Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nothing to Hide by J. Mark Bertrand

A headless corpse is found in a parking lot in Houston and Detective Roland March is on the case. The victim's hands are skinned so there are no fingerprints. (You have probably already figured out that this is not a “cozy” mystery.) But DNA evidence identifies him as a FBI agent.
When the case agent tries to keep March under control, he knows there is more to the murder than the FBI is admitting. March refuses to let the investigation go and does some deeper digging.
As March and his partner pursue the gun smuggling aspect of the case, March watches in horror as his partner is gunned down. He grabs an automatic from the recently discovered stash. One pull on the trigger and his partner's killer is down. But there were so many bullet wounds, March is put on administrative leave and is under internal investigation.
But he cannot let the investigation go. The deeper he goes on his own time, the more he finds the FBI has something to hide. He follows the guns to Mexico where it all goes bad.

Nothing to Hide is the next in the series featuring the hard boiled detective Roland March. This serious is not for the weak stomached. There are lots of gun fights and slicing of flesh. Roland March is not a Christian but his wife is. Christianity and Christian beliefs pop up here and there but are not central to the plot. This would be the kind of novel you could recommend to your unsaved detective mystery loving friend with a view to discussing it.

The plot is very complex, with hidden personalities and many subplots. Sometimes I got a bit impatient with the complexity of the whole thing.
There were a few places in the book where I felt the action wasn't quite right. I was most disappointed in the ending. As in a B western, the calvary comes over the hill and saves March from what appears to be an impossible situation. Ugh.

If you like hard boiled detective stories, you'll probably like this one. While it is not the first in the series, this novel can be read on its own. There are allusions to earlier novels but this plot reads well by itself.

Bethany House Publishers, 330 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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