Betrayal High


Fiction - Thriller - Legal
304 Pages
Reviewed on 08/16/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

As an attorney and civil justice advocate, author Mark M. Bello draws upon over 40 years of courtroom experience in his Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series.

A Michigan native, Mark received his B.A. in English Literature from Oakland University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. After working extremely high profile legal cases, Mark wanted to give the public a front-row glimpse of what victims face when standing up for justice.

Combining his legal experience and passion for justice with a creative writing style, Mark not only brings high-quality legal services to his clients but captivating novels to his readers.

When Mark’s not writing legal and political novels, he writes and posts about fairness and justice in the civil justice system on his website, Legal Examiner and Injury Board. In his spare time, Mark enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. Mark and his wife, Tobye, have four children and 8 grandchildren.

Mark loves hearing from his readers! Drop him a line on the Contact page or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or Bookbub.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Eeva Lancaster for Readers' Favorite

Mark M. Bello's Betrayal High delves into the topic of bullying and the consequences at its core. Kevin Burns has been bullied all his life, and moving into the affluent neighborhood of Bloomfield did not help. Kevin's family did not fit in, and neither did he. They made fun of him in all possible ways. One day, the young man decides he's had enough. He takes his father's guns, goes to school, and shoots the bullies. He would've killed more if not for a teenager who prevented him from doing so. This is where the legal battle starts. High profile lawyer Zach Blake's son was the teenager who stopped Burns from killing more people and he got shot in the process. For Blake, it's personal. He goes after the arms dealers and questions the 2nd Amendment. Who should be allowed to buy weapons and are the restrictions being followed?

This legal drama was absolutely page-turning. Mark M. Bello showed the points of view of all sides and it was interesting to see the motivations of all parties involved. Powerful people are involved, and it goes as high as the President of the United States. You can imagine the suspense as each faction tries to get out of the situation. How far will they go to protect their own interests? And what about Kevin Burns? Is he fit to stand trial? Did he suffer a mental breakdown or was his murderous rampage planned and intentional? Did he feel remorse? Should he be pitied or condemned? One of the best legal thrillers I've read, Betrayal High kept me entangled in the story. It's relevant, well-written, perfectly paced, and an engaging read from page one. Highly recommended!

Darryl Greer

Since 1970 there have been over 1,300 school shooting incidents in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths. In addition to the killings, there are numerous woundings and psychological injuries. Author Mark M. Bello has set his latest novel Betrayal High against that background, adding another layer to the story by focussing on the bullying which led to the incident that features in the opening chapters. The perpetrator in the story is Kevin Burns who hails from a dysfunctional family, has nothing going for him in the looks and personality department, and has suffered from extensive bullying at school, even from a teacher. One day he has had enough, arms himself to the teeth, and descends upon his high school in Bloomfield, Michigan where he wreaks havoc, leaving nine dead and many wounded in his wake. One of his victims, also a friend, is Kenny Tracey whose step-father is Zack Blake, a high profile attorney. Blake sets out to get justice for the victims and at the same time to expose the obvious absurdity in American gun laws. But one of his defendants is a powerful arms manufacturer who has friends in high places – very high places – and Zack is about to find out the cost of bringing such powerful people to justice.

Although at times it might be necessary to suspend disbelief, Betrayal High is nonetheless a powerful story, a real page-turner, and correctly slotted into the thriller category. The story could be ripped straight from today’s headlines, with American school shootings all too commonplace. The prologue hooks the reader straight into the story and the intrigue doesn’t let up until the dénouement. It is particularly interesting that Mark M. Bello links bullying to the cause of the shooting. The characterization is good and one can easily emphasize with the views of Zack Blake and his step-son Kenny and learn to hate the CEO of the arms manufacturer who will stop at nothing to get his company’s weapons into the hands of as many as possible, irrespective of for what purpose the arms will be used. Recommended for readers of thrillers and those interested – from either side of the debate – in America’s gun laws in general, school shootings in particular.

