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The Next Gone Girl

By 49thShelf
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Some Can-Lit contenders for follow-up reads to Gillian Flynn's bestseller. Alternative title for this list: The Secret Lives of Secretive Wives
The Keys of My Prison

The Keys of My Prison

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

That Rafe Jonason's life didn't end when he smashed up his car was something of a miracle; on that everyone agreed. However, the devoted husband and pillar of the community emerges from hospital a very different man. Coarse and intolerant, this new Rafe drinks away his days, showing no interest in returning to work. Worst of all, he doesn't appear to recognize or so much as remember his loving wife Julie. Tension and suspicion within the couple's Rosedale mansion grow after it is learned that Ra …

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The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door

edition:Paperback

An instant New York Times and Globe and Mail bestseller. Look out for Shari Lapena's next thriller, A Stranger in the House, coming August 2017.
"Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. The Couple Next Door lingers long after you turn the final page." —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fool Me Once

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal and the secrets between husbands and wives.  …

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Excerpt

Anne reaches clumsily for her cell phone on the dining table and checks the time. It is almost one o’clock in the morning. She’d checked on the baby at midnight. Marco had gone to check on her at twelve thirty. Then he’d gone out for a cigarette on the back patio with Cynthia, while Anne and Graham sat rather awkwardly at the littered dining table, making stilted conversation. She should have gone out to the backyard with them; there might have been a breeze. But she hadn’t, because Graham didn’t like to be around cigarette smoke, and it would have been rude, or at least inconsiderate, to leave Graham there all alone at his own dinner party. So for reasons of propriety, she had stayed. Graham, a WASP like herself, is impeccably polite. Why he married a tart like Cynthia is a mystery. Cynthia and Marco had come back in from the patio a few minutes ago, and Anne desperately wants to leave, even if everyone else is still having fun.

She glances at the baby monitor sitting at the end of the table, its small red light glowing like the tip of a cigarette. The video screen is smashed—she’d dropped it a couple of days ago and Marco hadn’t gotten around to replacing it yet—but the audio is still working. Suddenly she has doubts, feels the wrongness of it all. Who goes to a dinner party next door and leaves her baby alone in the house? What kind of mother does such a thing? She feels the familiar agony set
in—she is not a good mother.

So what if the sitter canceled? They should have brought Cora with them, put her in her portable playpen. But Cynthia had said no children. It was to be an adult evening, for Graham’s birthday. Which is another reason Anne has come to dislike Cynthia, who was once a good friend—Cynthia is not baby-friendly. Who says that a six-month-old baby isn’t welcome at a dinner party? How had Anne ever let Marco persuade her that it was okay? It was irresponsible. She wonders what the other mothers in her moms’ group would think if she ever told them. We left our six-month-old baby home alone and went to a party next door. She imagines all their jaws dropping in shock, the uncomfortable silence. But she will never tell them. She’d be shunned.
She and Marco had argued about it before the party. When the sitter called and canceled, Anne had offered to stay home with the baby—she hadn’t wanted to go to the dinner anyway. But Marco was having none of it.

“You can’t just stay home,” he insisted when they argued about it in their kitchen.

“I’m fine staying home,” she said, her voice lowered. She didn’t want Cynthia to hear them through the shared wall, arguing about going to her party.

“It will be good for you to get out,” Marco countered, lowering his own voice. And then he’d added, “You know what the doctor said.”

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Beware That Girl

Beware That Girl

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

From Governor General award-winner Teresa Toten comes a powerful and twisted psychological thriller that will rightly draw comparisons to We Were Liars and Gone Girl. Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.
The Haves. The Have Nots. Kate O'Brien appears to be a Have Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she's had to snake her way out of--some more sinister than others. But she's determined to change that. She's book smart. She's street-smart. And she's …

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One Hit Wonders

One Hit Wonders

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : black humor, crime

LIla is dead. And the likely suspects are all men: her flash-in-the-pan literary husband, a washed up golf pro turned criminal with a cocaine habit, and two small-time thugs looking for the perfect score. As a crime novel for a new age, this is sex, drugs, and a story that unfolds as a map of bad intentions. In One Hit Wonders, Patrick Warner weaves an energetic tale that is part caper and partmurdermystery—relentlessly satiric, brutally funny, and obsessively readable

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Still Mine

Still Mine

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Paperback

The Girl on the Train meets The Silent Wife in this taut psychological thriller.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU VANISH FROM YOUR LIFE AND LEAVE NO STORY BEHIND?

SOMEONE WILL MAKE ONE UP FOR YOU.

Clare is on the run.

From her past, from her husband, and from her own secrets. When she turns up alone in the remote mining town of Blackmore asking about Shayna Fowles, the local girl who disappeared, everyone wants to know who Clare really is and what she’s hiding. As it turns out, she’s hiding a lot, …

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Excerpt

Still Mine

With the moonless sky, Clare doesn’t see the mountains closing in. But then the road begins to rise and she knows she’s driving through the foothills, then come the switchbacks and the hum and pop in her ears, and finally the peaks and shadows, blank spots in the ceiling of stars. By dawn the mountains crowd the long vista of her rearview mirror, she is deep among them, and Clare guesses she’s covered nearly six hundred miles since sunset.

Drive west into the mountains, Malcolm said. Then cut north to Blackmore.

Clare climbs one last hairpin turn before signs of life pepper the roadside, peeling billboards first, then a scattering of ramshackle buildings. Her car lurches and revs, the ascent of this narrow road too much for its old engine. She passes a sign hammered right into rock: WELCOME TO BLACKMORE: ­POPULATION 2500, the word zero spray-painted across it in black. The road flattens out and Clare reaches the row of storefronts that marks the town proper. Most of them are shuttered with plywood, the main strip devoid of cars and people.

