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Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery, #1)
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Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,972 ratings  ·  334 reviews
Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out. But when he's the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he's given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he's transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlight--the disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist's teen daughter.

With the help of a youth pastor

Paperback, 382 pages
Published July 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
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Community Reviews

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This was a fair to OK mystery novel. It felt like it took FOREVER to finish. I just kept waiting and waiting and checking my seemed like there was a lot of unnecessarily long side story.

Also, I found the characters hard to like. The main character wasn't someone I could find myself rooting for. He was just...blah. The mother of the missing girl didn't behave like a bereaved mother. The youth pastor was creepy. The missing person's detective was pretentious. Half the cops were dirt
I honestly can't say enough good things about Back on Murder. If you like crime shows like NCIS, you'll like this book!

Things I Liked:

1. Even though I felt the book was gritty and realistic, it was something I could read at night before going to bed and not have to worry about bad dreams. I think it's a good balance between realistic and yet not disturbing.

2. I felt like J. Mark Bertrand has wonderful insight into human nature and I loved the body language and emotions and the thoughts March wo
***Caution: Contains a Naughty Word***

Roland March, treated as an invisible by the rest of the homicide squad, discovers a key piece of evidence, that someone, presumably a woman, had been tied to the bed where Octavio Morales had been shot.. He’s anathema to the rest of the department for reasons unknown but having to do with a personal tragedy in his life, and he has been assigned to the “Car Squad” which tricks persons with outstanding warrants into thinking they might have won a car so they
For some police officers the dead body is the end of the case. The search for the living is over and there is nothing left to do. For homicide detectives the body is the start. The dead body is the door opening on a case waiting to be solved. For Homicide Detective Ronald March, the results of a shootout in southwest Houston are his ticket back to fully functioning in Homicide and ending his exile of being farmed out on garbage details.

If he does not screw it up.

Since that fateful tragic day s
What are the marks of a good murder mystery? Multi-layered storytelling, strong and well-developed characters and a surprise every now and then are all signs that an author has the right mix of elements to keep a reader turning the pages. J. Mark Bertrand has done all that and more with his first title in the Roland March series about a homicide detective from Houston who is anything but the perfect detective.

Roland March is one of those characters that grows on you. When first encountering him,
Roland March is a homicide detective, with struggles at work and life. He gets a break at work, messes it up with impatient decisions and lands on a missing person case, which seems would remain unsolved forever. An event lands him a new break, which he better utilize after learning from his earlier mistakes.

The book was ok. I kept on hoping it would get better and I would like it. The narration (first person from March's view point), was so slow. I actually read another book in between (usually
Teena in Toronto
This book interested me because I like murder mysteries. It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't great.

Though it was less than 400 pages, it seemed like a looooong book. I kept checking the chapter menu to see how far along I way and how far I still had to go.

I found that there were so many characters in this book, especially the number of cops, that I couldn't keep them all straight.

Something happened in March's past that haunts him but you don't find out what it is until about midway. Given what
I didn't really care much for this story.
Roland seems to be washed up as a cop. It's September, a hard month for him & his wife. He gets bounced around a lot on the job. Time at home is one fight after another. Towards the middle, or maybe about 2/3 of the way through the book, things start turning around a little. It gets a little better. Things improve on the job & at home. The end was the best part of it. There was some action, & finally, the tying up of lose ends. I still don't
Laronica Conway
A few general thoughts: This book was a satisfying read. I didn't get bored like I thought I would and I didn't dislike the main character despite his faults. And I didn't know this book was considered or listed as "Christian fiction" until after I finished the book and read some of the other reviews.

Roland March is a homicide detective who, several years ago, was at the top of his game and very well-respected among his peers. But over the years his skills diminished and he seemed to do 'just e
Brenda S Anderson
Roland March is a Houston homicide detective who seems to be headed out of the force. He’s lost the respect of his fellow officers and doesn’t seem to care. But then he’s given one last opportunity to prove himself when an evangelist’s daughter goes missing. His gut tells him her disappearance is tied to recent multiple murders at a drug house, but the facts don’t point in that direction. The case becomes personal to him, and he won’t back down until he uncovers the truth, regardless of what it ...more
Tracy Krauss
Back On Murder by J. Mark Bertrand is a murder mystery extraordinaire. Houston detective Roland March is disillusioned and misunderstood, relegated to special assignments nobody else wants. He gets his big chance for redemption when he is assigned to a missing person’s case - one which he thinks is connected to a drug murder; but proving it might just cost him his life. Beyond a very engaging story line with plenty of plot twists and surprises, Bertrand’s writing style is masterful. His voice is ...more
Jared W
Very strong. It's nice to see a modern book that realizes a good story doesn't the language and sex that some other authors feel is mandatory. Bertrand has put together a strong character in Roland March--a detective past his prime and punching out, following the demise of his daughter. Haunted by guilt and in the middle of an existential crisis, March has lost his partner, and is only holding onto his position in homicide by riding the wave of good detective work he put in the past when a new c ...more
I got this Kindle book on a whim when it was free, and I'm actually disappointed to be done with it. I'm now excited to buy or rent the next installment and I only hope the story is as good. This is not your typical murder mystery--it's more of a character study than anything else. However, the characters are interesting enough, as is the storytelling, that I didn't mind the lack of surprises or twists. I had a near 100% success rate on guessing what the reveals would be as the story went along, ...more
Keanan Brand

I read the e-book that's been sitting on my Kindle for several months, waiting for me to go on a reading jag, and I'm wishing I'd dug in sooner.

Despite some formatting issues (missing italics, lowercase instead of uppercase acronyms, etc.) that would normally have driven me nuts, I enjoyed this book better than I've enjoyed any crime novel in recent memory, save one (which I'm still reading). The storytelling is solid, I believed the characters and the events, and the writing itself i
Jan 19, 2012 Casey added it
Shelves: my-kindle
I won't be rating this novel as I wasn't able to finish it. The writing style has a pull to it, but overall it was too easy to get lost in all the words for me. I'm not the best target audience for this book and thus won't be finishing it.
Alesha Leveritt
I've actually given up on many serial mystery novels because I'm tired of being able to predict their entire plot arc within the first 30 pages. There will be: disenchanted police officers who believe in nothing but guilt (and never manage to get any more optimistic), gratuitous profanity (because of course, EVERYONE talks that way, right), gratuitous sex that makes little sense (not sure how all the detecting lends itself to that), and a complete absence of anything other than "thriller-chiller ...more
Cortez III
Houston Homicide Detective Roland March has a lot on his plate. He’s not exactly loved by his fellow detectives because of the past affecting his present. So he’s involved in some not so plumb assignments for the Houston Police Department, there’s a multiple homicide to solve and he’s on the outside looking in where he wants to be again.

But the twist that he and only he discovers at the first is the homicide victims at the crime scene held captive a young girl named Hannah Mayhew. This scenari
Author: J. Mark Bertrand
Publisher: Bethany House
July 2010
ISBN 978-0-7642-0637-5
Genre: Fiction/Suspense

Objective justice is impossible to arrive at, given the circumstances. You know, the sin nature all of humanity inherits from Adam. That doesn’t stop Detective Roland March from striving for the impossible. While battling internal demons, dueling with matrimonial conflicts, and struggling to survive professional suicide (not to mention homicide), March displays moments of s
The only reason I got this book is because it was free on Amazon for the Kindle. I had never heard of this author or this series but I was looking for free books and stumbled across this one. I am so glad I did. As soon as I finished this book I dropped 3.99 for the next one in the series and as soon as I finish it (depending upon the ending) I will probably drop another 3.99 for the third one. As far as mysteries go...this is not some deep who-done-it that will keep you up all night. You can al ...more
Clockstein Lockstein

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand is the first book in the Roland March series. March, a Houston police officer has fallen from grace within the department. After being featured as a hero in a true crime book, he lost his focus and desire for the job and was bumped down from Homicide to being farmed out to other units, a position of deep humiliation for him. Even his marriage to beautiful lawyer Charlotte is suffering. When he stumbles upon a piece of evidence at a violent gang slaying, he's gi
Trinity Rose
I love a really good mystery and “Back on Murder” is the greatest. I love to see how the title and cover of the book fit the story. The title “Back on Murder” tells you just what March is trying to do. This book is written in the first person, which I usually don’t like, but in this book it is fantastic. Roland March reminds me of Sam Spade, when he finds a clue he keeps working it until it makes sense.

