Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back On Murder

Author: J. Mark Bertrand
Publisher: Bethany House
July 2010
ISBN 978-0-7642-0637-5
Genre: Fiction/Suspense

Objective justice is impossible to arrive at, given the circumstances. You know, the sin nature all of humanity inherits from Adam. That doesn’t stop Detective Roland March from striving for the impossible. While battling internal demons, dueling with matrimonial conflicts, and struggling to survive professional suicide (not to mention homicide), March displays moments of sheer brilliance counterpointed with instances of personal failure. Undeterred, Detective March manages to focus on the goal with a sniper’s intensity, and hangs on to every lead with a bulldog’s tenacity, avoiding potential landmines with the seasoned skill of a true professional. Once Roland March sinks his teeth into a case, there is no turning back.

In this volume, March’s quick wits and razor-sharp intuition serve him well. It’s a good thing, considering the obstacles that lie in his path: a depressed wife, a vindictive superintendent, and an entire Special Unit comprised of ruthless, dirty cops who have been chosen and groomed by an equally ruthless supervisor, who just happens to be the very one who hung March out to dry in the first place.

To balance the odds, March has a new partner who is arguably his equal in every aspect . . . and she’s a true believer. In her universe, nothing happens by accident. There are no coincidences.

And one more thing. March has a missing girl who is crying out for justice.

That pretty much settles the case, as far as Detective Roland March is concerned.

Because, March is BACK ON MURDER.

It took me a couple of tries to get into this book. However, Bertrand’s ability to breathe life (albeit gritty, realistic, sometimes emotionally chaotic life) into his characters drew me in, until I couldn’t put the book down. I found myself riding in the backseat as March and Cavallo (his new partner) “made the rounds,” if this phrase could be coined giving the situations they face. And ever present is March’s insistence upon justice being served; ever the “straight arrow,” March has high (though realistic) expectations for those around him, and even higher (sometimes unrealistic) expectations for himself.

If you pick up BACK ON MURDER with the intention of trying to “outwit” the author; with the intention of trying to figure out “whodunit,” you are going to be missing out on a wonderful story. 382 pages. $14.99 softcover

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