In early 2015, a debut novel titled The Girl on the Train garnered quite a bit of hype when it opened at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list—and stayed there for 13 weeks.
On October 7, the highly anticipated movie adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ novel opens in theaters, starring Emily Blunt as a troubled woman who becomes involved in a missing person case after seeing something suspicious from her seat on the train.
If you have already read The Girl on the Train and need to get your female led psychological thriller fix elsewhere while you wait for the film, pick up one (or more!) of these six page-turners:
1. Until You’re Mine, Samantha Hayes
Claudia is a wife and stepmother who is pregnant with a much-wanted first baby of her own. But there’s something about her new nanny that Claudia cannot trust, and a series of violent attacks on pregnant women in the area only heightens her vulnerability.
Why You’ll Love It: This thriller shares some major themes with The Girl on the Train, including characters struggling with infertility and an “outsider” who becomes enmeshed in a family’s life. (Instead of a passerby on a train, Until You’re Mine features a nanny with a murky motive for working in a particular family’s home.)
2. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn
Fresh from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital, Camille returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her family. Now, installed in her old bedroom, Camille must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.
Why You’ll Love It: The Girl on the Train was constantly compared to Gone Girl, but Gillian Flynn’s other thrilling novels are also un-put-down-able and possibly even more disturbing. Readers who felt empathy for Rachel’s instability in The Girl on the Train might feel similar emotions for Camille as she fights to overcome her own psychological struggles in Sharp Objects.
3. Black-Eyed Susans, Julia Heaberlin
Nearly two decades ago, Tessa was found barely alive in a Texas field—the lone survivor of a serial killer. But when events suggest the wrong man was sent to prison, Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man she testified against. As the clock ticks toward his execution, Tessa fears for her sanity and the safety of her teenaged daughter.
Why You’ll Love It: In The Girl on the Train, Rachel suffers memory loss and confusion from her alcohol abuse. In Black-Eyed Susans, Tessa struggles to move on with her life after surviving an attack by a serial killer that she can barely remember. And in both novels, there may still be a killer on the loose.
4. The Passenger, Lisa Lutz
After leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone and flees town. She meets Blue, who recognizes the hunted look in her eyes, and forms an uneasy―and dangerous―alliance. It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Tanya and Blue have the courage, ingenuity and desperation to try.
Why You’ll Love It: Like Rachel’s chapters in The Girl on the Train, this story is told from the point of view of a woman with secrets and an agenda of her own, which means her memories can’t always be take at face value. If you appreciated the added layer of mystery created by Rachel’s unreliable account of events, you’ll enjoy this narrator’s uncertain past and hidden motives.
5. The Widow, Fiona Barton
After Jean’s husband dies, she doesn’t have stay quiet anymore. There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing, but now there are people who want to hear her story. The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything.
Why You’ll Love It: Whereas a grown woman goes missing in The Girl on the Train, it is a young girl who disappears in The Widow. In both novels, the main characters might know more about the missing person than they let on, and both women have to confront uncomfortable rumors (or truths) about their husbands and their marriages.
6. Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, but when Claire’s husband is unexpectedly killed, the estranged sisters reunite to investigate a horrifying discovery that dredges up painful memories of their family’s past.
Why You’ll Love It: OK, we admit it—this book isn’t really that similar to The Girl on the Train other than its focus on a missing girl. BUT, if you are looking for another book to keep you up reading until 3 a.m., this book certainly delivers.