The Final Steps

A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
247 Pages
Reviewed on 03/15/2023
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Author Biography

Mark M. Bello has 46 years experience as a trial lawyer . He is the Award-winning author of eight Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thriller Novels, a Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery, and 2 Children's safety/social justice picture books. He's also written a Jewish recipe cookbook. Mark hosts a twice a month podcast entitled "Justice Counts, with fascinating guests on the topic of J-U-S-T-I-C-E and how to make sure it applies to all, equally. Mark is also a Certified Civil Mediator specializing in lawsuit finance litigation alternative dispute resolution.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite

The Final Steps: A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery by Mark M. Bello is the perfect whodunnit for a night under the stars or in front of a fire. Rosaline Maxwell is a retired attorney and judge, looking forward to her book tour around the country. Years of experience have shown Rosaline the flaws in the justice system, and so she set out to write about the miscarriage of justice that results in wrongful incarceration. It’s this valuable experience that Rosaline’s best friend Tyler Guthrie needs most when he is accused of murdering a coworker. Can Rosaline prevent her friend from landing behind bars as she’s seen so many innocent victims do? Even if she could, the real killer is still out there, happily slipping under the radar. But the killer’s luck might just have run out with Rosaline and Tyler on the case.

The Final Steps was such an entertaining novel. Rosaline came across as a wise and compassionate character, and if I ever got wrongfully convicted or was even suspected of something as heinous as murder, I’d want Rosaline on my side. Her love for her friend shows strongly as she puts in the time and effort to exonerate him. Mark M. Bello does throw in a few twists and turns in this legal mystery, so much so that you are never really sure who is innocent or guilty. He showcases his extensive knowledge of police procedures and legalese in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. The book is pure enjoyment and a bona fide puzzle until the final pages when all the pieces fall into place.

Emma Megan

The Final Steps: A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery by Mark M. Bello is a gripping crime mystery about a murder case that highlights big flaws in the criminal justice system. Rosaline Maxwell is a retired defense attorney and judge. Currently, she's an author on a book tour and an advocate for wrongfully convicted and imprisoned people. When Rosaline meets Kevin Johnstone, she thinks he is a fine and quite charming man, but her friend, Tyler Guthrie, seems to detest him. However, when Kevin's dead body is found on campus, Tyler becomes the prime suspect. When one of Tyler's personal items is discovered in the middle of the murder scene, Rosaline suddenly gets involved in the murder case. She intends to prove her friend's innocence but what if Tyler is found guilty? Are there other people in danger too?

The Final Steps is the first book I have read by this attorney, social justice advocate, and award-winning author Mark M. Bello. I am impressed with the book's provocative yet serious message. Mark M. Bello has certainly earned my respect and has a new fan. I appreciate the author's diligence in delivering such a fascinating book on the flaws in our criminal justice system that have resulted, at times, in the incarceration of many innocent victims. This novel brings hope and inspiration to those fighting for justice for the innocent when the victims are incapable of advocating for themselves. I loved following Rosaline Maxwell in her quest for the truth and the brief introduction given of the murderer's voice in the book. I highly recommend this author.

Alma Boucher

The Final Steps: A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery by Mark M. Bello informs readers that Roseline Maxwell has just written a fascinating book and has been asked by the local college to give a talk. Her friend Tyler Guthrie, the president of the college, asks for her help when he is arrested for the murder of a colleague. Roseline constructs a timeline that proves Tyler did not commit the murder, and he is released. Roseline contacts her friend Charlie, a private detective, to help her and Tyler with their investigation into the murder. Roseline receives a death threat and her vehicle's brake pipe is cut to scare her into dropping her inquiries. There is no way Roseline is going to stop now. The murderer must be found, and justice must prevail.

The Final Steps is more than just a legal thriller. Mark M. Bello planned an intriguing plot that was excellently written. It was easy to lose myself in the story. The storyline had my interest from the start and kept me on the edge of my seat. With all the twists and turns, I never knew what to expect and I could not put it down once I started reading. I just kept turning the pages, afraid I would miss something. It was fast-paced and action-packed. The characters were well-developed. They were unique and real people who were relatable. The humor between the characters made reading more fun. The identity of the killer was a major revelation and I didn't expect it at all.

Pikasho Deka

Sleuth mystery lovers are in for a treat with Mark M. Bello's The Final Steps: A Harbor Springs Cozy Legal Mystery. After publishing her first book to rave reviews, retired judge Rosaline Maxwell finds herself forced to investigate a murder case when her old friend, Tyler Guthrie, is arrested on a murder charge. The victim, college professor Kevin Johnstone, was pushed from a building, resulting in his death. While all the evidence points to Tyler, Rosaline takes it upon herself to find the real culprit and free her friend from the clutches of the law. As she follows the trail of clues, she discovers secrets relating to the victim that may have dire consequences. Rosaline's determination to find the truth might soon put her own life in danger. Will she be able to clear her friend's name?

If you like murder mysteries with lots of twists and turns, The Final Steps is just the book for you. Mark M. Bello weaves a gripping yarn that captivates you from the first page and refuses to let go until the end. The narrative is fast-paced, and Bello's prose makes it a breeze to read. What impressed me most about the book was the way that the characters reacted to the situations in which they landed. Everything felt believable, and that enhanced my enjoyment of the story. Rosaline is an intriguing protagonist and someone to look up to. A fantastic murder mystery that sleuth story lovers can enjoy. I sure did.