Gillian Flynn’s Top 5 Reads For Autumn 2022

Is your fall TBR looking a little bare? “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn comes in clutch, revealing her own line-up of autumn reads this Halloween season.

Adult Fiction Book Culture Debut Authors Female Authors Fiction Historical Fiction Recommendations Thriller & Mystery

What better source for spooky season book recommendations than from the psychological thriller queen herself? In a recent appearance for The Today Show, Gillian Flynn broke down her top 5 fall reads! Given the nature of her own triad of thrillers – Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl – I’d trust that this selection of recommendations packs a punch in terms of dark, visceral, and haunting storytelling.

Small Deaths by Rijula Das

“Best Thriller”

Image via Amazon

Rijula Das’ debut novel, set in Calcutta’s red-light district, is an engrossing and unsettling tale of survival at all costs. It follows Lalee, a sex worker, and one of her loyal clients, Tilu Shau, a romance novelist. Tilu is head over heels for her and seeks to free Lalee from a life on the street. However, when one of the other sex workers at the Blue Lotus is murdered, Lalee is invited to take the woman’s place “upstairs” – stepping into a role of a highly-prize escort, where the lucrative lifestyle comes with a myriad of dangers. Flynn comments:

The novel explores the lives of sex workers, in an unflinching yet humanistic way…Das writes of a dark world where abuse and death sit side by side with love and loyalty and grace. The story is heartbreaking and awful and wonderful, all within the structure of crime fiction.

Gillian Flynn for Today

Leech by Hiron Ennes

“Best Creepy Read”

Image via Amazon

Leech is a unique horror novel told from the POV of a virus that’s taken over the body of a doctor. Brilliantly crafted to get under your skin, this creepy novel is perfect for fans of the atmospheric, Gothic genre with some sci-fi grotesquerie sprinkled in. Leech proves that the zany and surreal can be very spooky indeed. As author Tamsyn Muir put it, “think Wuthering Heights…with worms!

Ennes has created a world that’s fully realized and disturbingly believable, a place both futuristic in its environmental disasters but Victorian in its manners and ways.

Gillian Flynn for Today

Jackal by Erin E. Adams

“Best Debut Novel”

Image via Amazon

This masterfully-crafted thriller follows protagonist Liz Rocher as she returns to her small Pennsylvania hometown for a friend’s wedding. At the said wedding, her friend’s daughter goes missing, prompting Liz to kickstart an investigation of her own. She quickly notices a harrowing pattern of young black girls disappearing in the woods, stemming back to her childhood upbringing in Johnstown. Flynn elaborates:

Adams, a first-generation Haitian American tackles Missing White Girl syndrome as her narrator, a Black woman in a largely white town, reluctantly returns home for her best friend’s wedding, only to have her goddaughter go missing. As she tries to find the girl, she begins to unravel the town’s history of missing or murdered Black girls over decades. It’s not just a haunting and involving thriller, it makes a statement about how racism filters down to even the people we focus on saving.

Gillian Flynn for Today

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

“Best Historical Fiction”

Image via Amazon

Calling all historical fiction fans, Gillian has a buzzworthy pick just for you! Hester is a beautifully crafted and widely insightful origin story about the woman who inspired Nathanial Hawthorne’s famous novel, The Scarlet Letter. We follow seamstress Isobel Gamble, who sets sail from Scotland with her husband, Edward, in the early 1800s. Upon reaching America, she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, which sets the stage for an immersive examination of art and desire. Flynn details:

Like the greatest historical fiction, it manages to make you believe utterly in its narrator, feel entirely that this story is real, and ground you in the day to day of a bustling 19th century world that promises the freedom of America while exacting its horrific steep price on the Native Americans it destroys, the slaves it brings in chains, and the women it crushes.

Gillian Flynn for Today

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

“What Gillian Is Reading”

Image via Amazon

Gillian Flynn has high praise for her current fall read, Shrines of Gaiety. She calls Kate Atkinson “one of the best writers working today, anywhere in the world.” The author’s newest release takes readers to Jazz Age London, where historically-inspired protagonist Nellie Coker is running a nightclub empire. However, Nellie’s success breeds a slew of enemies, which fuel this glittering and gutsy Roaring Twenties tale. One which undoubtedly cements Atkinson as a premier historical fiction talent.

Atkinson simply has a magician’s ability to switch a readers’s moods within a few paragraphs, and as dark as her stories can get, within them always shines a beacon of humanity.

Gillian Flynn for Today

For more on Gillian Flynn’s thriller writing, click here. For more fall book recommendations, click here.