Friday, 13 July 2012

Nothing to Hide by J. Mark Bertrand

Back Cover: The victim's head is missing, but what intrigues Detective Roland March is the hand. The pointing finger must be a clue - but to what? According to the FBI, the dead man was an undercover asset tracking the flow of illegal arms to the Mexican cartels. To protect the operation, they want March to play along with the cover story. With a little digging, though, he discovers the Feds are lying. And they're not the only ones.

In an upside-down world of paranoia and conspiracy, March finds himself dogged by injury and haunted by a tragic failure. Forced to take justice into his own hands, his twisting investigation leads him into the very heart of darkness, leaving March with nothing to loose - and nothing to hide.

Review: This is the third book in the series, "A Roland March Mystery" following Back to Murder and Pattern of Wounds.

Detective March is not the kind of guy who is limited by little details such as red tape, ridiculous rules made by white-collar bureaucrats who have never dirtied their hands working Chicago's shady streets, or the fact that he isn't even authorized to be investigating this particular case. Rules are meant to be...  guidelines ... which is an opinion that lands his reluctant partners in hot water and makes his boss mad enough murder HIM.

Kicked off the case after a basic operation ends worse than anyone could have ever imagined, March is ordered to take a leave of absence. Injured and denying that he is suffering for post traumatic stress syndrome March goes rogue. As he slowly begins to link the present day murder with events that happened back in 1986 while he was in the army, March realizes that the case is much larger than anyone realized. On his own, March is forced to make sketchy allegiances, follow shady leads, and accept help from operatives who are about as trustworthy as the snakes he's trying to catch.

March is a driven, stubborn, down-to-earth guy who lacks the polish to make it as a FBI or CIA agent but has the grit and street smarts to make a heck-of-a good cop. These characteristics along with his steely determination and resourcefulness make March a worthy lead.

The plot is straight forward with a few twists and turns throughout but once you are about half-way through the novel you have a fairly good idea who is involved in the crime and why. That being said, the person who actually ended up being the murderer did take me by surprise, which I really liked!

If I could add anything to this novel I would have included a physical description of Detective March in the first chapter of the book. It took me about 150 pages before I was confident what age the detective was. As minor as this sounds, I had a hard time figuring out some of the comments directed at the detective and the way other characters responded to him because it didn't make sense with the 20-30 something age I was imagining. As it turned out, he is closer to 50. Once I figured this out, the interactions with the other characters suddenly made sense! In addition, I did have a little trouble with the way the book jumped back and forth between 1986 and present. The young March and the present day March are so vastly different that I found it a little hard to collate the two images into one character.

Just as a warning to the more sensitive readers, this is a crime novel and there are some rather graphic torture techniques described in its pages. I'm not generally queasy, but the description of 'degloving' made me feel a bit ill.

Rating: 3 Stars - Enjoyable read!

 "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"

1 comment:

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