5 Must-Read Novels in March

Craving suspense? Gripping plotlines, authentically chilling characters, unexpected twists, and a thrilling climax. Instead of rewatching your favorite thriller for the hundredth time, how about snuggling under the covers with these carefully selected new crime novels? Our recommendation: another mysterious tale from Stephen King, the latest thriller from Lisa Gardner, or Arnaldur Indridason's new work set in the heart of Île de Ré, signed by Philippe Besson


The First Investigation of Mysterious Frankie Elkin

Great Read: "Before Summer" by Lisa Gardner

For Whom? Fans of fast-paced investigations led by a strong-willed detective.

Synopsis: Welcome to Mattapan, a tough neighborhood in North Boston. Drug trafficking, counterfeit money, and identity forgery are everyday occurrences. Angelique Badeau, a young Haitian girl who arrived after the tsunami, mysteriously disappears. But why hasn't a serious, ambitious high school student, eager for a better life for herself and her little brother, returned home?

Frankie Elkin has made it her mission to find missing people abandoned by the police and their families. When she arrives in Boston, eleven months have passed since Angelique's disappearance. She reopens the case, faces opposition from the police, and distrust from the neighborhood, which disapproves of a white woman poking into their affairs.

Why You'll Love It: Lisa Gardner is a master of well-crafted thrillers. The author of "Save Your Skin" and "The House Next Door" skillfully highlights ultra-badass female protagonists. After Commander D.D. Warren and private detective Tessa Leoni, meet Frankie Elkin, a budding investigator specializing in cold cases involving minorities. The suspense builds, the book gets darker, and it's hard to put down. The best part? "Before Summer" is just the first installment in Frankie Elkin's series.


A Disappearance on Île de Ré

Great Read: "One Summer Evening" by Philippe Besson

For Whom? Nostalgic for the '80s, looking for a good crime novel reminiscent of good times.

Synopsis: "There was optimism, enthusiasm, cheerfulness. There was carelessness, indolence, a laissez-faire attitude, letting go." Why do stories have to end badly? Everything seemed perfect that summer: the warmth of the sun on the skin, the salty smell of the sea on wet swimsuits, the coolness of beer sipped after a day of doing nothing.

On the roads of Île de Ré, between Rivedoux and Saint Martin, Philippe Besson takes us through one of the most memorable moments of his adolescence. Philippe, childhood friend François, Christophe, Nicolas, Alice, and her brother Marc formed a group that seemed unshakeable. Except for the disappearance of one of them. That's when everything changes.

Why You'll Love It: Philippe Besson, known for "In the Absence of Men" and more recently "This is Not a Crime Story," delivers an almost autobiographical novel. Inspired by a true story from his vacations in the mid-'80s, the author captures moments of simplicity, narrates lazy summer days, and lets unease slowly settle in as the reader realizes that something serious is about to happen. With sensitivity, nostalgia, and melancholy, he takes us back to the '80s, those vacations, and the first stirrings of being 18.


A New Investigation into Madness for Stephen King

Great Read: "Holly" by Stephen King

For Whom? Fans of horror and psychological thrillers that send shivers down the spine.

Synopsis: Nothing is more malevolent than what could actually happen. In this tale set during the coronavirus crisis, reality is almost scarier than fiction. Welcome to the Harris family, an octogenarian couple and former university professors—one in biology and the other in literature. Emily and Rodney are enjoying their retirement when mysterious disappearances of young people occur in their neighborhood.

When Bonnie Dahl's bicycle is found, investigator Holly Gibney agrees to come out of retirement to ensure justice is served. Little does she know that she will delve into the darkest depths of human madness. What unspeakable secrets do the walls lined with books of the Harris couple hide? Don't be fooled; the criminals are revealed in the first pages. What interests our horror king is the power of human insanity.

Why You'll Love It: After hundreds of horror novels, short stories, and other horror tales, the supernatural king completely abandons the fantastical and delivers a pure detective novel. We're delighted to see Holly, a recurring heroine from the Hodges trilogy and also present in "The Outsider." While the writer seems to borrow his tone from young adult novels, the targeted reader is quite different: Stephen King enjoys depicting our society in its total horror. And the only conclusion is this: after so many years, Stephen King has continued to stimulate his overflowing imagination and continues to take us on journeys through his brilliant mind.


A (Very) Dark Novel in Iceland

Great Read: "The Outcasts" by Arnaldur Indridason

For Whom? Fans of historical crime novels with a simultaneously detestable and ultra-appealing investigator.

