23 Best Crime, Mystery And Thriller Books of March 2021

23 Best Crime, Mystery And Thriller Books of March 2022

Our list of best crime, mystery and thriller books of March 2022 includes highly-anticipated titles such as The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd as well as already bestselling titles like The Match by Harlan Coben.

These mystery and thriller books will surely bring joy to avid crime fiction and mystery readers. (Note: For our coverage of best crime, mystery, and thriller books in previous months, please visit here).

The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (March 1)

“The night was expected to bring tragedy.” So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers in recent years.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, more teenage employees are attacked at an ice cream store in the same town, and again only one makes it out alive.

In the aftermath of the latest crime, three lives intersect: the lone survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive the horrors of her tragedy; the brother of the fugitive accused, who’s convinced the police have the wrong suspect; and FBI agent Sarah Keller who must delve into the secrets of both nights—stirring up memories of teen love and lies—to uncover the truth about murders on the night shift.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.

Wild Irish Rose (A Molly Murphy Mystery) by Rhys Bowen; Clare Broyles (March 1)

New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen, now writing in partnership with her daughter, Clare Broyles, transports and enthralls readers through the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan. Wild Irish Rose is the next novel in this beloved mystery series, a cause for celebration for readers and critics alike.

New York, 1907: Now that she’s no longer a private detective—at least not officially—Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to a time of settled tranquility with friends and family. Back in New York, where her own story began, Molly decides to accompany some friends to Ellis Island to help distribute clothing to those in need. This journey quickly stirs up memories for Molly. When you’re far from home and see people from your country, every face looks like a family member.

That evening Molly’s policeman husband, Daniel, is late returning home. He comes with a tale to tell: there was a murder on Ellis Island that day, and the main suspect is the spitting image of Molly. The circumstances are eerily similar to when Molly herself arrived on Ellis Island, and she can’t help but feel a sense of fate. Molly was meant to be there that day so that she can clear this woman’s name.

The Choice by S.J. Ford (March 3)

When Jane Bell uncovered that her next-door neighbour planned to blow up their local primary school, she tried to get the police to listen to her. When they chose to do nothing, she took matters into her own hands.

Jane Bell saved the children. She is a hero. She stopped a terrorist attack. She murdered a man. Jane Bell committed a crime, and no matter what her reasons are surely she must face the legal repercussions of her actions.

Now several people follow Jane’s case, each with their own thoughts on what happened. Is Jane the hero or the villain? It’s up to you to decide.

Lock the Doors by Vincent Ralph (March 1)

A brand new addictive, psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of 14 WAYS TO DIE—for fans of Karen McManus, Holly Jackson, and Lisa Jewell.

Tom’s family have moved into their dream home. But pretty soon he starts to notice that something is very wrong—there are strange messages written on the wall and locks on the bedroom doors. On the OUTSIDE.

The previous owners have moved just across the road and they seem like the perfect family. Their daughter Amy is beautiful and enigmatic but Tom is sure she’s got something to hide. And he isn’t going to stop until he finds the truth behind those locked doors…Will their dream home become a nightmare?

Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson; Dolly Parton (March 7)

From America’s most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller—a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive.

Every song tells a story. She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past.

Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.  It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her.  And destroy her. Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire—a story that only America’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.

Shadows Reel by C. J. Box (March 8)

A day before the three Pickett girls come home for Thanksgiving, Joe is called out for a moose poaching incident that turns out to be something much more sinister: a local fishing guide has been brutally tortured and murdered.  At the same time, Marybeth opens an unmarked package at the library where she works and finds a photo album that belonged to an infamous Nazi official. Who left it there? And why?

She learns that during World War II, several Wyoming soldiers were in the group that fought to Hitler’s Eagles Nest retreat in the Alps—and one of them took the Fuhrer’s personal photo album. Did another take this one and keep it all these years?  When a close neighbor is murdered, Joe and Marybeth face new questions: Who is after the book? And how will they solve its mystery before someone hurts them…or their girls?

Meanwhile, Nate Romanowski is on the hunt for the man who stole his falcons and attacked his wife. Using a network of fellow falconers, Nate tracks the man from one city to another. Even as he grasps the true threat his quarry presents, Nate swoops in for the kill—and a stunning final showdown.

