Betrayal of Justice

A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - Legal
340 Pages
Reviewed on 08/31/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mark M. Bello has been an attorney for 40 years and is the author of the Readers' Favorite 2017 Award winning novel, Betrayal of Faith, A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller. Mark lives in West Bloomfield, MI and has been married for 42 years to his wife, Tobye. The couple has 4 adult children and 8 grandchildren. Mark's novels are dedicated to all of his colleagues and their clients, who fight their own David v. Goliath battles, every day, in courtrooms all over the world.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite

Betrayal of Justice, the taut new legal thriller by Mark M. Bello, is positively chilling in its political acuity. Ronald John, the newly-elected President of the United States and poster boy of white Christians the country over, is about to put into action his campaign rhetoric by deporting all illegals and putting up walls to keep all those unwanted out. In general, he’s about to inflict his bigotry and Islamophobia on the masses, all in the name of bringing back a “pure America”. Keith Blackwell, a white supremacist and grandson of a former Ku Klux Klansman, wholeheartedly supports the President’s agenda and gleefully launches his own clandestine attacks on two unsuspecting Muslim women, before bombing a local mosque with a Molotov cocktail. Arya Khan, a young American woman, watches in fear as all Muslims suddenly come under fire. Seeing seemingly little action by the police department, she decides to take matters into her own hands – only to soon find herself standing over the body of a dead white supremacist, holding the ‘smoking gun’, so to speak. Formally charged and jailed, and with the President actively seeking to deport her immigrant parents, Arya must put her trust in the hands of trial attorney, Zachary Blake…

Few will argue that Betrayal of Justice is art imitating life. However, what really gives this story its substance is the author’s ability to tell it from different points of view. We, as readers, are intimately in the mindset of the characters and, in essence, we learn what makes each character tick, their prejudices and even their frailties. It’s a complex story and Bello would be doing it an injustice if he only presented a one-dimensional viewpoint. There are also a great many moving parts to the story yet the author manages to keep each one going in such a way that the events, as they unfold, compel us to keep reading further. Betrayal of Justice also presents a series of characters from different walks of life. Who they are and what their special skill sets are serve to enhance the story. Although Bello pulls it off with seemingly no effort, it takes skill and research to create key members of a special task force and make every aspect of their jobs sound credible. With solid characterization, crisp dialogue and plenty of action, Bello manages to find the right balance between these three key elements.

Whether we agree with the motivations of the different characters, or whether we hate or love them is not the point. Betrayal of Justice is intended to open our eyes and our minds to the hate and prejudices that lurk in our own backyards. Utterly timely and superbly crafted, this second installment in the Zachary Blake Betrayal legal series is a must-read for legal junkies and political aficionados alike.

Viga Boland

In light of what has happened in the US since Donald Trump became president, and especially in reflection on mid-August 2017 historical events in West Virginia, reading Betrayal of Justice by Mark. M. Bello at the same time Charlottesville was happening is an eerie experience. In fact, it’s enough to make one believe in parallel universes! While you are caught up in a legal thriller about what results when a fictional president, Ronald John, is elected, and his mandate is to “Make America Pure Again”, in our real world, white supremacists are clashing with those who believe in equality for all. In both the fictional world of Betrayal of Justice and the current real world of Trump’s USA, death and loss of innocent lives result.

Betrayal of Justice is obviously Mark M. Bello’s effort to explore and expound upon the ramifications of Donald Trump’s bid to save the USA from terrorists. The plot is focused on the wrongful arrest of a beautiful young Muslim woman, Arya, for the death of a white neo-Nazi. All the evidence points to her guilt. The timing is also perfect for President Ronald John to enforce his edict to deport law-abiding US citizens back to their original countries. As Arya’s lawyer and his colleagues search for ways to prove Arya’s innocence, and an immigration lawyer fights for her parents’ right to stay in the US, the actual murderer looks like he will indeed get away with murder, and his white supremacist group can continue to fulfill Ronald John’s mandate to make America pure again. What a complex and intriguing plot for a legal thriller!

Mark M. Bello is an accomplished writer and a lawyer. He skilfully combines his knowledge of both fields with a genuine compassion for and sensitivity to people of all races and colours to create believable and realistic characters. On the down side, but only for those who prefer to read fiction with fast-moving plots, Bello believes in providing lengthy back stories on the key players in his novel. He enjoys reflecting on social, cultural and religious concerns via rhetoric delivered by several knowledgeable characters in Betrayal of Justice. He allows himself the pleasure of presenting and exploring all sides of legal issues. Such asides, while interesting, do slow down the pace and tension of this novel. But apart from that, as Bello brings Betrayal of Justice to a satisfying and realistic conclusion, readers will be fascinated with the novel’s parallels to the situations and people of every social standing in the USA of 2017. Enjoy!