Beyond the lone stoplight Clare finds the motel. She turns in and parks. Weeds grow through cracks in the asphalt, the motel L-shaped and bent around an empty swimming pool, its neon sign unlit. The barrenness washes over Clare, eerie and surreal, like a movie set built and then abandoned. Panic cuts through her, a grip tight around her chest, the coffee she’d picked up at a gas station hours ago still whirring through her veins.

The folder Malcolm gave Clare sits on the passenger seat. She flips it open. On top is a news article dated ten days ago: “Blackmore Woman Missing Since Tuesday.” Next to the text is a grainy photograph of a gaunt and unsmiling woman named Shayna Fowles. Clare examines the photo. They are roughly the same age, their hair the same deep brown, their skin fair, alike in certain features only. Is she imagining the resemblance, imposing herself on this woman?

This is your job, Malcolm said. You will go to Blackmore. See what you can find.

The car fills with the dampness of the outside air. Clare leans back against the headrest and closes her eyes. She thinks of Malcolm across from her in that diner booth, sliding the folder over to her, his own meal untouched. She had wanted only to get away from him, and Blackmore was the option on offer. Now she must gather herself up, muster the nerve to introduce herself to strangers, tell them her name, or at least the name Malcolm chose for her. Clare grips the dewy handle of the car door and lifts her backpack. Though she hasn’t worn her wedding ring in months, her finger still bears its dent.

Time to go.

At the motel reception Clare rings the bell once, then again when no one comes. She can hear the muffled din of a TV. Behind the desk the room keys hang in a neat row. Black mold snakes around the windows and patches the carpet in the corners.

“Hello?” Clare’s voice barely rises above a whisper.

Nothing. In her exhaustion, Clare cannot decide what to do next. At dawn, she’d pulled in to a lakeside rest area, walking straight past the picnic tables and the outhouse, wading thigh deep into the lake, catatonic, transfixed by the vast, jagged landscape of snow-peaked mountains. A foreign land. She’d hoped to take a warm shower. Malcolm told her about this motel. Clare slams her hand down hard on the bell.

The door at the far end of the office opens. A man in his sixties peers through, wiping his mouth with a napkin.

“We look open to you?” He tosses the napkin over his shoulder.

“The door was unlocked.”

“We’re closed.”

The man is gray haired and rosy cheeked. An old family portrait hangs on the wall to his right, a younger version of him the beaming father to two red-haired boys, his hand resting proudly on his pretty wife’s shoulder.

“If the rooms are still standing,” Clare says, “maybe I could just—”

“I’m closed.”

Clare nods.

“I’ve never seen you before,” he says.

“I’ve never been here before.”

“You a reporter?”

“No.”

“A cop?”

“No. I’m not a cop. I’m just here to see the mountains.”

“Huh. Right.”

“I take pictures.”

“Pictures. Of what?”

“Landscapes, mostly. Anything off the beaten track.”

“No one around here likes getting their picture taken,” he says, his voice flat.

“Like I said. Landscapes. Not people.” Clare pauses. “Is there another place in town I could stay?”

“No.”

Clare gropes through her bag for her car keys. Just arrived and already she’s failed at her first task. This motel might have been busy once, when Blackmore was still a bustling mining town, when there were jobs for everyone, money to go around, people to visit. Maybe this man’s sons had been miners. Maybe they were underground five years ago when the mine blew up and killed three dozen of Blackmore’s men. Clare detects a slight softening in the motel owner, his shoulders relaxing. He peels himself off the wall and approaches the desk.

“We had a bad melt in the spring,” he says. “All twenty rooms flooded. I’ve barely had a customer in months. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t help you.”

“It’s okay,” Clare says. “I’ll figure something out.”

“There are plenty of mountain towns. You could pick another one.”

“I could,” Clare says.

Already her story feels like too much of a ruse, arriving in Blackmore alone and unannounced. On the drive she’d anticipated the questions the attendant just asked of her. Who are you? Why are you here? She’d rehearsed her answers. She and Malcolm had been hasty in picking photography as her cover, the one skill in her thin repertoire now ringing false on delivery. The attendant walks around and props the door open to usher her out.

“Turn around,” he says. “Drive back down the hill. That’s my advice.”

Clare retraces her steps to the car. The mountains are cloaked in low clouds, Blackmore’s main road fogged from view. She hears the bolt of the office door behind her. Clare knew full well the reception here would be cold. She grew up in a small town beset by the same woes as Blackmore. She remembers the way her neighbors closed rank when strangers turned up, all prying eyes unwelcome. Who knows what the motel owner sees when he looks at Clare? Maybe he knew Shayna Fowles, maybe his sons were friends with her. Maybe it rattles him, one woman gone missing and another turning up out of nowhere, a stranger in his midst.

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Captive

Captive

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : suspense, literary

In the spirit of Emma Donoghue’s international bestseller Room, Captive throws readers into the mind of a woman who wakes to find herself in a terrifying and surreal situation: she’s confined to a small grey room and she has no idea why she’s there.

Emma has an unremarkable life, a mundane job, and very little contact with her family and friends. Night after night she drinks to forget until one evening she’s jolted out of her routine. She wakes up in a concrete room furnished with only a …

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The Devil You Know
Why it's on the list ...
True, this novel is more in the vein of Gillian Flynn's first novel, Sharp Objects, than Gone Girl, but it's a book deserving of "the next Gone Girl" hype, plus the mother of the main character is a wife with a secret life of her own.
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Lady Oracle
Why it's on the list ...
Joan Foster is a wife on the run, having staged her own death in Toronto Harbour. The novel plots her next moves, but also delves into her childhood in Toronto and her secret success as a writer of Gothic romances.
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