Back on Murder: A Roland March Mystery (Anglais) Relié – Grands caractères, 4 mai 2011
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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 (another piece of lettuce trying to get through this world as georgecarlinmighthavephrasedit): petty lustful mean sad caring clueless noble brave . . . real not a cardboard cutout stereotyped action/detective hero/antihero. And in the real world, we don't like everyone. And I don't care for March. But I do like the story, I do like the writing, and I would buy another Roland March book if one shows up.
(2013 update: since I wrote this review, I've purchased and read the next two in the series. Loved them and eagerly awaiting the 4th)
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 to sve his career. And his humanity.
All he has to do? find the missing teenage daughter of a Houston evangelist that every cop in town is already looking for. But March has an inside track, a multiple murder nobody else thinks is connected. battling a new partner, and old nemesis, and the demons of his past, getting to the truth could cost March everything. Even his life.
Wow. Gritty. Realistic.
Roland March is desperate to get back on murder duty. Weaseling his way into a murder scene, he's ignored and forgotten, but the only one to find the evidence that a girl was held kidnapped in the house. Rabid for his old job, he does all but beg to be placed on this case.
Instead he's assigned to find Hannah Mayhew, the missing daughter of Houston's famous evangelist. His final day with the police's Cars for Criminals detail, he hauls in one criminal, and unknowingly, lets the real criminal go.
In the midst of is work problems, March is dealing with his own personal demons, the vehicular homicide of his daughter, the apparent distance between he and his wife, the friction from his one-time work partner, and the dope-using, partying renter that lives above his garage. His wife's dissatisfied with him, with how he handles--or won't handle--their renter, and he can't come to terms with his daughter's death.
His theories are varied, but his motive is right. Especially if it means bringing down those who should be standing shoulder to shoulder with him. Even if it means putting a young man in deathly danger, the youth leader who encouraged Hannah to reach out to her needy peers. The young man who offers his service because of his guilt.
The novel takes us on a twisting journey, one that I imagine many a cop travels. If at times, March comes across as a too-needy person, well, his persistence makes up for it. I would have liked to have seen a touch more faith in the book. I particularly hated it when March judged himself as rat-like and also when he cast an eye at his temporary partner Cavallo. I thought it lessened his likeableness.
That's real life, I'm sure. I saw little or no evidence that March was a Christian, and though there seemed to be an improvement in he and his wife's relationship, he didn't grow spiritually or even give a hint that he might at some time or another.
But the other facets of the novel far outweighed those details. It's a realistic story that held my attention. A book that could hold its own with any crime secular novel. I'll be looking forward to Bertrand's next novel.
If you are an atheist or non-religious person like myself, don't let the reviews calling the book excellent Christian fiction put you off. It would have given me pause had I known the genre association before reading it, but I honestly do not see this as a Christian book at all--it's a compelling little mystery that happens to have some Christian characters and themes in it. It's a book set in Houston, Texas. It would be inauthentic and silly not to, in my opinion. At any rate, it's definitely not preachy and the main character, at least in this installment, isn't even religious. I can't speak for the rest of the series, but at least in this one, you won't be rolling your eyes nearly as much as March himself!