21 Suspenseful Books Like Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Books Like Girl With The Dragon

There are other gripping stories for readers who love suspenseful books like the girl with the dragon tattoo.

The famous Millennium series by Stieg Larsson has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide, introducing international audiences to Nordic crime fiction.  

Two of his Millennium novels (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) were nominated for the Glass Key Award, which recognizes the best crime fiction written by a Nordic author each year.  

And the series is so popular with fans and critics that author David Lagercrantz has written two additional Millennium novels featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.  

Furthermore, if you enjoy Larsson’s work, you should learn more about the genre. Nordic noir is known for authors who masterfully combine bleak landscapes with chilling crimes. 

It usually focuses on the impact of violence on otherwise peaceful communities. Well, some of the suspenseful and best books like girl with the dragon tattoo are;

1. Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn  

Nick and Amy Dunne celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on a hot summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri. Furthermore, when Nick’s brilliant and gorgeous wife disappears from their leased McMansion on the Mississippi River, presents are wrapped, and reservations are made.  

Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head. Still, Amy’s diary’s excerpt suggests the alpha-girl perfectionist could have set anybody dangerously on edge.  

Additionally, the town’s golden boy parades an endless succession of lies, deceptions, and inappropriate behavior under increasing pressure from the police and the media, as well as Amy’s adoring parents.

Meanwhile, Nick is strangely evasive, and he’s bitter—but is he a murderer? 

2. Faceless Killers

By Henning Mankell  

Faceless killers are one of the most suspense books like girl with the dragon tattoo. Inspector Kurt Wallander, a middle-aged detective who has since become the standard-bearer of Scandinavian crime protagonists, was introduced to the world in the first Glass Key winner.  

Faceless Killers takes place in a rural farmhouse, where an elderly couple is brutally abused, with the wife only able to utter one word before dying: “foreign.”

Additionally, Wallander tracks the case through the country’s dangerous combination of immigration, racism, and xenophobia with his characteristic bleak perseverance.  

Furthermore, Wallander is an instantly engaging character who anchors one of the most acclaimed Scandinavian noir series. He is perhaps too flawed to be labeled an “everyman,” but he makes for an instantly engrossing character. 

3. The Ice Princess

By Camilla Läckberg 

This absorbing and gripping mystery involving decades-old secrets and gruesome killings in a small Swedish fishing community is another Swedish crime-writing sensation.

Erica Falck returns to her small seaside town to discover that her childhood best friend has committed suicide.  

Additionally, Erika begins to uncover shocking events from her friend’s childhood with the help of police detective Patrik Hedström, which someone is willing to kill to keep hidden. 

4. The Snowman

By Jo Nesbo 

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo is also a fantastic book like girl with the dragon tattoo. Investigate Norwegian mystery fiction maestro Jo Nesb’s enormously successful series before Michael Fassbender stars as Harry Hole in a cinematic version in October.  

Furthermore, the Snowman is Nesb’s seventh novel featuring his inebriated, insubordinate, and clever investigator, yet it serves as an excellent introduction to the author’s frightening criminal universe.  

Meanwhile, Oslo is stalked by a serial killer, Norway’s first, whose victims vanish after the year’s first snowfall, only to be replaced by a snowman.  

However, the Snowman picks up the pace as the compulsive detective races to solve the case before another victim dies, making it more a psychological thriller than a procedural. 

5. The Girl On The Train

By Paula Hawkins 

Rachel takes the same commuter train to work every day. It will always wait at the same signal, overlooking a stretch of back yards, she knows.

She’s even begun to feel as though she knows the residents of one of the houses. She refers to them as “Jess and Jason.” Their lives are ideal, in her opinion. 

Nonetheless, only Rachel could be as content as that. Then she notices something startling. It’ll only be a minute until the train departs, but it’ll be enough. Everything has changed now.  

In addition, Rachel now has the opportunity to become a part of the lives she has only observed from afar. They’ll see now that she’s more than simply the train girl. 

6. Alias

By Brian Micheal Bendis, Micheal Gaydos, Bill Sienkiewicz  

Alias is also one of the most gripping suspenseful books like girl with the dragon tattoo. Rachel takes the same commuter train to work every day, and it will always wait at the same signal, overlooking a stretch of back yards, she knows.  

She’s even begun to feel as though she knows the residents of one of the houses. Additionally, she refers to them as “Jess and Jason.” Their lives are ideal, in her opinion.

If only Rachel could be as content like that. Then she notices something startling.  