Synopsis: In previous episodes... Konrad is a retired inspector unable to stop poking his nose into criminal cases that his former colleagues continue to handle. It's in his blood! When a widow discovers a mysterious revolver among her late husband's belongings and takes it to the police, they quickly discover that it was used in a crime committed years ago in 1955. Inspector Konrad gets involved: this weapon worries him, the crime was never solved, and he is convinced he saw this gun in his father's hands.

In his brilliant mastery of suspense, Arnaldur Indridason takes us between past and present, lulling our vigilance to uncover the culprits. The best part? The historical aspect of this noir novel, as beyond a well-executed investigation, the author describes the dark period Iceland went through after the war when the rural and poor island abruptly entered modernity, and the Americans set up a military base.

Why You'll Love It: Arnaldur Indridason, the renowned Icelandic author, delivers the fifth volume of his Konrad series, including the excellent "The Wall of Silence." Sensitive souls, beware! Difficult living conditions, corruption, violence, abuse, zero tolerance for homosexuals, traumas, and memories impossible to forget... Throughout the investigations, the author doesn't hesitate to depict truly atrocious villains, portray Icelandic society in its darkest form, and address resolutely sordid themes.


A House of Horror in Japan

Great Read: "The Black House" by Yûsuke Kishi

For Whom? Fans of crime novels looking for a story that stands out.

Synopsis: Shinji Wakatsuki is the model employee of an insurance agency in Kyoto. His role? Tirelessly track inconsistencies in death certificates; many policyholders are willing to make false statements for compensation. When contacted by Shigenori Komoda for an assessment at his house, he has no idea that this case would lead him to the depths of the human soul's darkness.

On-site, he discovers the body of a twelve-year-old swinging at the end of a rope. While his logic suggests suicide, his instinct tells him that something else happened in this gloomy home where the smell of death lingers. Haunted by an intimate tragedy resurfacing from his childhood, exhausted by frightening nightmares, imbued with a madness that builds up, Shinji finds himself trapped in an unhealthy spiral.

Why You'll Love It: Yûsuke Kishi had already made an impression with "Lesson of the Evil," in which, like here, he delves into the horrors and joys of the human psyche, with a cynical view of Japanese society. In this jubilant and cynical thriller, the author ventures into (very) visual gore. In the heart of this horror house, he immerses his reader in a dark fog, emerging only with a truth he would have preferred not to know. Brilliant!

And Also...


Whispers by Ashley Audrain

There's Aiden and Blair, Rebecca and Ben, Whitney and Jacob. All are married, all live in this newly chic and residential American suburb, all have secrets. How did this child fall out of the window? Why does this neighbor barely make it into the absent neighbors' house? The mystery thickens, the suspense intensifies, and discomfort sets in until the final resolution. In a very "Desperate Housewives" vibe, Ashley Audrain explores maternal bonds, violence, and the secrets of mothers willing to do anything for their children.


Without Leaving an Address by Pierre Molina

Haunted by the buried secrets of his family, Nicolas Verlet leads an existence filled with questions, especially about the mysterious departure of his mother when he was very young. What really happened that day? Through his story, the back and forth between the 1970s and the search for an explanation by an adult and neglected Nicolas, we discover the various manipulations that marked his history. The characters are deep, the tension palpable: this brilliant crime novel is expertly led by Pierre Molina, who delivers his first novel with fluid and immersive narration, immersing us in an enchanting atmosphere at the heart of a dark and captivating story.


A journey to the heart of the golden age of French fashion

Haute Couture. Une vie aux côtés des plus grands couturiers. de Colette Maciet

The Good Read: "Haute Couture: A Life Alongside the Greatest Couturiers" by Colette Maciet

For Whom? Fashionistas hungry for secrets about the world of fashion.

The Pitch: Paris, 1960s. Welcome to the elegant world of Parisian fashion. Colette Maciet was only 14 when she started learning the ropes, moving from workshops to workshops before becoming a premier atelier at 30. She then became the indispensable seamstress for the greatest designers such as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Nina Ricci... An extraordinary destiny!

In an incredible journey filled with nostalgia, Colette Maciet immerses us in the heart of the golden age of French fashion. She witnesses this society in full transformation, becoming its confidante and knowing all its secrets, geniuses, flaws, splendor, and decadence. She also describes what her profession was like, from sketching to fittings to meetings with the creators. A captivating narrative!

Why You'll Love It: After four decades of loyal service to the most prestigious French haute couture houses, Colette Maciet delivers a precious testimony of this unique universe. She pays homage to all those unsung heroes, the skilled hands behind the fame of great designers. The cherry on top? Inès de la Fressange's touch, who brilliantly writes a preface worthy of such a story.

Also, check out 12 love novels to read at least once in your life and the 5 good novels of February.

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