Christian fiction

Book & Cover Review of "Pattern of Wounds" by J. Mark Bertrand

 Pattern of Wounds (A Roland March Mystery)
Book Review
Homicide detective Roland March is back on murder … again. This time, his pride may be getting in the way of the investigation. Will he be able to check his pride, at least consider the fact that he may have previously convicted the wrong man in one of his biggest cases – enabling him to look at the details objectively?

J. Mark Bertrand has successfully engrossed readers again into the gritty, raw, and pressure-filled life of a police detective. In a recent interview with Family Fiction magazine I read the author felt that each book in this series tackled a current cultural obsession. The first book dealt with what he called ‘the missing white girl syndrome’, but that this second novel tackled our fascination with serial killers and our need to place blame elsewhere, sometimes creating patterns in non-related crimes in order to try to make sense of the randomness of murder.

As someone who admittedly watches too many crime dramas (the Closer, Bones, Law & Order … ) I love this series. One thing this series has that the TV dramas do not is an ever-increasing sprinkling of Christian characters that continue to work on the main character to examine what he truly believes, and how appears to others.

A wonderful book that will appeal to both men and women who like crime dramas and would enjoy seeing God turn a good cop around … though the journey to that may have a lot of bumps along the way.  I would also say that reading the first book of the series, Back On Murder, is not necessary to making this second one in the series enjoyable, but I imagine many will be looking for it after they read this one – eager for more!

Cover Review
This cover follows the same grungy pattern that was established with the first cover. By the book’s large title text and the roughened background texture I feel that most shelf-browsers will know this book is likely a murder mystery. The only additional hint is the photo at the top, featuring a pair of floating legs that appear to belong to a woman wearing billowing pants. By the picture alone you aren’t able to tell if the person is just dipping their legs in the pool … or what exactly? So that alone would not portray murder; making the large title absolutely necessary.

This cover will capture the attention of crime drama/murder mystery readers, and also those who have already read the first book of this series.

* This book was received for review from Bethany House publishers with no guarantee of a positive review. I am also including the below information from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for anyone craving more information (including the first chapter for free.)

This week, the  Christian Fiction Blog Alliance  is introducing  Pattern of Wounds  Bethany House (July 1, 2011)  by  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.

3 thoughts on “Book & Cover Review of "Pattern of Wounds" by J. Mark Bertrand”

  1. I'm awarding the book to my pastor's wife, Sandy McFarland. She was the only one who has let me know that she tried to leave a comment and ran into issues. Looks like I have some investigating to do?Technology is wonderful when it's easy … but no fun when it is too complicated for anyone to respond? Grrr. 🙂


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