The Old Woman with the Knife by Gu Byeong-mo (March 8)

At sixty-five, Hornclaw is beginning to slow down. She lives modestly in a small apartment, with only her aging dog, a rescue named Deadweight, to keep her company. There are expectations for people her age—that she’ll retire and live out the rest of her days quietly. But Hornclaw is not like other people. She is an assassin.

Double-crossers, corporate enemies, cheating spouses—for the past four decades, Hornclaw has killed them all with ruthless efficiency, and the less she’s known about her targets, the better. But now, nearing the end of her career, she has just slipped up. An injury leads her to an unexpected connection with a doctor and his family. But emotions, for an assassin, are a dangerous proposition. As Hornclaw’s world closes in, this final chapter in her career may also mark her own bloody end.

A sensation in South Korea, and now translated into English for the first time by Chi-Young Kim, The Old Woman with the Knife is an electrifying, singular, mordantly funny novel about the expectations imposed on aging bodies and the dramatic ways in which one woman chooses to reclaim her agency.

The Darkest Place (A Robin Lockwood Novel) by Phillip Margolin (March 8)

Robin Lockwood is an increasingly prominent defense attorney in the Portland community. A Yale graduate and former MMA fighter, she’s becoming known for her string of innovative and successful defense strategies. As a favor to a judge, Robin takes on the pro bono defense of a reprehensible defendant charged with even more reprehensible crimes.

But what she doesn’t know—what she can’t know—is how this one decision, this one case, will wreak complete devastation on her life and plans. As she recovers from those consequences, Robin heads home to her small town of Elk Grove and the bosom of her family. As she tries to recuperate, a unique legal challenge presents itself—Marjorie Loman, a surrogate, is accused of kidnapping the baby she carried for another couple, and assaulting that couple in the process.

There’s no question that she committed these actions but that’s not the same as being guilty of the crime. As Robin works to defend her client, she learns that Marjorie Loman has been hiding under a fake identity and is facing a warrant for her arrest for another, even more serious crime. And buried within the truth may once again be unexpected, deadly consequences.

The Lightning Rod (A Zig & Nola Novel) by Brad Meltzer (March 8)

What’s the one secret no one knows about you?

Archie Mint has a secret. He’s led a charmed life—he’s got a beautiful wife, two impressive kids, and a successful military career. But when he’s killed while trying to stop a robbery in his own home, his family is shattered—and then shocked when the other shoe drops. Mint’s been hiding criminal secrets none of them could have imagined.

While working on Mint’s body before his funeral, mortician “Zig” Zigarowski discovers something he was never meant to see. That telling detail leads him to Mint’s former top secret military unit and his connection to artist Nola Brown. Two years ago, Nola saved Zig’s life—so he knows better than most that she’s as volatile and dangerous as a bolt of lightning.

Following Nola’s trail, he uncovers one of the U.S. government’s most intensely guarded secrets—an undisclosed military facility that dates back to the Cold War and holds the key to something far more sinister: a hidden group willing to compromise the very safety and security of America itself. Trouble always finds her…She’s the lightning rod.

Murder on Monte Vista by David S. Pederson (March 15)

It’s 1946, and on a hot spring night in Phoenix, Arizona, things are only beginning to heat up at the Monte Vista Road home of flamboyant decorator Walter Waverly Wingate.

Private detective Mason T. Adler isn’t thrilled to be turning fifty, and the party Walter throws him makes him even more uncomfortable. Walter has arranged a special birthday present for Mason: a private hour with the handsome, young Henry Bowtrickle in Walter’s upstairs bedroom. But the night turns deadly when his birthday gift turns up murdered. The room was locked, no way in or out, and only Henry and Mason were inside.

Mason Adler is on the case, but he is also a suspect, along with the other assorted party guests who were all downstairs at the time of the stabbing. Or were they?

The Bucharest Dossier by William Maz (March 15)

Bill Hefflin is a man apart—apart from life, apart from his homeland, apart from love

At the start of the 1989 uprising in Romania, CIA analyst Bill Hefflin—a disillusioned Romanian expat—arrives in Bucharest at the insistence of his KGB asset, code-named Boris. As Hefflin becomes embroiled in an uprising that turns into a brutal revolution, nothing is as it seems, including the search for his childhood love, which has taken on mythical proportions.

With the bloody events unfolding at blinding speed, Hefflin realizes the revolution is manipulated by outside forces, including his own CIA and Boris—the puppeteer who seems to be pulling all the strings of Hefflin’s life.

