Nick is a former writer, who ends up owning a bar and working as a college professor after he is laid off from his job. He grew up in Missouri and returns there prior to the start of the novel to support his sister Margo in caring for their terminally-ill mother, and mentally-ill father. Nick is thirty-four at the start of the novel, and struggles with feelings of failure and inadequacy. He is haunted by his abusive, misogynist father and his parents' unhappy marriage, and disappointed in how his own marriage has turned out. Nick tends to impulsively say the wrong thing, or end up being perceived unfavourably, which gets him into trouble during the investigation. Over the course of the novel, he becomes much better at lying, keeping secrets, and scheming, ironically becoming more and more like his wife.
Amy Elliott Dunne
Amy grew up in New York, the only child of two wealthy child psychologists. She has always had a slight celebrity status as the inspiration for the popular children's book series Amazing Amy. She completed a Master's Degree in Psychology and had a job writing personality quizzes until she was laid off. Amy is incredibly deceitful, manipulative, and intelligent; she can develop complex and difficult plans and carry them out in order to get what she wants and punish others. She is capable of violence and lying, and appears to feel little remorse or compassion. She relies on the fact that she is beautiful and charismatic to ensure sympathy and the ability to get what she wants.
Desi attended the same prep school as Amy and they briefly dated. He was deeply in love with her and Amy has told stories that he stalked her and made her frightened of him. In reality, she is confidently able to manipulate him. Desi is very wealthy and has a close, possibly psychologically unhealthy, relationship to his mother. He is also obsessed with Amy and has been planning and hoping for their eventual reunion for years; his idea of her does not actually reflect who she is. When Desi becomes too controlling after Amy moves into his lake house, she seduces, drugs, and kills him.
Margo "Go" Dunne
Margo is the twin sister of Nick. Like her brother and Amy, she also had a prestigious New York career which collapsed, after which she returned to Missouri, and now works at the bar with Nick. She has never liked or trusted Amy; during the investigation, she is very supportive of her brother, even though she does have doubts about his innocence. She eventually comes to believe him and believe that Amy is framing him.
Rand and Marybeth Elliott
Rand and Marybeth are Amy's father and mother; they are both child psychologists. Prior to Amy's birth, they endured a long series of miscarriages and stillbirths. They are doting parents to their only child, but they also have very high expectations of her. Together, they co-author a popular series of children books about a character named Amazing Amy. They are initially very wealthy, but they gradually experience financial difficulties and end up borrowing a substantial amount of money from Amy's trust fund.
Tanner is a defense attorney who primarily defends husbands accused of killing their wives. Nick hires him when he finally recognizes that he is going to be charged with Amy's murder. Nick confides his belief that Amy has orchestrated her disappearance and is framing him. Bolt is disbelieving at first, but eventually comes to trust Nick, and helpfully coaches Nick to help restore his reputation.
Detective Rhonda Boney
Detective Rhonda Boney is in charge of Amy’s disappearance case. She is at first very suspicious of Nick and harsh with him, but gradually comes to believe in his innocence, and that Amy's account of what happened to her is suspicious.
Officer James Gilpin
Detective Boney’s partner, he also investigates Amy's case. He is suspicious of what role Nick may have played in his wife's disappearance.
Ellen Abbott is an ex-prosecuting attorney turned talk show host, who focuses on the stories of women who have been killed, abused, and kidnapped. Her coverage of Amy's disappearance further hurts Nick's public appearance since she accuses him, and believes he had something to do with Amy's disappearance.
Andie Hardy is a twenty-three-year-old college student who takes Nick’s creative writing class at the community college, and subsequently becomes his mistress.
Nick and Amy’s pregnant neighbor, she considers herself to be Amy’s best friend. Noelle reveals to Nick during Amy’s candlelight vigil that his wife was pregnant with his child. Noelle does not know, however, that Amy staged the friendship and also stole Noelle's urine in order to fake her pregnancy.
Greta and Jeff
Greta and Jeff are also staying at the cabins in the Ozarks where Amy hides out. They strike up a friendship, but then betray Amy when they steal the money Amy has been hiding and using to cover her expenses while she hides out.
Sharon Schieber is a network TV host that gives Nick an interview where he tries to do damage control after his affair with Andie is revealed. This interview persuades Amy to escape from Desi and return to Nick.
Maureen was Nick and Margo’s mother. Amy refers to her as "Mo" or "Mama Mo." Maureen was a retired shoe saleslady, who had stage-four cancer that caused Nick to move back to North Carthage without consulting Amy. She dies prior to Amy's disappearance.
Bill Dunne was Nick and Margo’s father, who suffered from Alzheimer's. He was a misogynistic man that referred to all women as “dumb bitches” regardless of their intellect. His attitude and perspective left deep emotional scars on Nick.
Shawna Kelly is a search volunteer who tries to help find Amy, but is actually more concerned with hooking up with Nick instead of finding Amy. Her flirting leads to Nick being negatively perceived, and when he is not receptive enough to her advances, she begins implying that she thinks he might be involved in Amy's disappearance.
Nick’s alcoholic neighbor, he is the one to phone the morning Amy disappears to tell Nick that his front door is wide open.
Tommy O’Hara is Amy’s ex-boyfriend, whom she dated around the time that she met Nick. Nick and others have always been told that Tommy date raped Amy. However, when Nick consults Tommy, after becoming suspicious of his wife, Tommy explains that Amy went to great lengths to fake having been raped.
Desi Collings’ mother, who looks exactly like Amy, she is very protective of her son. She never believes that he abducted Amy, insisting that Amy was responsible for murdering him.
According to what Amy's parents and Nick know, Hillary was a former friend of Amy's who became an obsessed fan with violent tendencies. However, much like Tommy O'Hara, when Nick digs deeper into this story, he finds evidence that Amy was lying, since Hillary seems to be a perfectly normal woman who was misportrayed by Amy.
Rebecca is a writer for a crime blog who tries to pry information about the case from Nick/ He eventually drunkenly confides some of his suspicions to her, furthering his negative representation in the media.
Gone Girl Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Gone Girl is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.