Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl — first a novel, now a buzzy movie starring Ben Affleck, in theaters Oct. 3 — is not easy to describe: You’ll start with, “It’s about a husband whose wife goes missing,” and end up with, “It’s an acid-tongued exploration of modern American intimacy, and the fictions we create between one another to support that.” Part thriller, part meta-thriller and part domestic drama, Gone Girl is hard to shake — even after you’ve resolved its many mysteries.

Flynn’s got two other novels under her belt — both worthy works — but neither that are anything near her breakthrough. For that, we recommend these:

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