Roland’s wife Charlotte is a corporate attorney and you can tell from the beginning of the boo
Back on Murder, a murder mystery by J. Mark Bertrand; if you're into murder mysteries, this is a serious read. Comparable to mainstream murder mysteries, yet sensitive and moral enough to be sold in Christian bookstores. That's a pretty unique combination, I'd say.

Roland March is a used-up cop. He's been taken off the serious stuff and placed on the secondary cases. When a teenager goes missing, he's moved to the missing-persons department. When there's a suicide of a fellow cop, he's moved to t
Faith Farrell
Roland March just wants to be back on murder, away from these ridiculous special assignments that his superiors are giving him left and right. Well, they call them special assignments, he calls it farming him out. They don't want him around any more and he can feel it. He knows he isn't doing the top notch homicide work he used to, and the reputation he had earned and then lost is haunting him. He wishes he had never agreed to let his biggest case become the subject of a true crime novel, a nov ...more
Allison Kohn
Back On Murder is the story of a cop who has been in a fog since the death of his daughter. It isn't just the death of his daughter, of course, but that all comes out as you read. Then he gets called in, not as an active cop, but sort of as part of homicide - but not a viable or working part - and happens to notice something no one else is paying any attention to. It brings him out of his fog but he has to prove himself before anyone will listen to him, cause he's been comatose so long. The long ...more
James Yu
I heard about this book through a First Things article that lauded it for being a good Christian novel that treats like real people in all of life's harshness. I hate the morass of terrible holier-than-thou kitsch that is Christian fiction, so this caught my eye. Having read the book, I am glad to say that Mark Bertrand lives up to the review.

The most notable fact is that if you didn't have an insider information, you would never know that this was a Christian novel or that Mark Bertrand is a Ch
Typically, I don't like mysteries, and I especially don't care for first person POV. HOW.EVER--I read the first chapter of Bertrand's BACK ON MURDER online and knew I had to read this book. To say I'm impressed is an understatement. Very well done. The mystery, the tangled leads on the crime, his incredibly unlikeable likeable hero, Roland March--they all had me flipping pages much faster than I ever expected. The writing had a noir feel to it that really had me intrigued and fascinated with the ...more
Police procedural, 1st in the Roland March series. Even though the beginning of this book was frustrating, the plot of the book caught up eventually. Detective March is not an extremely likable character and I have not really warmed to him as of yet. However, other characters were intriguing enough for me to keep reading. The setting in Houston, Texas, was great and I loved the details about body language and questioning of issues like evidence versus instinct. There is potential for this author ...more
Lindà M Cox
A slow start but strong finish.

I almost put the book aside but then I got hooked. The characters were interesting and the story got to me. I had to find out all the connections and see it to through to the end.
Mark Young
Crime genre novelist J. Mark Bertrand’s main character has one foot out the door. Back on Murder, scheduled to be released next month, opens with homicide detective Roland March knowing his career is in the toilet unless he can pull off the impossible.

J. Mark Bertrand’s publishing career, however, is starting off with a bang. His first two novels will hit the book shelves this year. In July, Bethany House is set to release J. Mark Bertrand’s novel, Back On Murder, a gritty crime story unfolding
Barbara Brink
I don't often read police type mysteries because I prefer suspense/thrillers where everyday people end up becoming involved in and solving crimes or mysteries. But I had heard that Mr. Bertrand was an excellent author and i wanted to try something new. I was not disappointed. He knows how to set up a tangled web of lies and make you suffer through the process of finding the kernels of truth hidden beneath to solve the case right along with the detective. His way of describing characters or scene ...more
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Christian Fiction...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Back on Murder - December 42 46 Jan 16, 2015 10:38AM  
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J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota.
More about J. Mark Bertrand...

Other Books in the Series

A Roland March Mystery (3 books)
  • Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery, #2)
  • Nothing to Hide (A Roland March Mystery, #3)

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“Looks like a hit on a local loan shark,” I say. “A guy by the name of Octavio” 0 likes
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