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Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery) Paperback – July 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 226 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. Mark Bertrand is the author of BACK ON MURDER (2010) and PATTERN OF WOUNDS (2011), the first two installments in a series featuring Houston Homicide detective Roland March. He 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.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Roland March Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764206389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764206382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Mark Bertrand is the author of the crime novels BACK ON MURDER (2010), PATTERN OF WOUNDS (2011) and NOTHING TO HIDE (2012), featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. The Weekly Standard dubbed him "a major crime-fiction talent." He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lives with his wife Laurie in South Dakota.

Find out more online at www.jmarkbertrand.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Pattern of Wounds by J. Mark Bertrand is the second book in the Roland March series about a disaffected Houston police detective. March has recovered some since the events of the previous book, Back on Murder. His marriage is back on track, although he's a bit worried about wife, Charlotte's newfound faith, and he's working murder cases again. This time it's a young woman found stabbed to death in a swimming pool that opens up March's old wounds. When this new murder appears to be connected to a decade old murder that March become nationally famous for closing, his life as he knows it is about to end. Bertrand is such an intelligent writer; his are the type of books I recommend to people who insist that they hate Christian fiction and that it's all cliched or badly written. Bertrand's March is angry and hurting at the world because of his scarred childhood as well as the darkness he sees daily through his job. He can't believe that there could be a loving God who could see all of this pain and refuse to act. His refusal to believe is so sympathetic, readers will find themselves empathizing with him, even when he is so very, very wrong. March is a poignant and intelligent hero and anchor to the series. Bertrand uses him to expose culture's obsession with serial killers and the frustrations of being a police officer and seeing only the worst in humanity. The story is complex and unpredictable, but it's March who really pulls readers into the story, making it feel very real and personal. Bertrand smartly reveals more of March's personal history and demons in this book, as well as shaking up what readers thought they knew about him. This is the rare series that will get better with each book.
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Format: Paperback
When we first met Roland March, he was "Back on Murder," thanks to J. Mark Bertrand, of course. Let me tell you something, I was never so thrilled to read a debut such as that. And I was itching so bad for the chance to read "Pattern of Wounds," I seriously couldn't sit still! Well, the itch has finally been scratched, and I'm still squirming in my seat. Bertrand does not disappoint, and I'm ready for more!

Roland March is looking for another killer. This killer is one who does it by stabbing, and a young woman is only the beginning. March put a man behind bars ten years back, and this murder has the same traits. March has the right guy, right? If the correct man is behind bars from ten years ago, then who's pulling these murderous stunts?

If that weren't enough, March is harassed with a series of e-mails straight from the killer. And while that can be intimidating, conflicts at work and in his marriage don't make life any easier for this man. Things are a lot closer than they appear to be, and it isn't going to be pretty in the end.

Make no mistake about it, "Back on Murder" was simply amazing. And "Pattern of Wounds" is pretty close behind. Bertrand puts his stories together like a seasoned professional, so if people compare him to Michael Connelly or Jason Pinter, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. Man, I can't wait for his next release!
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Format: Paperback
One of my all-time favorite novelists is mystery writer James Lee Burke, whose books mix gritty realism with poetic descriptions. I somehow missed the debut novel by Mark Bertrand, but his second, "Pattern of Wounds," has secured my allegiance as a fan. Not only does Bertrand give us a flawed and three-dimensional protagonist, such as Burke's Dave Robicheaux, but he infuses his story with the same uncertainty and sorrows of real life. That makes it a memorable and refreshing read in this market.

At its core, "Pattern of Wounds" is an intelligent mystery as opposed to a slam-bang thriller. Like any good mystery, it starts out with a corpse. This particular corpse bears a pattern of unique stab wounds. The story takes its time setting things up and unveiling new truths, even as it heads toward a fiery showdown. We want to know whodunit, and Bertrand's lead character guides us through a maze of suspects and motives. It is Roland March who investigates the homicide in his role with the Houston police. He also deals with questions concerning a previous case that could be connected, and looks deeper into a painful scenario from his own childhood. These three plot threads weave in and out, forming a tapestry that is rich in color and meaning, while requiring the reader to stay alert. Bertrand doesn't bang us over the head with themes or symbolism, but lets those elements seep through the tapestry in their own good time.

Roland March is a great character, driven by a moral code, haunted by things in his past, and struggling with questions about God, good, and evil. He has as much empathy for the fates of his suspects as he does for the victims, even while he hunts down those same suspects with a vengeance. He is not perfect. He can be stubborn at times.
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I downloaded "Back on Murder" to my Kindle and got sucked into it right away. I read it in two sittings. I downloaded "Pattern of Wounds" immediately after finishing that book.

If anything, the characters are even more complex in this book. More of what led up to Roland March's decline prior to "Back on Murder" is exposed and the conflicts between him and his former friends are front and center as this plot unfolds. Conflict between good and bad can be boring. Conflict between good and good where perspectives are different and trust is frayed is anything but.

Again, everything was foreshadowed but twists and turns abound as each layer of the plot was exposed. Even more than in "Back to Murder" I was so certain that I had figured out the crime (I hadn't) and then the plots (there are a handful of them woven tightly together) went sideways yet again.

All the loose ends get wrapped up without cheating by the author. Bertrand can write in the same league as Robert Crais, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, and my other favorite authors in this genre. I will be reading book number 3 but alas, I will have to wait awhile.
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