Sefina Hawke

Betrayal of Justice (A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller) by Mark M. Bello is a legal thriller that would appeal most to a diverse audience of mature young adults and adults who enjoy reading about legal battles and mysteries on the topic of religious freedom, and who do not mind some mature content. Arya Khan is a young American woman who was investigating the fire bombing of a local mosque when she finds herself being framed for murder. Not only is she being framed for a crime she did not commit, but also the President himself is working to have her parents deported. Zachary Blake is brought in to represent Arya, but in order to free, her he is going to have to overcome racism, persecution, and a white supremacy group. Will Zachary be able to find justice for his client in an America that has already determined her guilt based on her being a Muslim?

Betrayal of Justice (A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller) by Mark M. Bello is a well-written book that reminded me a bit of the Law and Order TV shows with how it combined elements of police work and legal work in the story. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to enjoy and understand the story line, even though I did not read the previous book, Betrayal of Faith. I found the story to be a cautionary tale and it really hit home for me the dangers of having a president who is against certain religions and races, and how such a thing could serve as an inspiration for people to commits acts of racism. My favorite part was when Zach met Arya for the first time in the police station; the feeling that she got when he told her that he was her attorney really touched me because she finally had a bit of hope that someone was going to help her. Overall, I found the book to be a very interesting read and I would definitely like to see more of Zachary Blake in the future!

Jane Finch

Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller by Mark M. Bello tells the story of Arya Khan who is wrongly charged with murder, basically because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the mosque in her community is fire-bombed, she decides to try to find the person responsible herself as she feels the authorities are not doing everything they could to find the guilty party. Her investigations lead her to Keith Blackwell, but whilst she is watching his home she witnesses his murder. Calling the emergency services first, she then races to the scene to try to assist the victim, but it is too late. The police arrive to find her holding the murder weapon and covered in blood. Enter Zachary Blake, who resolves to prove her innocence.

The author, Mark M Bello, either has a good knowledge of the legal system in America, or has carried out a vast amount of research. There is a lot of complex technical data and quite a large part of the first third of the book is spent on character development on a somewhat complex story arc. There are a number of other scenarios going on within the main plot, with issues around the intransigent attitude of a new president, the underhanded and ruthless actions of white supremacists, all wrapped around religious intolerance and a confused society. Add to this that the subject matter is particularly relevant and significant to recent events in America and you have a crime thriller that will enthrall lovers of this genre.

Lucinda E Clarke

Betrayal of Justice by Mark M. Bello is the second book in the Zachary Blake series and once again the lawyer is consulted on a case when, after her local mosque is blown up, Arya, a young Arab woman, is wrongly accused of murder. This lifts the lid on the feelings in the Detroit area featuring racial tension, which is further compounded by a recent presidential Executive Order which demands the expulsion of many Muslims from the United States. Then an expulsion order is issued on members of the family to force them to return to Yemen.

I loved this book, especially as it is so up to date. I guessed that the author is a lawyer of some standing and he knows the law. The story is well-told, and it kept me turning the pages – I read it in two days. The characters are well-drawn and believable and the author writes from both viewpoints; those who advocate religious and racial harmony and the exact opposite beliefs of the white supremacists whose role model now occupies the highest position in the land. A great deal of research has gone into this book and the legal aspects of both cases are clearly explained. In some places, for example, the inter-faith church meeting speeches are a little long, but possibly necessary for the depth of the subject matter to be fully explored. We feel for Arya as a very human heroine, and partway through I was about to get angry with her until I read a few more pages and her actions were explained. A thoroughly enjoyable book, and well worth five stars.

Arya Fomonyuy

Compelling, hypnotic, highly seductive are just some of the adjectives to describe Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller by Mark M. Bello, a real page-turner with a well-crafted political setting, a national crisis, and a woman’s search for justice in a merciless world. After his election, the new American president vows to restore the country to its former purity and this spells danger for some select groups of people, including Muslims. A white supremacist bombs a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, someone kills him, and a young Muslim woman is arrested for the crime while her parents face deportation. Follow “kick-ass attorney” Zachary Blake as he works hard to prove the woman’s innocence in a setting where unpredictable things could happen at any time.

Mark M. Bello has a unique and strong narrative voice and it comes across as ebullient and compelling. The story begins with a powerful hook, the president’s speech, which immediately catches the reader’s interest because it establishes the conflict and introduces readers to the themes. I loved the drama, the well-developed conflict, the memorable characters, and the unexpected twists in the story. It is hard to enjoy this well-written thriller without reflecting on current happenings in the US. Readers will enjoy the social commentaries and the author’s ability to infuse critical questions and realism into the writing. Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller is the story of a woman’s search for justice, but it is also the tale of a nation that is slowly departing from its key values. It is entertaining and gripping.

Christian Sia

Deliciously plotted and compulsively readable, Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller by Mark M. Bello is the perfect treat for fans of political and legal thrillers, a veritable success in the genre. The new American president has just made a powerful promise to his electorate: “Make America Pure Again.” The promise is loud and clear and a white supremacist actualizes the words by bombing a local mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. The bomber is murdered and all fingers point at Arya Khan, a young Muslim woman who tries to investigate the crime. While she is being charged for the crime, her parents are to be deported, thanks to the president’s orders. The reader follows Zachary Blake as he fights to get justice for the young Arya while a supremacist group is determined to bury the truth.

