to return home, the truth of Carla’s death has followed her there. In the end, Helen’s secrets may be her downfall.
In A Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware
Like all good crime writers, Leonora knows it’s safer nestled in the safety of her apartment than it is to venture outside. But when an old friend invites her for a relaxing weekend, she takes a risk and tries to be social. Big mistake. Lee (or Nora, as she’s known to some) wakes up in a hospital bed with no knowledge of what’s happened to her outside the fact that something has gone very, very wrong. And to discover the truth she must access the part of her past that she thought she had buried a long time ago.
Nina Todd Has Gone, by Lesley Glaister
We all make mistakes. But unfortunately for Nina Todd, she’s chosen the wrong person to make one with. Though she’s just moved in with her sweet boyfriend Charlie, she finds herself regretting a one-night-stand with a man she’s just met. Nina hopes Rupert will just disappear, but he’s determined to make her life a living hell. And he’s not who he says he is…
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All Is Not Forgotten, by Wendy Walker
When Jenny Kramer is brutally attacked at a party, her parents make the controversial decision to give her a drug that is supposed to erase all memory of the incident. But, like the title says, all is not forgotten, and despite the medical assistance, Jenny’s emotional trauma from the attack may never heal. While her parents’ marriage is taken to task in the search for Jenny’s attacker, their investigation leads them to their close-knit community, where the perpetrator may have been hiding in plain sight.
Copycat, by Gillian White
At first, Martha tolerated Jennie. She was the kind of friend she could count on to take the kids for an afternoon. But deep down, she found her annoying. Over time, though, the roles have reversed. Now Martha’s the one who’s desperate, failing at her marriage and work, while the once rather pathetic Jennie seems to be flourishing. Fans of Gone Girl and Single White Female will revel in this compelling psychological thriller of obsession and competition.
All The Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda
Aside from her best friend Corinne, Nicolette Farrell is the only one of her friends to ever get out of Cooley Ridge. And even then, no one knows what happened to Corinne—she disappeared without a trace 10 years ago. Now Nic is back in her hometown. The whole group’s moved on, married with kids. But when one of them, a girl named Annaleise, goes missing, all the emotions over Corinne’s disappearance come surging back. Could the two events be connected? And does Nic have what it takes to discover the truth?
Before I Go To Sleep, by S.J. Watson
Like Rachel, Christine can’t even trust herself. After a horrible accident, she becomes an amnesiac. Every night, while she sleeps, her brain erases her memories from the day, so when she wakes up she has no idea who she is and her husband, Ben, must explain everything to her again. Christine starts keeping a notebook in hopes that it will jar her memory, but one morning she wakes up and on the page it reads “don’t trust Ben.” S.J. Watson’s thriller is a gripping allegory of the importance of memory and identity—who can we trust if we can’t trust ourselves?
Michael’s Wife, by Marlys Millhiser
Your memory can play tricks on you—it’s even easier to believe what you want to believe when you just can’t remember the truth. A woman wakes in the desert with no idea who she is or where she’s come from. All she has is a meaningless name, “Captain Michael Devereaux, Luke A.F.B.,” written on a piece of paper. As it turns out, Devereaux is the husband she abandoned two years ago, and he’s also the father of her child. While she wants to trust that she is who everyone says she is … what could have happened that she wandered so far away from home, and her family?
The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica
The daughter of a prominent judge, Mia may be eager to blow off some stream when she’s stood up at a bar by her on-off boyfriend. So she goes home with a charming stranger. As it turns out, that charming stranger is on the hunt, and has kidnapped Mia for ransom, taking her to a remote cabin in the woods. Mia’s mother is terrified, but for some reason her husband seems casual, even cavalier about finding Mia. With family secrets like these, who is there to trust?
The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison
From the outside, Jodi and Todd’s marriage might look perfect, but the reality is very bleak. Things have been unraveling for quite some time, with Todd’s cheating and Jodi’s ability to look the other way. Though she might seem complacent, however, Jodi’s not about to let her affluent lifestyle get away so easily, and we know from the beginning that Todd will have to pay for his infidelities. A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife starts with a crime and works backwards, painting a gripping portrait of a woman pushed too far.
Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little
Out of prison after being convicted for her mother’s murder, former “it girl” Janie Jenkins is ready to find the real killer and clear her name. The investigation, which she embarks on in disguise, reveals that Janie and her mother may have had much more in common than she had thought—including some dark secrets that now threaten Janie’s safety.
Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight
Kate’s daughter Amelia has been accused of cheating at Grace Hall, a prestigious prep school in Brooklyn. But when Kate arrives to pick Amelia up and reprimand her, she finds the school surrounded by police cars and ambulances. School officials tell Kate that after being discovered, Amelia jumped to her death. Like any mother, Kate can’t believe it, and her suspicions are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text that reads, “she didn’t jump.”
Still from The Girl On the Train. Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures