I have loved the first two books of this trilogy, and I would love to read any future books that J Mark Bertrand writes about Roland March. The mix of subjects shows that even within the context of a traditional police procedural mystery series, Bertrand is not willing to be confined.
In this third book, we learn about March’s time in the military before he joined the police force. Some time has passed and March is doing better. His wife, Charlotte, is now working as a full time lawyer and traveling a lot. Their marriage, while not great, doesn’t seem to be as shaky as previous books. And more important for the book, March does not start the book on the verge of being fired (although that doesn’t take too long to get back to normal.)
The book opens with a decapitated and tortured murder victim. Nothing makes sense with the case. An FBI agent calls March and his LT in and informs them of the identity of the body but warns them things are not what they seem, but that March should go ahead and pretend that they were.
As you would expect things get worse. Through some lucky intuition, the new body is connected to a fishy police shooting. And then there is another police shooting, where March’s partner is killed and March kills one of the killers. And then things start really getting weird when the partner of the killer gets away and March realized that his original decapitated victim is alive.
This book strays from the local Houston scene into some international intrigue. March is always a local cop trying to solve a local murder. But the characters around him are not playing a local game. Drugs and guns and para-military black-ops bring March back to his days in the military.
As with the other books, this is not a traditional Christian fiction book. March is still not a Christian, although his friends the Robbs and his occasional partner and wife are all encouraging him in that direction. There are very interesting discussions about ethics and right and wrong and what the meaning of life is all about. This is content that is not afraid to be real to life and not afraid to present questions without clear answers. But more importantly, it is a series that is interested in telling a story, more than making a point.
If you have not already picked up the first book, you should, especially if you have an ereader. The Kindle version of the first book is free and the next two books are only $3.99 each.