The Bourne Identity meets John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In from the Cold.

The Match by Harlan Coben (March 15)

After months away, Wilde has returned to the Ramapo Mountains in the wake of a failed bid at domesticity that confirms what he’s known all along: He belongs on his own, free from the comforts and constraints of modern life.

Suddenly, a DNA match on an online ancestry database brings Wilde closer to his past than he’s ever dreamed, and finally gives Wilde the opening he needs to track down his father. But meeting the man brings up more questions than answers. So Wilde reaches out to his last, most desperate lead, a second cousin who disappears as quickly as he resurfaces, having experienced an epic fall from grace that can only be described as a waking nightmare.

Was his cousin’s downfall a long time coming? Or was he the victim of a conspiracy as cunning as it is complex? And how does it all connect to the man once known as The Stranger, a treacherous fugitive with a growing following whose mission and methods have only turned more dangerous with time?

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd (March 15)

From the critically acclaimed author of The Book of M, a highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history

What is the purpose of a map? Nell Young’s whole life and greatest passion is cartography. Her father, Dr. Daniel Young, is a legend in the field and Nell’s personal hero. But she hasn’t seen or spoken to him ever since he cruelly fired her and destroyed her reputation after an argument over an old, cheap gas station highway map.

But when Dr. Young is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library, with the very same seemingly worthless map hidden in his desk, Nell can’t resist investigating. To her surprise, she soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and exceedingly rare. In fact, she may now have the only copy left in existence . . . because a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one—along with anyone who gets in the way.

But why? To answer that question, Nell embarks on a dangerous journey to reveal a dark family secret and discovers the true power that lies in maps.

Perfect for fans of Joe Hill and V. E. Schwab, The Cartographers is an ode to art and science, history and magic—a spectacularly imaginative, modern story about an ancient craft and places still undiscovered.

Murder at the Porte de Versailles by Cara Black (March 15)

November 2001: in the wake of 9/11, Paris is living in a state of fear. For Aimée Leduc, November is bittersweet: the anniversary of her father’s death and her daughter’s third birthday fall on the same day. A gathering for family and friends is disrupted when a bomb goes off at the police laboratory—and Boris Viard, the partner of Aimée’s friend Michou, is found unconscious at the scene of the crime with traces of explosives under his fingernails.

Aimée doesn’t believe Boris set the bomb. In an effort to prove this, she battles the police and his own lab colleagues, collecting conflicting eyewitness reports. When a member of the French secret service drafts Aimée to help investigate possible links to an Iranian Revolutionary guard and fugitive radicals who bombed Interpol in the 1980s, Aimée uncovers ties to a cold case of her father’s.

As Aimée scours the streets of the 15th arrondissement trying to learn the truth, she has to ask herself if she should succumb to pressure from Chloe’s biological father and move them out to his farm in Brittany. But could Aimée Leduc ever leave Paris?

The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis (March 15)

Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.

Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.

With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson (March 15)

Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke—until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.

First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they’re located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?

FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next.

Secret Identity by Alex Segura (March 15)

It’s 1975 and the comic book industry is struggling, but Carmen Valdez doesn’t care. She’s an assistant at Triumph Comics, which doesn’t have the creative zeal of Marvel nor the buttoned-up efficiency of DC, but it doesn’t matter. Carmen is tantalizingly close to fulfilling her dream of writing a superhero book.

That dream is nearly a reality when one of the Triumph writers enlists her help to create a new character, which they call “The Lethal Lynx,” Triumph’s first female hero. But her colleague is acting strangely and asking to keep her involvement a secret. And then he’s found dead, with all of their scripts turned into the publisher without her name. Carmen is desperate to piece together what happened to him, to hang on to her piece of the Lynx, which turns out to be a runaway hit. But that’s complicated by a surprise visitor from her home in Miami, a tenacious cop who is piecing everything together too quickly for Carmen, and the tangled web of secrets and resentments among the passionate eccentrics who write comics for a living.

Alex Segura uses his expertise as a comics creator as well as his unabashed love of noir fiction to create a truly one-of-a-kind novel–hard-edged and bright-eyed, gritty and dangerous, and utterly absorbing.

