Nothing to Hide is a well written book. The action is compelling and the tension ebbs and flows in the way that makes you want to keep reading. That being said I had a really hard time getting through this book. I've never been someone to categorize fiction based on the gender of the author but this book felt very male to me. It was written a bit like an action movie. Lots of things happening but I didn't feel like I had nearly enough information about the people it was happening to. The dialogue was mostly between male characters and while they spoke very much like most men do, it wasn't enough for this reader. Dialogue is a major opportunity to learn about characters but in this case the dialogue was very typically male in that it was utilitarian. I'm used to more nuanced characters with rich back story that is slowly revealed through dialogue and character development.
I realize that Roland March is a recurring character in J. Mark Bertrand's books, but I had the constant feeling that I was missing important information because I hadn't read any of his previous work. I also found the amount of violence and the gruesome descriptions of it to be shocking, both in a good and a bad way. I wasn't a fan of the descriptions but they were well written and compelling. In some ways I was pleased to see this in a book labeled Christian fiction. While it may offend some readers, as a Christian author myself I've almost feared that publishing under a Christian fiction label would require me to completely sanitize my books, thus losing authenticity. This is a well written book. It just didn't appeal much to me. Maybe I have more girly taste in books than I realized.
I was not compensated for this review but I did receive a free copy of the book to review.
" What do you say to a fallen partner? What do you say to a man you started off despising and came to grudgingly respect, whose death is on your conscience and whole absence you're only beginning to feel?"
Detective Roland March is a complex character who is trying to put together the pieces of a grisly murder case. A man is dead. His head is missing and his finger seems to be pointing at something, but what? The deeper he digs, the more dangerous and confusing the investigation becomes. While analyzing the clues Roland finds himself reflecting on his past which forces him to not only work through the current case but through buried issues from his past.
"Nothing to Hide" by J. Mark Bertrand is a suspense story that ties in present with the past in a fresh and exciting way. Its plot twists and turns until it reaches an end that I did not see coming. I have not read very many police suspense stories and I must admit that this was not my favorite read. Some of this is probably because this book is part of a series and I kept feeling like I was missing something, which I probably was. I am guessing that this book is geared more towards middle aged men then it is to young moms, like myself.
Despite it not being my favorite, it was well written and I very much enjoyed the conclusion. The characters were deep, even the secondary ones. I also thought it tied in deep spiritual questions in a thought provoking manner. I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House publishing.
This book is not for the faint of heart! It's gruesome and torturous in places. But within the world Roland Mark finds himself in, these horrors become the norm to the men and women who work to get drugs and illegal arms to the cartels when they want them.
Bertrand's characters are well-developed, but there are definitely some you would not want to get involved with. The camaraderie between Lorenz and Roland as partners is genuine as police officers. The interactions between the police department, the FBI, and the CIA are true to form-no one wants to give up information that might hinder any of their activities that are ongoing. It's a book of secrets, manipulations, and betrayal all within the confines of the main characters dealing with the murder and the cartels. The multiple twists and turns that take place seem monumental at times. There's confusion as to who is on whose side.
If you are the thriller type reader, you will find that Bertrand's book delivers and then some! The gruesomeness of the headless victim portends to what is to transpire as the book progresses. Though it's grueling and gruesome, the author overrides some of the horror and hardships of the job by depicting Roland's loving marriage relationship. And you'll need it for a respite!
This story will make you wonder if you really want to contend with a job in the police department, CIA or FBI. Are you the gritty type to find the truth regardless of the consequences or one to let some of the evidence slide by as requested by your chief in charge? These are the people who put their lives on the line to keep our lives safer.
Though I did find some references to faith, it's was not as well-defined in the context I'm used to. It is tested to the max in the heat of the action, however, but in a wondering way of what's â€˜out there.'
Because this book was inspired by a true life story, it made the book even that much more interesting to me, as I enjoy working through the criminal mind. But do be prepared for the gruesomeness of the story. It's unfortunately real life for some people. I found that the innocent ones who are trying to do their job are the ones that my heart goes out to.
This book was provided by Noelle Buss of Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
In book three of his Roland March Mystery series, author J. Mark Bertrand continues to develop a believable character that struggles to find answers - not just as a detective solving crimes - but as a human being seeking answers to wrongs he has seen in his own lifetime. As he has done with the first two books of this series, Bertrand manages to seek this answers in a manner that does not come across as 'preachy' - as is the danger in writing soul-searching Christian fiction. Roland March is a likable character, full of flaws, but ultimately struggling to make sense out of his job and his life. He's a bit past his prime, but still always manages to come out on top ... sometimes barely.
Another interesting fact about this mystery is that even the author admits that it's inspiration was a true story about a man who was pulled over claiming to be a CIA agent, but the additional storyline regarding the selling of illegal arms to Mexican drug cartels was written prior to factual news about operation 'Fast and Furious'. Any similarities are a coincidence ... but as a reader I also felt that it was testament that the writer did his homework. The story was fiction, but the scenario was something that could be all too true.
I believe this book, and the earlier two in this series, will appeal to both men and women who enjoy murder mysteries, cop shows and similar. It would also not be offensive to non-Christian readers.
*This book was received for review from the publisher. Further information about the author and the book has been furnished below by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Nothing to Hide continues the story of Detective Roland March, as begun first in "Back on Murder" and then "Pattern of Wounds", and it does so in a tremendously satisfying manner. Now, as I've warned with other similar suspense books, not all readers will be comfortable with the occasional grisly scene. However, readers who enjoy a good suspense novel are going to find this book to be completely entertaining, well-written, and sure to leave you thinking as you ponder the ethical dilemmas March finds himself in. The conspiracy underpinning this book makes for an absorbing read, and I greatly enjoyed the occasional "Interludes" which take the reader back a couple of decades to where everything began for Detective March, providing valuable insight into who March is as a character and what he stands for. The plot is full of twists and turns that will keep you riveted to the pages, and I honestly found the book impossible to put down. And I have to say, I was completely surprised when the murderer was revealed, something that doesn't happen all that often! Well done Bertrand!
I highly recommend not only Nothing to Hide, but the entire series, which is definitely one I will be reading again in the future. Bertrand has earned a permanent place on my "must read" list. 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.