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Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery Book #1) Kindle Edition
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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.
From the Back Cover
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...until an unexpected break gives March one last chance to save his career. And his humanity.
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. Battling a new partner, an old nemesis, and the demons of his past, getting to the truth could cost March everything. Even his life.
"A rogue homicide detective is assigned to a grisly murder case, and through this investigation discovers core life values that overturn his world. Bertrand's first novel is an astonishing and powerful mystery. Extremely well crafted. Highly recommended." -- Davis Bunn, bestselling author of Gold of Kings
"There's no way you're going to take your eyes off [Back on Murder] until it's finished. The story and writing is that good." -- Sigmund Brouwer, bestselling author of Broken Angel
"J. Mark Bertrand has captured the surreal world of homicide detectives with a realism and power rarely seen in fiction." -- Mark Mynheir, homicide detective and author of The Night Watchman
- ASIN : B008BTH59Q
- Publisher : Bethany House Publishers; 1st edition (July 1, 2010)
- Publication date : July 1, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 5111 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 385 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #697,771 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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March makes some keen observations at scene of the murder of an inner city drug dealer. March believes that the murder is tied into a nationally covered disappearance of a teenage girl. He goes against orders to look into the angle and gets yanked off the case and on to the task force looking into the disappearance, another dead end. Can March somehow parlay his hunches, uncover the secrets of a group of crooked cops, and stay alive so that the get his career and life back on track.
The book is remarkably well-written and has high quality throughout most of it. March is a fantastic character with his own set of inner demons. March's narration varies from hard boiled wry cop sarcasm to poignancy, to vivid and powerful word images that paint as clear a picture of 21st Century Houston as Raymond Chandler's Marlowe's stories did of 1940s Los Angeles. The character does change as the story goes on. He becomes more of a team player. At the beginning of the book, his focus is really on him: The quest to get back into Homicide. As his focus shifts to the case at hand, actually getting his man leads to real cooperation.
The mystery is a clever tangled web of intrigue that intersects with crooked cops, with honest efforts to help other, and an old rival of March's that won't go away. Really, everything ties together in the end and the clues are solidly laid out.
The last quarter, and the last sixth of the book in particular do suffer a bit of a slowdown with more fizzle than sizzle. Bertrand made the dubious decision to fill in a bunch of back story details towards the end of the book as we were closing in on the killers and a hurricane kills not one by two birds for our hero. These are minor issues given how good the rest of the book was.
The book is from a Christian company, but has little Christian material. March is a moral man but not a believer. The best Christians get from the book is a murder mystery that doesn't make a Christian look like a psycho. The book is a clean read as far as profanity goes and doesn't go for overly graphic
Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely and will be watching for the next book in the series.
I was confused about the reason for March's "fall from grace" in the Homicide division and it took over half the book for the reader to find out about it. The author kept alluding to it, in teasing intervals. I suppose to keep us in suspense but it just added to the confusion of the entire scenario. And it turned out to be pretty vague in the explanation.
The fact that there were so many police departments and officers involved and he used first names and the last names made it seem like there were 40 or more people involved. (which I think there were) I couldn't tell the players without a scorecard. And that doesn't include all the criminals and their associates.
So although i like the story line, I probably wont read any more of his books if he always writes like this.
Maybe I'm just getting old and senile but there was too much confusion for me. Don't get me wrong, I love a mystery. That's pretty much all I read. But this was just too much.
Top reviews from other countries
some of the references. I didn't enjoy the style of writing.
Cop, Roland March, is scorned by his colleagues and his ex-partner, and he and his wife are going through
a bad patch. However, it was not till 66% through the book that it was really explained why "this time of year"
is so difficult for March and his wife - though I had a good guess. Also, it wasn't till then that you find
out why he regularly goes to a bar and leaves without touching his drink!
There were far too many characters and I found I had to use the X-ray facility to remember who people were.
There were sudden flurries of action, in between long periods of arguing with a female cop. who wears her
religion "on her sleeve"; discussing God; talking to his wife; drinking in a bar; trying to get rid of
his unwanted tenant, a hurricane (why was that necessary?), etc.
There were the usual bad cops - some of whom get their "comeuppance" - and a number of deaths. The
ending was dragged out over several chapters and the last chapter wasn't necessary.
Sorry, not an author for me.
The key factor for me was that all the characters felt like real people. The cop himself, Roland March, his wife Charlotte, the other cops, the various people drawn into the investigation... all of them felt like the sort of folks you could meet any day of the week, with all their little foibles, their histories together, the way they behaved. I read so many books where the characters are simply one-dimensional that it's a real joy to find one where they're fully rounded, and make stupid mistakes from time to time, or even get distracted by an attractive colleague.
This book has been categorised as 'Christian' by a number of readers, but if that is normally a turn-off for you, don't be deterred. Several of the characters are openly Christian, and there's a connection to a local church, but there's absolutely no preaching. The main effect on the plot is no swearing, no obvious sex outside marriage, and no real vices amongst the main characters, but that doesn't make it dull or heavily religious at all. Actually, it makes a refreshing change from the usual book of this type.
Some negatives: there were moments when the plot required characters to do fairly stupid things, or fail to make the obvious connections, just to trigger a dramatic moment or a big reveal. There were a lot of minor characters to keep track of, especially when they would disappear for several chapters and then pop up again out of nowhere. Thank goodness for the Kindle search function. And the hero's wife has to be fairly unpleasant for a while in order to ramp up the drama: at one point she starts in on him as soon as he steps through the door, then accuses *him* of always arguing, and when he eventually does what she's been nagging him to do, she rewards him with sex, which felt a little odd to me.
One aspect I felt uncomfortable with was the link to 9-11. Sometimes it seems as if you can't open a book without one or other character being connected to the tragedy, and in this case it seemed like a bit of an unnecessary stretch, a cheap appeal to emotion which could have been dealt with more creatively. It's a small point, however. On the plus side, I enjoyed the setting of Houston. I lived there for a while way back when, and it was strange to find what were respectable neighbourhoods in thoe days characterised as drug infested now. But the descriptions of the area seemed spot-on to me, as far as I could tell.
The story built nicely to the climax which was suitably dramatic, tied things up neatly and yet left the odd loose end to be picked up in a future book, perhaps. An entertaining, readable story. Four stars.
Several scenes were totally implausible, not least the one where he is sitting in a car with a guy who pulls a gun on him and STILL manages to get the upper hand.
I am still trying to work out the point of the final chapter - 12 months on, it was superfluous and left me even more confused.
I wouldn't bother with any more in the series, and certainly not at the new price.
Roland March is approaching retirement. He has been highly respected but, thanks to a personal bereavement, he has lost direction and no longer has the respect of his fellow detectives. This case seems his last chance to become again what he used to be and he grasps it with both hands. The price is high, as he tries to solve the highly-publicised disappearance of a beautiful teenage girl and find the solution to a multiple murder. As the plot develops, we learn about March's personal tragedy and its after-effects. Fast-moving, tough-minded, emotionally complex, with interesting characters, lots of twists to the plot and a surprising ending, this book is unputdownable. I hope to find lots more books about Roland March.