K.C. Finn

Betrayal High: A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller is a work of fiction in the suspense, interpersonal drama, and legal thriller sub-genres, and was penned by author Mark M. Bello. For trial lawyer Zachary Blake, his hometown area of Bloomfield, Michigan has always been affluent and thoroughly pleasant, until a high school shooting by local boy Kevin Burns devastates the community. As Zach delves into the case to find justice for the victims, what results is a conspiracy much larger than the pain of one bullied young man. As the plot expands and powerful dark politics become involved, Zach once again finds himself facing his nemesis and fighting for the justice of a hometown and nation.

Author Mark M. Bello has crafted another stellar work in the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller series, delivering this fifth installment with as much as emotion, heart, and shocking conspiracy as ever. The work certainly expands the horizons of the legal thriller, mixing genres into deep personal drama, psychological and emotional plot lines, and a sociocultural viewpoint on current society that adds a truly chilling touch of realism beneath the fictional plot. The characters were well-drawn so that both the good and evildoers had realistic motivations and narrative presentation, and the plot is well crafted to unravel at just the right moments for its many intriguing discoveries and new twists in the case. Overall, I would highly recommend Betrayal High for fans of the existing series, and newcomers seeking accomplished legal thriller fiction that delivers more and more satisfaction with every turn of the page.

Susan Sewell

A bullied teenager takes revenge on the institution that he feels is to blame for his torment and anguish by taking his father's guns to school and killing students and teachers alike, in the legal thriller, Betrayal High by Mark M. Bello. When Kevin Burns goes on a killing spree at school, high school senior Kenneth Tracey takes him down. His heroic action earns him a bullet wound and the respect of the community. Kenny's step-father Zack, a high powered attorney, is so angry that he starts lawsuits against those he feels are responsible for the atrocity, most specifically the company that manufactured the guns. Kenny, wanting to work in tandem with Zack, opts out of college for a year to spearhead a legislative agenda for better gun laws. When Kevin is on trial, a significant aspect of his case leads Zack to an unexpected link between The Dark Web, the firearms manufacturer, and the President of the United States. Suddenly, Kenny finds himself a target. Will he survive? Or will he die trying to change the world?

Betrayal High by Mark M. Bello is an intense and intriguing legal novel about the desire for better gun laws. The story is an impressive and unforgettable portrayal of the effects and consequences of unimpeded bullying. The courtroom scenes are thrilling and dramatic, especially Kevin Burns's sentencing; it was heartrending. Flowing at an even pace, the story is related through engaging dialogue, fascinating facts regarding gun legislation, and stimulating legal scenes. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy detailed legalities and courtroom drama.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Betrayal High by Mark M. Bello is a legal thriller. Kevin Burns has reached the end of his tether. Kevin has had enough of the bullying. Kevin is about to get his revenge and he has a gun – his father’s gun, to be precise. Zachary Blake is a trial lawyer living in Bloomfield, Michigan. Bloomfield is the envy of all other school districts until Kevin gets his revenge. Blake wants answers. His own son was a victim and he wants to know how Kevin got his hands on the guns. How could a kid have access to a cache of weapons like that? The sellers are keeping their part in this undercover. After all, not only are they powerful in the political world, they also have the protection of the second amendment. Don’t they? And where does Zach’s nemesis, Ronald John, now POTUS, fit into this? Can Zach uncover a dark conspiracy? Can he bring the real killers to justice?

Betrayal High by Mark M Bello is one of the best legal thrillers I have read in a while. Not only does the author’s legal background come across succinctly, but he also deals with real societal issues, such as bullying and gun use. The characters are real people that you can relate to, people that you want to cheer on and root for all the way; even to a certain extent Kevin Burns. Yes, he may have exacted revenge in a manner that is all too familiar these days, but sometimes you have to look behind the face to find the real story. This story has a great plot, plenty of tense action, twists, turns, and is fast-paced. In fact, it's got everything a good legal thriller should have and you won't want to put it down.