It’ll only be a minute until the train departs, but it’ll be enough. Everything has changed now. However, Rachel now has the opportunity to become a part of the lives she has only observed from afar. They’ll see now that she’s more than simply the train girl. 

7. The Help

By Kathryn Stockett 

Skeeter, 22, has recently returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. Even though she has a degree, it is 1962 in Mississippi, and Skeeter’s mother will not be satisfied until she has a ring on her finger.  

Additionally, Skeeter would usually seek comfort from her loving maid Constantine, the lady who reared her. But Constantine has vanished, and no one would tell Skeeter where she is.  

Aibileen is a black maid who is parenting her seventeenth white child and is intelligent and regal. However, after her son’s death, as his superiors looked the other way, something inside her has transformed.  

Meanwhile, she is devoted to the young girl she looks after, even though she is aware that both of their hearts may be broken. 

8. Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow

By Peter Høeg  

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow is one of the most suspenseful books, like girl with the dragon tattoo. It is more of an international thriller than a hardboiled mystery, with a complicated plot based on the connected cultural histories of Denmark and Greenland.  

Furthermore, Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen, the unorthodox protagonist of this 1993 Glass Key Award winner, carries the weight of her complicated ancestry from a Greenlandic Inuit mother and a Danish father.  

Additionally, the death of a young neighbor’s kid forces Smilla, 37, to look past her loner tendencies and begin uncovering a decades-old plot.

Smilla’s uncanny understanding of ice and snow holds the answer to both the boy’s death and the enigmatic mystery that surrounds it. 

9. Night Film

By Marisha Pessl 

 Pick up this page if you liked Mikael Blomkvist. Scott McGrath, a renowned investigative journalist, stars in this twisting thriller. When McGrath attempted to expose reclusive cult-horror director Stanislas Cordova, his career was nearly destroyed.  

When his daughter Ashley Cordova appears to have committed herself, McGrath suspects foul play and launches an inquiry into Cordova’s bizarre, frightening world and doomed family lineage. 

10. White Heat

By M.J McGrath 

The white Heat is next on our list of most suspenseful books, like girl with the dragon tattoo. McGrath, a British novelist who writes about the Canadian Arctic, follows in the footsteps of Nordic crime writers by using the tundra as both a live character and a handy bleak setting for the death of a visiting tourist. 

Edie Kiglatuk, a half-Inuit, half-white hunter and guide, is an impressive figure who brings the deadly landscape to life. Kiglatuk is keen to solve the crime, while the Inuit elders (who already view her with mistrust) prefer to consider it an accident. A 

\dditionally, Resourceful and acutely sensitive to the land, Kiglatuk makes for an intuitive—and entertaining—investigator. 

11. The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold 

My last name was Susie, and my first name was Salmon, after the fish. On December 6, 1973, I was fourteen years old when I was murdered.”  

So starts the narrative of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven. Which is nothing like she expected while watching life on earth go on without her.  

Her friends exchanged rumors about her disappearance, her attacker attempting to cover his tracks, and her bereaved family unraveling. Furthermore, the Lovely Bones miraculously creates a story full of hope, comedy, tension, and even joy out of awful tragedy and loss. 

12. The Never List

By Koethi Zan 

The Never List is also one of the best books, like girl with the dragon tattoo. Since childhood, Sarah and Jennifer, closest friends, created a “Never List,” a set of rules supposed to keep them safe.  

When they breach the rules and accept a cab ride from a stranger, they are kidnapped and tortured for years in a cellar with two other girls.

In addition, Sarah is still trying to rebuild her life ten years after leaving and come to terms with the knowledge that Jennifer perished in that basement.  

Nevertheless, Sarah reunited with her fellow victims, each of whom has their grievances against her, to unearth new evidence to keep her kidnapper in prison. 

13. The Spellman Files

By Lisa Lutz 

The Spellmans are a high-functioning but highly dysfunctional private detective family. Izzy Spellman, twenty-eight years old, has a history of binge drinking, vandalism, and compromising others’ privacy.

However, when Izzy’s parents intrude on her privacy, she leaves the family business. But not before she takes on one last case: a cold, missing person case that turns out to be the most important case of her life. 

14. A Conspiracy of Faith

By Jussi Adler-Olsen  

A conspiracy of faith is next on our list of suspenseful books like girl with the dragon tattoo. Department Q is led by Copenhagen Detective Carl Merck, who digs through cold case files of unsolved crimes.  

