Nothing to Hide, by J. Mark Bertrand.

In the third installment in J. Mark Bertrand’s excellent crime series about Houston police detective Roland March, we find March examining the body of a man dumped on a basketball court. The body’s head is missing, and both hands have been skinned. March’s former enemy – now his friend and partner – Jerry Lorenz, thinks there might be some significance in the fact that one of the fleshless hands is arranged as if pointing. March jumps a ditch to investigate, falling and injuring his back. And there don’t seem to be any clues in that direction.

But it’s early yet.

Nothing to Hide takes March on a dangerous and tragic ride that reintroduces him to antagonists from his own past, and forces him to push the edge of the law in order to pursue the impartial justice he demands for every victim, and for which he’s willing to put his life and freedom on the line. An interesting sideline is that part of the plot anticipates the ATF’s disastrous “Fast and Furious” program, although the book was written before that scandal was made public.

Strong stuff. I salute Bethany House for publishing a series so far beyond the usual standard of Christian fiction, both in quality and in subject matter. The Christian elements are there, as an integral part of the story, but the purpose here is to tell stories about the truth, not to present a gospel tract to the reader.

The book works fine as a stand-alone, but there’s a definite story arc in connection with the previous novels in the series. I’m contemplating re-reading them all to get the sweep of the thing. Highly recommended, with cautions for disturbing content.

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