Friday, July 15, 2011

Pattern of Wounds

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.

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.