Betrayal in Black

A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - Legal
279 Pages
Reviewed on 08/23/2020
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 Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

If you’re a fan of courtroom procedurals, you can always count on Mark M. Bello to provide you with a detailed look at what usually only the lawyers, the judges, the accused, the jurors, and the immediate families witness. In Betrayal in Black, Bello brings us face to face with one of today’s hottest topics: the racial divide in America, when a white cop pulls over a car with a law-abiding black family inside and in a moment of panic shoots and kills the father in front of his wife and children. What follows is a step-by-step accounting of the hours following the shooting i.e. local police procuring details of the incident, the heartbreaking reactions of the victim’s wife, the media frenzy to be the first to scoop the story, and as in the recent real-life case of the horrific and unnecessary death of George Floyd, the subsequent protests.

In Betrayal in Black, the devastated widow hires a high-profile trial lawyer, Zachary Blake, to represent her in a civil suit. While awaiting the Grand Jury’s decision on whether to indict him, the suspended cop agonizes over his personal culpability while his fellow police officers deal with their own conflicting feelings regarding the shooting. Readers are enlightened on the legal implications and are emotionally moved by what all the key players, including Zachary Blake, are feeling and thinking. Once the case hits the courtroom, we see in precise detail how lawyers win and lose cases. That, for me, is one of the best things about reading a novel by Mark Bello. In typical Bello fashion, apart from an interesting story, expect to also get Bello’s own thoughts on racism through the words and actions of his characters. It’s a clever way to give readers more to think about than just the plot. Bello uses dialogue, for the most part, to move his story along, resulting in a quick read that comes to a satisfying close. Mark Bello’s legal fiction fans will no doubt enjoy Betrayal in Black as much as his several previous books. Indulge yourselves!

K.C. Finn

Betrayal in Black: A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller is a work of fiction in the socio-political, cultural, and legal thriller sub-genres, and was penned by author Mark M. Bello. Although it is the fourth tale in this series of crime and legal thrillers, each work can be read as a standalone mission for our forthright hero Zachary. In this especially poignant work, we explore the chaos that ensues when a black man is pulled over by a white police officer, resulting in the driver’s shooting and subsequent death. As a community in crisis enlists Zachary to help, so begins a fight for justice that takes on global consequences as bigger issues rise up everywhere.

Author Mark M. Bello presents an excellent work which really deeply questions the nature of justice, and is a necessary read during the current times to help us all make sense of the flaws in the justice systems around the world. One of the strongest features in this novel is representation and the central voice of the community. The author does a good job of delivering arguments and conflict from both sides of the divide, but ultimately the central message is a powerful and emotive uprising and cry against systemic racism. Readers are sure to follow this case tensely as it plays out, delivering some really excellent dialogue scenes and emotional outpourings. Overall, I would highly recommend Betrayal in Black to readers who want legal thrillers about issues that really matter and touch our hearts in real life as well as fiction.

Ankita Shukla

Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello revolves around the legal aftermath of a "driving while black" tragedy. Marcus Hayes was driving with his wife, Sarah, and two kids in the back seat. He had been obeying the traffic rules. So, when a cop indicated him to pull his car over, he was shocked. On the advice of his wife, he voluntarily told the cop that he was carrying a gun legally. However, his honesty did not sit well with Officer Randall Jones. The office panicked and shot the man in front of his wife and kids. Fortunately, Sarah Hayes had recorded the disturbing events on her camera. Soon, the news of a white cop shooting a black man made the headlines and a demand for justice erupted in the form of protests. Sarah approached Zachary Blake, a high-profile attorney, to help her get justice for her husband. Subsequently, new truths revealed the underlying seed of racism among numerous cops in the force.

Although Betrayal in Black deals with the sensitive issue of racism, Mark M. Bello did not undermine the devotion of good cops. Day after day, these cops put their lives on the line to keep their citizens safe. And for that, the author has praised them again and again. Yet, he did not shy away from highlighting the mostly justified apprehension of "driving while black." Mark M. Bello has gone above and beyond by including all the possible legal proceedings, including a grand jury, depositions, etc, that made the plot more realistic. Officer Randall Jones' struggle with accepting his own motives behind shooting Marcus Hayes added an extra layer of complex human nature. It would have been easy to simply portray him as a biased cop, but the author did not take the easy road. As far as the characters are concerned, Zachary Blake impressed the most. His mannerism and no-nonsense attitude made him a memorable character. Readers with an interest in books that highlight social issues and the intricacies of a legal battle will be gripped while reading Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello.

Deborah Lloyd

Marcus and Sarah Hayes and their two little children were headed home after a day at the fair. When Officer Randy Jones saw two African American adults in the predominantly white neighborhood, he thought they may be the Burger King robbery suspects. The shooting of Marcus by a white police officer in a small Michigan town outside Detroit received national coverage. Sarah decided to fight by suing the police department and the city by filing a civil lawsuit. She hired a high-profile attorney, Zachary Blake. He and his investigator, Micah Love, provided the support and advice she needed. In Betrayal in Black, Mark M. Bello wrote a brilliant story comprising a complex examination of systemic racism in America and how these horrific incidents have long-lasting personal effects.

There are many topics included in this book such as police procedures and training; how races continue to be treated differently by those in authority, as well as the media; the ripple effects of a racist president; the different positions of several movements; the legal system. There is a great deal of imparted information illustrating the many faces of racism more fully. Readers will be greatly touched by Sarah’s emotional reactions, and determination to find justice. Author Mark M. Bello has written an exciting – and important – novel in Betrayal in Black. Although it was published in December 2019, it is even more relevant right now. This is a book that cannot be put down once started. This poignant story is truly unforgettable - a must-read during these unsettling times.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is a legal thriller. Two young black men rob a Burger King. A short while later, Marcus Hayes is driving through town with his wife and two children when he is pulled over by Officer Randy Jones. Asked for his ID, Hayes tells the officer he carries a gun legally and all hell breaks loose. Jones panics and shoots Hayes, all caught on video. The headlines scream racism – Hayes was black, while the police officer was white. Zach Blake is hired to bring a case against City Hall and the police force for wrongful death. Was it murder or was it accidental shooting? Will the police force lie to cover up the truth? And where does President Ron John fit in?

Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is another cracking read from a talented author. This one is very close to home, given current events with the BLM protests and it deals with the subject very well, not just the shooting but race relations in general. This story grabs your attention from the first page, dragging you right into the action, making you feel like you are right there, watching first-hand what goes down. From the outset, it's action all the way, never letting up, with a great plot. There are lots of twists and turns, some you won't see coming, all that lead you through a nail-biting tale with an ending that will make you want to scream. The characters are well-rounded, all developed fully and likable, relatable people. This is a great story; if you’re already a fan of Mark Bello, you’ll love this. First-time readers will likely find themselves with a new favorite author.