Merck begins his Glass Key Award-winning third entry with a 13-year-old message discovered in a bottle, a call for aid written in blood, rather than an abandoned manila file folder.

Furthermore, the grumpy investigator usually approaches dark crimes with a detached sense of humor, but as the case progresses, it becomes evident that the perpetrator is still at large.  

Additionally, Adler-writing Olsen’s usually is thrilling, intelligent, and propelled by a rough-hewn protagonist. Still, A Conspiracy of Faith buzzes with an extra urgency that elevates the novel to the top of the series. 

15. The Unlucky Lottery

By Håkan Nesser  

Nesser, a Glass Key winner and three-time winner of the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award, is unique in that his stories are set entirely in a fictional world.

Madam, a mid-sized Northern European city, has elements of Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, although it has never been assigned to a particular country.  

Madam is shocked by the murder of an older man who had just won a small lottery prize in Chief Inspector Van Veeteren’s (and in this case, Inspector Münster’s) dreary world.  

Additionally, when the victim’s friend and a neighbor vanish, Münster is faced with a complicated issue that is practically empty of clues. With a lot more lurking beneath the surface. 

16. The Girl Who Danced With Death

By Sylvain Runberg, Belen Ortega 

The girl who danced with death is also one of the gripping stories books like girl with the dragon tattoo. Pick up an all-new adventure in graphic novel style if you can’t get enough of Lisbeth and Mikael.  

Lisbeth and her intrepid band of criminal hackers are planning to reveal the data of the Swedish secret agency. But when one of their members is kidnapped, they must seek Mikael’s help.  

Their research leads them deep into an underworld of intrigue and hatred, exposing a hidden group known only as “Sparta.” 

17. Red Wolf

On a dark, icy winter night, a journalist is assassinated in northern Sweden. Annika Bengtzon, a tabloid reporter, had planned to interview him about a long-ago crime at a neighboring airbase but now wonders if the two incidents are linked.  

However, as she begins to look into the case, a new string of murders occurs. Furthermore, Annika is convinced that her spouse is concealing something simultaneously. 

18. The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins 

Panem, a glittering Capitol encircled by twelve outlying districts, exists in the ruins of what was once known as North America. The Capitol is harsh and ruthless, compelling each community to send one boy and one girl between twelve and eighteen to compete in the annual Hunger Games, live-televised combat to the death.  

Furthermore, when sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games, she sees it as a death sentence.  

Additionally, on the other hand, Katniss has been close to death before, and survival is second nature to her. She becomes a competitor without even realizing it. However, if she wants to prevail, she’ll have to start weighing survival against humanity and life against love. 

19. The Dying Detective

By G.W.Persson 

The dying detective is also one of the books like girl with the dragon tattoo you would love to read. Lars Martin Johansson, the former chief of the Swedish National Criminal Police, comes upon one last case that he can’t let go of.  

However, following a stroke, the investigator praised his ability to “see around corners” and now work from a hospital bed. Additionally, the rape and murder of a teen girl is a 25-year-old cold case just beyond the statute of limitations. 

Furthermore, the novel (winner of the 2011 Glass Key Award) presents Johansson as a steadfast idealist, as committed in retirement as he was on the force, sentimental yet duty-bound to locate the perpetrator. 

20. Sharp Objects

By Gillian Flynn 

Journalist Camille Preaker is assigned to chronicle the killings of two young girls in her hometown after a brief spell in a psychiatric facility.

Additionally, this will need her to re-establish contact with her highly damaged mother, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, as well as her half-sister, whom she hardly knows. 

Furthermore, Camille, confronted with her problems, must untangle the terrible mysteries of her past to understand the story and survive this homecoming. 

21. The Laughing Policeman

By Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö  

Last on our list of suspenseful books like girl with the dragon tattoo, is the laughing policeman. Sjöwall and Wahlöö, pioneers of Nordic noir, published ten books featuring Stockholm detective Martin Beck between 1965 and 1975.  

The Laughing Policeman, the fourth book in the series, won the duo a Best Novel Edgar Award in the United States in 1971.

On a wet November night, as most of the city’s police force is busy with a Vietnam war protest, eight people are ruthlessly gunned down on a double-decker city bus.  

Another detective is among the dead, and as Beck investigates the gruesome crime, he’s able to begin unraveling the connections of previous offenses.

Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s writing style is alternately vivid, caustic, and matter-of-fact, and it’s a gripping style that keeps pages turning half a century later. 

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