CBTB’s Recommended March 2018 Releases
This March is absolutely brimming with fantastic new crime fiction! From dark and gripping Nordic Noir to twisty and unputdownable psychological thrillers to a story exploring female friendship set in Morocco, there’s truly a little something for everyone releasing this month. It’s going to be hard to top this month’s stellar lineup - so grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a rundown of the best crime fiction releasing in March 2018!
Catch Up on my 2018 Recommended Releases lists here:
CBTB’s Recommended March 2018 Releases
★ Top March Release Recommendation: THE SANDMAN by Lars Kepler ★
Knopf; March 6, 2018
My Quick Thoughts: Whenever I read a crime book, I tend to have this internal dialogue going - I’m constantly trying to assess not only how much I’m liking the book, but also what kind of reader I’d recommend the book to. All of this went to the wayside while I read Lars Kepler’s brilliant book THE SANDMAN. I had no time to think about these various qualifications because I was too busy just loving the read. Whether you’re a fan of Nordic Noir or have never read a Scandinavian crime novel in your life, you’ll find so much to love here—from the book’s breakneck pacing and short chapters to its vivid and richly-developed characters. Kepler (a pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing duo) has simply nailed it. This is book four in the Joona Linna series, but it’s the first to be re-translated and published by Knopf here in the US - the earlier three books in the series will be released over the course of the year! I read this as a stand-alone and it works perfectly. Bonus: once you fall in love with this world, you’ll have three more Kepler releases to look forward to in the coming months!
*Disclaimer: I now work for Knopf. I read and reviewed THE SANDMAN while still employed elsewhere. All opinions my own.
Plot Details: Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier, he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden's most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman. Years ago, Detective Inspector Joona Linna made an excruciating personal sacrifice to ensure Jurek's capture. He is keenly aware of what this killer is capable of, and now he is certain that Jurek has an accomplice. He knows that any chance of rescuing Mikael's sister depends on getting Jurek to talk, and that the only agent capable of this is Inspector Saga Bauer, a twenty-seven-year-old prodigy. She will have to go under deep cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is imprisoned, and she will have to find a way to get to the psychopath before it's too late--and before he gets inside her head.
TANGERINE by Christine Mangan
Ecco; March 27, 2018
My Quick Thoughts: This is an impeccable, tightly-wound suspense novel for fans of Gillian Flynn, Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock. TANGERINE is such a strong read, in fact, it’s hard to believe it’s actually a debut novel - but it is! Set against the backdrop of 1950’s Morocco, this vivid story hums with the tension and vitality of its characters and its location. Readers are swept up in the (potentially toxic) friendship between two women who find themselves caught in a taut web of past secrets that refuse to stay buried. These interpersonal tensions play out against the backdrop of Tangier, a place that Mangan has visited herself on numerous occasions and now portrays with lifelike clarity in her debut suspense novel. Pick this book up for its gorgeous cover; stay for its totally immersive storytelling—there is so much to love here. TANGERINE has received simply outstanding praise, and it’s totally deserving of all of it! This book hits that sweet spot between just-a-bit literary fiction and tense, page-turning interpersonal suspense.
Plot Details: The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney
Flatiron; March 13, 2018
My Quick Thoughts: It’s been a while since I read a psychological thriller that delivered on its promised “shocks” and “twists” as well as did SOMETIMES I LIE. This book is just plain fun to read: it’s totally engrossing, utterly unputdownable popcorn-reading material! Feeney has woven a story that stands up to the big-name psychological thrillers we all know so well (The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and Behind Closed Doors - just to name a few!) If you’re looking for a book in that vein, this simply must be your next read. What makes SOMETIMES I LIE unique? In the present day, the main character of the book is in a coma, and readers are privy to her perspective as she lies in her hospital bed, unable to communicate with the outside world, trying to make sense of what happened to her. Meanwhile, in the past, we follow the events leading up to the accident that caused her coma. This balance makes for a tense, page-turning read—and a welcome and unique angle on the unreliable narrator stories we've all become so familiar with. I absolutely loved this one and am confident it will be right up your alley if you’re looking for something just plain fun to devour.
Plot Details: My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?
THE BROKEN GIRLS by Simone St. James
Berkley; March 20, 2018
My Quick Thoughts: Whenever I see a crime novel with a supernatural element in it, I tend to pause. I’m just not normally a fan of crime fiction with ghost-y twists… except, apparently, when it comes to THE BROKEN GIRLS. Half boarding school + ghost-y mystery, half unveiling of past secrets, THE BROKEN GIRLS is all-around engaging and engrossing. I absolutely loved the way the author weaves together a mystery involving both a boarding school and a ghost story—something about the combination of a rural Vermont school with its very own ghost was just so easy to get swept up in. What really made this book work for me was the fact that the ghost was an accessory to the story’s central plot, not an explanation for it—I really need my crime fiction grounded in reality, and the fact that this story’s ghost just helped to add atmosphere rather than acting as the solution to the story’s crime made this a ghost story I could work with. Plus, who doesn’t love a good boarding school mystery? Simone St. James’ book is another page-turner, and one that will give you some goosebumps in the process, too!
Plot Details: Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears...
Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.
When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won't be silenced…
Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any of these already? I’d love to hear from you! Xx A