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176 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Murder - Kindle Edition
1. Technical: This is the kind of book the Kindle was made for. The built in dictionary allowed me to quickly understand terms such as cocobolo and the note/bookmark feature allowed me to note/review my speculations on plots and twists.

2. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and its characters. Oddly enough, I was drawn to the folks that surround him more than I was...
Published on July 18, 2010 by Craig Thompson

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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A police procedural for the Christian market that ALMOST works
J. Mark Bertrand's _Back on Murder_ is a police procedural. It's also from a Christian publishing house. That the world is not filled to the brim with novels of that pedigree makes this first-time solo effort something of an anomaly in its respective categories. It also puts a lot of pressure on Bertrand to produce something worthy of each.

Houston police...
Published on October 21, 2012 by Daniel L Edelen


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviewing: Back On Murder by J. Mark Bertrand, February 14, 2011
By 
This review is from: Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery) (Paperback)
For some police officers the dead body is the end of the case. The search for the living is over and there is nothing left to do. For homicide detectives the body is the start. The dead body is the door opening on a case waiting to be solved. For Homicide Detective Ronald March, the results of a shootout in southwest Houston are his ticket back to fully functioning in Homicide and ending his exile of being farmed out on garbage details.

If he does not screw it up.

Since that fateful tragic day seven years ago, things have not been right personally or professionally. What happens over the next few weeks and months in the summer and fall of 2008 might be his last chance at everything.

A local loan shark by the name of Octavio Morales is dead as are several of his criminal associates. Detective March should not even be in the house surveying the carnage as he has fallen out of favor with his bosses. But, a house full of dead gang bangers brings out everyone and March couldn't stay away. It has been far too long since he last worked a real murder case and he burns with the need to work one. He surveys the scene and only March spots the evidence that indicates that a hostage was there and now is gone.

Despite the fact that he alone found the evidence, March is still locked into the bottom of the pecking order and wasting his time with crummy assignments. Whether it is the frequent sting operations enticing bad guys to show up and claim the cars they won, the cop suicides he gets stuck with, or a number of others, the details are garbage jobs. March has earned his bottom feeder status and he isn't going anywhere. At least, until he spotted the evidence that no one else noticed and changed the case from a routine killing to a missing hostage search. That earns him a temporary reprieve and minor league status in the Morales case.

Assuming he doesn't screw up.

But, he will. He does. And yet, March also makes his own kind of twisted luck. It may be tarnished luck but under all the slime there is luck and every now and then he comes through in a strange way.

This debut mystery by author J. Mark Bertrand features the usual stereotypical elements of a burned out detective, a nearly destroyed marriage thanks to personal tragedy, and a city that is little more than a cesspool with a population stirred up by a hysterical media tracking a missing person's case. Usually these sorts of books are set in Los Angeles. Instead, the former Texas resident set it in Houston and also managed to weave in Hurricane Ike from a couple of years back along the way.

Somehow, despite beating the stereotype drum in nearly every area, J. Mark Bertrand makes it work. Before long, one gets pulled in the noirish style world of Ronald March where he frequently makes mistakes and yet survives against all the odds. Psychology is a huge part of this novel and March quickly becomes not only your friend but a guy you know that just seems to always have the deck stacked against him. He can't play politics, goes his own way and does not fit in, and yet manages to always get the job done.

The author's MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston shows throughout the debut novel as one gets the feeling every character trait and plot point is orchestrated for effect in order to make a nice neat check mark on the master list. At the same time, when he is actively working and on the chase, occasional overwriting and stereotypical blemishes vanish as Mr. Bertrand brings the scenes alive so well you can almost taste it. It is when the action slows and March becomes contemplative about his life and what has happened that the novel drifts a bit. That also means occasional errors in grammar, pacing, the timeline of the novel, etc. are glaringly more present.

Just like in real life not everything in Back On Murder is tied up in a nice neat package. While most plot lines are tied off well, one minor storyline involving a tenant is cut off way too nice and neat. It comes to an abrupt dead stop and results in a missed opportunity for further character development and secondary plot. Considering how hard the storyline had been pushed up until the abrupt ending, the reader is left to wonder why it just suddenly ended in that way.

Overall, the novel is good, but not as great as it could be. This may be a case where writers would be a bit harsher in their criticism of the book than the average reader as we recognize the tricks being used to tell the tale. Still, the read is full of mystery, political infighting, action, and no easy answers and results in a 382 book that will keep you guessing most of the way through. J. Mark Bertrand has a fairly decent foundation of a series to work from based on this book. It will be interesting to see how it goes in the next novel in the series, Pattern Of Wounds, scheduled to be published this July by Bethany House.

Back On Murder: A Roland March Mystery
J. Mark Bertrand
Bethany House (A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
July 2010
ISBN# 978-0-7642-0637-5
Paperback
384 Pages
$14.99

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2011
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!, July 24, 2010
This review is from: Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery) (Paperback)
Back on Murder is one of the better detective books I've read in quite some time. Authentic and gritty. Roland March is the kind of cop I like to read about - a little troubled, sometimes sarcastic, but a great cop. Really looking forward to the next Roland March book in this new series!

Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book, March 3, 2014
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Good book. Easy reading and enjoyable. Easy to follow the plot. Will read more from this author. I would recommend to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roland March is a great character!, March 1, 2014
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Brandi Wood (Prescott, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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You're hooked from the beginning. I liked the way the characters are crafted, not as one dimensional, but three. You connect with them and look forward to their next debut!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!, March 1, 2014
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I enjoyed reading this book so much I couldn't put it down. The characters are realistic and it's a easy book to read and had a good storyline. Would recommend to anyone loves murder mysteries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Detective Series, February 17, 2014
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I loved the layers in this story and in the characters personalities. March seems the typical, no nonsense detective resentful of his current assignment and headed towards retirement. He catches a break and gets assigned back to homicide where a young upcoming detective is looking to become a star and doesn't need the skills of washed up March, an outcast and the butt of many department jokes. March follows a lead against orders and yet again gets reassigned. He knows these two cases are connected he just has to prove it..and himself to the captain who will put him back in homicide permanently if his hunch is correct. March is also working through a rough patch in his marriage and dealing with the anniversary of a tragedy. One that has changed him forever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, February 13, 2014
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I read this book in three days. I couldn't put it down! This is a must read for crime novel readers!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars page turner, February 11, 2014
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It's been awhile since I've read such a good story. I will be buying more of this guys work. Word. (One more was required.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, January 29, 2014
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Cases ring true and relevant. Real life drama and many twist in the story keep you wanting to read on and find out who, what, when and why.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So-So, February 9, 2013
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fay654 (Southeast New Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This story line seemed to be fragmented and was hard for me to follow. Roland March was not believable as a crime solver because he came across as totally neurotic. I was touched by the deaths of the three young women, a sad commentary to the times we are living in.
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Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery)
Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery) by J. Mark Bertrand (Paperback - July 1, 2010)
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