Pattern of Wounds by Mark Bertrand

The best advice I can give is don't read the last page. It will infuriate you.

This story is the second in the Roland March series. March is a detective in the Houston PD, and rather reviled by his co-workers, and his bosses. But, much loved by his wife. I find it difficult to swallow that he is still struggling to overcome something bad in his past, when he's so good at solving murders that have stumped everyone else.

The story flow is much like The Closer, if you like that TV Show, you'll like the Roland March stories. While I truly detest present tense prose, Bertrand does an excellent job of doing that kind of prose so that you don't feel breathless or short of breath while reading. It flows well.

Bertrand's brand of storytelling is in the same vein as James Scott Bell's mysteries. The protagonist is not a believer, but is drawn ever closer to God as he faces how cruel and crummy the world can be. It is an interesting perspective, and quiet an unusual way to reach the lost through fiction.

You'll be drawn into the story from the first page. As the mystery unfolds, you learn more about March from what he does't say rather than what he does. March is as big a mystery as those that he solves for a living. I'll keep reading these stories because in spite of myself, I've learned to love ole Roland March and I want at least one good thing to happen to him.

This is 4 out of 5 stars (except for the last page).

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern of Wounds
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
J. Mark Bertrand


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he 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 one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern of Wounds, go HERE.

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