This is a thriller with a complex plot and fascinating characters. I was pulled into the narrative right off the bat as I read the president’s inaugural speech. The story is quickly paced and the reader is engrossed by the intense action and the well-crafted scenes. I enjoyed the relevant themes and couldn’t help being impressed by how the author weaves the theme of white supremacy into the plot, a theme that has become a very crucial point of discussion by the public with the Trump administration. Mark M. Bello’s writing is impeccable and the phraseology is rendered so neatly that readers will enjoy it. Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller is an engrossing read, well-constructed with powerful scenes and magnetic characters. Bello is a master of intrigue and entertainment.

Divine Zape

Some thrillers entertain readers and have them shaking their heads and saying: “It was a great read.” But there are some that get readers asking questions, caring for the characters, and thinking beyond the story. Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller by Mark M. Bello is one such thriller, well-crafted to capture a powerful crisis in the American political environment. In this thriller, the author carefully examines the problem of racism, exclusion, and intolerance in American society.

A new president has just been elected and he has very radical views, including a commitment to "Make America Pure Again,” just like Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” and from his inaugural speech that has everyone spellbound and awed, things begin to happen very fast. But those who suffer most are the Muslims and it seems that the president is hell-bent on getting them out of the country. A white supremacist who has just bombed a local Muslim mosque in Dearborn, Michigan gets killed, and a young Muslim woman, Arya Khan, is arrested for the crime. Meanwhile, President Ronald John covertly orders the deportation of her immigrant parents. Can Zachary Blake beat the cover up game and establish the innocence of a Muslim woman in an America that is fast becoming intolerant and overtly racist?

Mark M. Bello has written a compelling, engaging, and highly entertaining thriller, a story that will have readers’ eyes fixed on the pages while their minds draw parallels to history and the current social dilemmas the American people are facing. The writing is awesome and the narrative voice very strong and irresistible. Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller is a beautifully paced and well-plotted political thriller that feels so real that the reader has the feeling of participating in a fragment of history. An exciting read, indeed.

Romuald Dzemo

Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller by Mark M. Bello is a well-crafted thriller that will entertain readers and one that brilliantly conveys the powerful message that any belief thought to be superior to others breeds intolerance, fanaticism, and extremist tendencies. The American people have just elected a new president who proclaims a slogan of restoring the purity of the nation, and as if to pay him homage, a white supremacist bombs a local mosque. But then the criminal gets murdered and a young Muslim woman, Arya Khan, is held responsible for it. The president orders the deportation of her immigrant parents. The reader is taken on a swift ride involving a dangerous investigation, cover up, and an innocent woman’s unrelenting quest for justice.

This is a powerful thriller with compelling themes, infused with a deep sense of realism, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the current American political landscape and the drama that is taking place in today’s America. The impassioned speech from President Ronald John that opens this narrative is well-crafted and immediately introduces readers to the themes. I could feel echoes of Donald Trump in it. But there is more that readers will love in this gripping story. The characters are well-developed and readers will enjoy Zachary Blake, the man who represents Arya Khan. The political and social settings come across beautifully through the narrative. From the writing to the tight and well-paced plot, to the memorable characters, the reader is swept off their feet, racing from each mesmerizing page to the next gripping one, wanting to know how the conflict ends. Mark M. Bello shows great storytelling skills and Betrayal of Justice: A Zachary Blake Betrayal Legal Thriller is a one that is as entertaining as it is mind-boggling. A realistic political thriller!

Lex Allen

In Betrayal of Justice, Mark M. Bello establishes a background that mirrors the recent past and current political climate in the United States. An egomaniacal, white supremacist has been elected president and promises to “rid America of the Muslim scourge,” regardless of their citizenship or immigrant status. Arya Khan is an American citizen, born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Yemen. She is concerned with the direction the new president has set for the country. When her mosque is firebombed and authorities are slow to react, Arya pays a visit to the police department. There, through a series of lucky events, she learns the name of the prime suspect and determines to seek him out. She finds him dead, is caught “red-handed” at the scene, and charged with his murder. Zachary Blake, a successful Jewish lawyer, takes on her case. From that point onward, Bello shifts the story into high gear in an engaging and insightful courtroom/crime drama that’s virtually inseparable from the reality of today’s political and legal climate in America.

Bello’s professional background in law lends itself perfectly to this fiction genre. He writes with obvious authority and knowledge of criminal, investigative and courtroom subjects, mixing reality with a fictional story that jumps right off the current front pages of newspapers and daily television newscasts across the country. Betrayal of Justice is an appropriate title for this real life drama that could cover thousands of factual stories and incidences today. Mr. Bello is adept in portraying characters that exemplify real life people on both sides of the explosive, current event issues that are rocking the roots of America today. Fiction is often the best channel for presenting a clear and unforgettable image to any authentic situation. With Betrayal of Justice, Mark Bello has accomplished this presentation in spades.