Oh my goodness! I loved this book. I’d heard enough about Mark’s writing ahead of time to suspect I would like it, but I’m always skeptical when starting a book by a new author. Back on Murder blew me away — and was a book that Eric really enjoyed, too. As I tried to think about who he reminded me of, the only Christian author I could think of is Brandt Dodson. Both write hard-boiled detective novels with flawed but potentially redeemable heroes. Brandt’s characters tend to be private detectives while Mark’s hero is a Houston PD detective.
When you pick up this book, prepare to be transported into Houston’s muggy underworld as the police are called to the scene of a multiple homicide. The incident seems to have all the hallmarks of a drug war related hit, but Roland March notices something at the scene the other detectives miss that makes him convinced there are more victims than bodies and that this case can be his ticket into the good graces of his captain. The book follows the investigation through it’s many twists and layers, but also peels back to the inner layers of this man and all that’s going on at home and inside his head and heart. There are no easy answers, and there are no quick solutions. There isn’t even an easy redemption, and that’s what makes this story work so well. Instead, March takes incremental steps in all areas of his life: literally one step forward and two steps back. This novel is a perfect crime read for those who like their detective stories with all the grit of real life.
Even though I anticipated a couple twists, this book gets two thumbs up from me and from Eric.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out.
A missing girl. A corrupt investigation. They thought they could get away with it, but they forgot one thing:
Roland March is BACK ON MURDER…
Houston homicide detective Roland March was once one of the best. Now he’s disillusioned, cynical, and on his way out. His superiors farm him out on a variety of punishment details. But when he’s the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he’s given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he’s transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlight–the disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist’s teen daughter.
All he has to do? Find the missing teenage daughter of a Houston evangelist that every cop in town is already looking for. But March has an inside track, a multiple murder nobody else thinks is connected. With the help of a youth pastor with a guilty conscience who navigates the world of church and faith, March is determined to find the missing girls while proving he’s still one of Houston’s best detectives.
Battling a new partner, an old nemesis, and the demons of his past, getting to the truth could cost March everything. Even his life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.
Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead. Besides his personal website, visit his Crime Genre website at http://www.crimegenre.com/.
The next book in this series, Pattern Of Wounds will come out in the summer of 2011.