John Russell is a homicide detective currently working on a case that involves a young boy who has been missing from the state foster system for six years. The case has become so hot, the Governor has gotten involved. Now it's down to him and his partners to track down the culprit. They have a list of suspects, but strange circumstances are not making it easy. This is all compounded by a man from John's past showing up in his family's driveway. He was a man John never wanted to see again-and thought he would never see again. This man opens up old scars and old wounds and drives a wedge between John and his family and God. He buries himself in the case because it's the only thing he can control at the moment. He hangs all his hopes on the case and becomes obsessed with justice-so obsessed that he begins to make crucial mistakes.
As the first book in the Truth Chasers series, a lot of things are decided in this book. Rolling Thunder introduces the characters and lets the reader know how well they will be developed. John is an imperfect lead in a position where a perfect male lead could be placed. He makes plenty of mistakes, enough to be realistic and convincing. Unfortunately, John is the only good character, but this can be blamed on the fact that this is a debut novel.
Mark shows off his expertise in the field of homicide investigating by crafting a realistic, believable case, complete with dead ends, false clues, rabbit trails, and incorrect suspects. The case is not straightforward like many amateur authors would make it. Mark knows the inner workings of cases, and he makes sure the reader knows that. Because of this realism, Mark introduces originality into the plot that other authors would not create. There are at least five small original aspects of the case, and this is a huge favor in Mark's direction.
The problems begin to surface when the last chapters roll around. Mark chooses to fix two major problems instead of just letting them alone. However, the end of the case is highly original and realistic, saving the book from a lower rating. But the end takes away John's flawed personality and paints him as a saint with a last ditch effort. It also destroys the basis for the original title in a short sentence that can easily be missed.
It is clear that Mark has some work to do, but one can hardly go wrong with the original potential Mark has.