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

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,073 ratings  ·  279 reviews

A missing girl.

A corrupt investigation.

They thought they could get away with it, but they forgot one thing:

Roland March is BACK ON MURDER

Houston homicide detective Roland March was once one of the best. Now he's disillusioned, cynical, and on his way out. His superiors farm him out on a variety of punishment details...until an unexpected break gives March one last chance

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Published July 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
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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...more
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...more
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,...more
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...more
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...more
***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...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
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.
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...more
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
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
I downloaded a kindle version of this book almost 6 months ago to read while traveling. I think it is supposed to be an action packed thriller, but the story never engaged me. Back on Murder waited patiently in my Kindle so I read it from time to time while I was caught without something good to read. People who like reading about gun battles and gunshot wounds might enjoy the book. Maybe someone who feels disrespected at work and finds his personal life depressing will identify with the main ch...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...more
First I've read from this author...really good detective mystery/thriller story. The characters, especially the main one, Detective March, was thoroughly developed and a back story intertwined which leant a special twist to your 'typical' detectives. March is happily married - a rarity in detective/crime stories; I am certainly glad to see this for a change and the authors willingness to develop that rather than take the tried-and-true method. A real page turner set in Houston, TX; being a forme...more
1. Technical: This is the kind of book the Kindle was made for. The built in dictionary allowed me to quickly understand terms such as cocobolo and the note/bookmark feature allowed me to note/review my speculations on plots and twists.

2. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and its characters. Oddly enough, I was drawn to the folks that surround him more than I was to the main character Roland March. Which shows author Bertrand's skill in creating him. Detective March seems to be a real person (a...more
Michael Sump
I give “Back on Murder” a 2 or a 2.5. I got this book as a free download from a book service. My expectations were low and were easily met. It was a decent plot and I enjoyed meeting Roland March and the other characters. There were sufficient complications to keep me reading. March is a past-his-prime homicide detective who is trying to recapture the drive and skill that he had before a family tragedy, a tragedy echoed in the plot. I might try a 2nd one but it won't be soon because there are so...more
Interesting sort of literary police procedural/mystery. Strong characters, building tension and a number of twists and turns. I think one thing that I had a hard time getting comfortable with is how Bertrand kind of dumps you into the middle of Roland March's life post some unknown trauma or personal tragedy and only slowly over time reveals this backstory. At times it had the feeling of starting as series with the second book. I had a hard time getting a handle on the main character. Maybe this...more
Excellent police drama. Not quite a thriller-chiller, but intricate and involving. The Christian tones are not overwrought, as in most Christian fiction. I'll read another Bertram, and I don't read a lot of CF.

On a pesky side note - I find the complete absence of realistic dialogue (read profanity) disingenuous in a crime/police novel. It's actually distracting.
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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...
Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery, #2) Nothing to Hide (A Roland March Mystery, #3) Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World Beguiled

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