Gone Girl is an example of mystery, suspense, and crime genres. A Reader's Digest review, for instance, notes that the book is "more than just a crime novel". The review goes on to describe Gone Girl as a "masterful psychological thriller" which offers "an astute and thought-provoking look into two complex personalities". A Chicago Tribune review notes that Gone Girl uses many of the devices common to thrillers—a cast of viable suspects, unfolding secrets, and red herrings. However, the novel does more with these devices than the thriller genre requires: "While serving their usual functions, they also do much more, launching us into an unnerving dissection of the fallout of failed dreams."
In her New York Times review, Janet Maslin also writes that the elements of Gone Girl that "sound like standard-issue crime story machinations" are not, because both narrators are also consummate liars and cannot be trusted to convey the truth about their own stories. Salon.com writes that Gone Girl has literary features that enhance the crime genre features, adding that Flynn is "kicking the genre into high gear". Flynn herself says that, in writing Gone Girl, she employed the mystery genre as a "thru-lane" to explore what she was really interested in: relationships.