Pattern of Wounds by J Mark Bertrand (Roland March #2)

Pattern of Wounds Summary: A well written standard police procedural that stands out precisely because it is a Christian fiction book

Pretty soon I am going to stop saying I tend to not be a fan of mysteries.  Because the books I have been enjoying the most lately are mysteries.

Pattern of Wounds is the second in a trilogy of books about a homicide detective in Houston.  Roland March is a cop that has seen better days.  But he feels like his work, as little as he likes it most of the time, does something.

In this book, a young woman is found floating in a pool, stabbed to death.  Detective March is called and despite what everyone else says, he feels like this case has some relationship to an earlier case that he broke.

As with the first book, his marriage is a bit rocky.  He doesn’t really get along with anyone well.  He doggedly follows the clues, goes down some dead ends and keeps bumping into people that despite it all, still like him, but a lot more that don’t.

Bertrand has a solid police procedural series here.  He write a series that is still clearly in the Christian fiction world, but with a non-Christian protagonist that does not become a Christian at the end of either the first or second book.  There is a meditation on the problem of evil in this book, but Bertrand avoids the easy answers.  As I said about the first book, if all Christian fiction was this good, I would read more of it.

But I was frustrated to glance through the reviews and see virtually all of the negative reviews from obviously Christian fiction readers that just don’t like police procedurals or mysteries.  If you don’t like descriptions of dead bodies or cops tracking down bad guys then you should not read police procedurals.  It is like reading a romance novel and complaining about people kissing.  It is part of the genre.

The good news is that this is a series that has low cost of entry.  The first book is almost always free on kindle and the second two books in the trilogy have been $3.99 on kindle for months now.  So you can get about 1000 pages of good Christian fiction for less than $8.

Pattern of Wounds Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition
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One Comment

Adam, it was one of your reviews that set me on the trail of J Mark Bertrand! Since I do love this genre, I wanted to see how a “Christian” writer would deal these elements. I have personally known a number of Christian law enforcement people, a few who have lost their faith as a result of the evil they had encountered. So the Roland March character sounded real to me. I did “purchase” the first of the trilogy (for free), and then I found the second one in our library. It was a great detective story in its own right, but the brief interchange between March & Carter concerning evil was superb. I truly appreciated Bertrand’s refusal to settle for easy answers, his refusal to tie up such extremely difficult questions with a pretty hallelujah bow for his readers.

Offering the first volume for free is a great way to introduce a book someone might not necessarily want to try. I am glad you are warming up to this genre!

It is sad that his fine work has gotten such flaky reviews. But, I generally “go” with reviews such as your own – from people I know personally, people whose opinions have proved reliable.

So keep up the g-r-e-a-t work!

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