Way too many fantastic books are out this month, so to help you narrow down to only the best, here are my March fiction and nonfiction picks.
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
A riveting medieval mystery from the critically acclaimed writer of The Wilderness. In 15th century Somerset, when a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide, or murder? Harvey artfully blends history and suspense in this elegantly poetic novel.
Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block
Oliver Loving lies wordless and paralyzed at Crockett State Assisted Care Facility, the fate of his mind unclear. This heart-wrenching story explores the long term consequences of a school shooting on a family and community. Urgent, profound and intricately plotted, this novel examines family ties, lost youth, and the psychological trauma of a tragedy.
Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton
This assured debut combines the eccentricity of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with the bizarre melancholy of Grief is the Thing with Feathers. Our depressed narrator embarks on a mental road trip with his spirit guide Jon Bon Jovi in this weird and wonderful debut which manages to be witty, gut wrenching, and immersive in equal parts.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
True crime fans will love this gripping account of the chilling crimes of the Golden State Killer, serial rapist turned murderer, in California during the mid 1970s and ’80s. With an introduction by Gillian Flynn and and an afterword by the late writer’s widower, comedian Patton Oswalt, this dark, compulsively readable book blends memoir and reportage.
Overland by Graham Rawle
Graham Rawle, the talented writer-artist, is back with another innovative work that fearlessly experiments with form and style. Written in a landscape format, the book takes place in two worlds—the Over and the Under. This surreal and fantastical world hovers above California in 1942. Overland is intricate,playful and vigorous—an experience to relish.
Two Houses by Fran Cooper
I loved Fran’s debut, so was keenly anticipating her next novel and was not disappointed with this atmospheric thriller. Jay and Simon are a London couple who move to a remote Yorkshire mansion known as Two Houses—a house with a haunting past. Compelling and evocative, this is a captivating character-driven novel.
The Book of Chocolate Saints by Jeet Thayil
The latest work from the Man Booker Prize–shortlisted writer is an ambitious, richly imagined novel that attempts to reconstruct the life and times of forgotten modernist Bombay poets.
The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
This urgently relevant memoir of a third-generation Mexican American writer’s experience working for the United States Border Patrol is unnervingly prescient. Chilling and eye-opening, it sheds light on the harrowing violence and human rights violations that take place every day on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
This spectacular literary saga is about four siblings who find out exactly when they are going to die and the impact this knowledge has on their lives. Spanning several decades, this is a heartfelt inquisition of grief, mortality, and faith. Based on an intriguing concept, The Immortalists will make you contemplate big questions about free will and fate.
Lost and Found by Jules Montague
Fans of Henry Marsh and Atul Gawande will cherish this fascinating insight into how our sense of self and personality changes after losing pieces of our mind. An accomplished neurologist, Jules provides answers to intriguing questions about the metaphysics of the mind by focusing on a range of neurological disorders ranging from consciousness and sleep disorders to dementia.