The Recovery Agent by Janet Evanovich (March 22)

Lost something? Gabriela Rose knows how to get it back. As a recovery agent, she’s hired by individuals and companies seeking lost treasures, stolen heirlooms, or missing assets of any kind. She’s reliable, cool under pressure, and well trained in weapons of all types. But Gabriela’s latest job isn’t for some bamboozled billionaire, it’s for her own family, whose home is going to be wiped off the map if they can’t come up with a lot of money fast.

Inspired by an old family legend, Gabriela sets off for the jungles of Peru in pursuit of the Ring of Solomon and the lost treasure of Lima. But this particular job comes with a huge problem attached to it—Gabriela’s ex-husband, Rafer. It’s Rafer who has the map that possibly points the way to the treasure, and he’s not about to let Gabriela find it without him.

Rafer is as relaxed as Gabriela is driven, and he has a lifetime’s experience getting under his ex-wife’s skin. But when they aren’t bickering about old times the two make a formidable team, and it’s going to take a team to defeat the vicious drug lord who has also been searching for the fabled ring. A drug lord who doesn’t mind leaving a large body count behind him to get it.

The Recovery Agent marks the start of an irresistible new series that will have you clamoring for more and cheering for the unstoppable Gabriela Rose on every page.

Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cranor (March 22)

Friday Night Lights gone dark with Southern Gothic; Eli Cranor delivers a powerful noir that will appeal to fans of Wiley Cash and Megan Abbott.

In Denton, Arkansas, the fate of the high school football team rests on the shoulders of Billy Lowe, a volatile but talented running back. Billy comes from an extremely troubled home: a trailer park where he is terrorized by his unstable mother’s abusive boyfriend. Billy takes out his anger on the field, but when his savagery crosses a line, he faces suspension.

Without Billy Lowe, the Denton Pirates can kiss their playoff bid goodbye. But the head coach, Trent Powers, who just moved from California with his wife and two children for this job, has more than just his paycheck riding on Billy’s bad behavior. As a born-again Christian, Trent feels a divine calling to save Billy—save him from his circumstances, and save his soul.

Then Billy’s abuser is found murdered in the Lowe family trailer, and all evidence points toward Billy. Now nothing can stop an explosive chain of violence that could tear the whole town apart on the eve of the playoffs.

WINNER OF THE PETER LOVESEY FIRST CRIME NOVEL CONTEST

Message Not Found by Dante Medema (March 29)

Bailey and Vanessa shared everything: laughter, secrets, and packets of Pop Rocks to ward off bad days. But that all changed the night Vanessa left Bailey’s, headed for home, and ended up swerving off a cliff nowhere near her house. Now Bailey, who thought she knew Vanessa better than anyone in the world, is left with a million unanswered questions, and the only person with answers is gone.

To help grieve her loss, Bailey creates a chat bot of Vanessa using years’ worth of their shared text messages and emails. The more data she uploads to the bot, the more it feels like she’s really talking to her best friend. That is, until the bot starts dropping hints that there was more going on with Vanessa than Bailey realized—a secret so big, it may have contributed to Vanessa’s death.

This compelling puzzle of a story, filled with engrossing twists and turns, is written in alternating prose and text message formats. Teens will gobble up this fast-paced page-turner.

The Resting Place by Camilla Sten (March 29)

Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety. It can make you question what you think you know.

When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer—and not knowing if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.

Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over fifty years.

Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline (March 29)

Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.

Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization – and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs.

The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families.

Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.

Three Shots to the Wind by Sherry Harris (March 29)

Saloon owner Chloe Jackson appears to have a secret admirer. She’s pouring drinks at the Sea Glass Saloon in Emerald Cove when an airplane flies by above the beach with a banner reading I LOVE YOU CHLOE JACKSON. She immediately rules out Rip Barnett.

They are in the early stages of dating and no one has said the L word. Then a bouquet of lilacs—her favorite flower—is delivered to the bar, followed by an expensive bottle of her favorite sparkling wine. It couldn’t be . . .

Sure enough, her ex-fiancé from Chicago has flown down to Florida for an accountants’ convention. But is he trying to mix business with pleasure and win her back? Unfortunately he’s not in a hotel conference room, he’s floating facedown in the lake next to her house, clutching a photo of Chloe. Who murders an accountant on a business trip—it just doesn’t add up. When Rip becomes the prime suspect, Chloe is determined to find the secret murderer. But if she isn’t careful, it may be closing time and lights out for her.

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