Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Betrayal at the Border by Mark M. Bello @JusticeFellow @GoddessFish

Betrayal at the Border

by Mark M. Bello

GENRE: Legal, Political Thriller


In Betrayal at the Border, attorney Zachary Blake returns to tackle two cases that strike at the heart of our nation's contentious immigration debate.

In Riverview, Michigan, undocumented immigrants Miguel and Mary Carmen Gonzalez are determined to realize the American dream. They find jobs at a local filler plant, have children, and lead an all-American life, that is until ICE raids their plant . . .

Canan and Karim Izady are naturalized citizens of the United States. They have immigrated legally from Kurdistan and have an American born daughter, Hana. Unable to persuade her mother to follow the young family to America, Canan and Hana travel to an ISIS hotbed so the child may meet her grandmother for the first time. With the war over, what could possibly go wrong?

Two unique immigrant families, two uniquely dangerous consequences of America’s dysfunctional immigration system. Enter Zachary Blake, superstar lawyer.

But, for the first time in a long time, Blake is out of his element—immigration law calls for the expertise of his specialist/partner, Marshall Mann. Together, two extraordinary lawyers take on a terrorist network and a broken immigration system. And master investigator Micah Love returns, racing against the clock to prevent tragic circumstances. In our politically charged, anti-immigrant international climate, will a Hail Mary be their only move?

Award-winning legal thriller author, Mark M. Bello, pits our nation's broken immigration system against important human and social justice rights issues, spinning a tale that shines a bright light on the everyday fears of immigrants all over these United States. Can Blake, Mann, and Love prevent a Betrayal at the Border?


As Emma got older, she noticed things that provided a better understanding of her parents’ fear. After dinner, her parents often watched the evening news. Emma witnessed people protesting at the southern border to Mexico and heard phrases like ‘send them back’ and ‘build the wall.’ Video footage of arrests, family separations, and kids in cages was heartbreaking. Emma was a free American like her friends and neighbors, but she would never be free of worry that her parents might be captured. Mainstream media considered families like hers ‘undocumented.’ Over time, Emma understood the reason why her parents broke the rules and kept the family secret. Because Miguel and Mary Carmen were undocumented, they couldn’t travel, not even across the northern border into Canada from Detroit, so they never took vacations. Emma and her family never went anywhere.

While Emma understood, she was still slightly conflicted. She learned about crime in school. People who did bad things went to jail. It was ‘illegal’ to steal, to hurt someone, and to drink and drive. Mama and Papa didn’t do any of those things. They obeyed every American rule. They were decent people, good neighbors, and solid citizens. How could they be criminals?

Mama and Papa’s citizenship status was not a subject of conversation in the community. Few people knew they were undocumented because while some people embraced immigrants, others tried to make their lives difficult. Landlords were encouraged not to rent to ‘foreigners,’ and employers were encouraged not to hire them. Some communities attempted to block immigrant access to jobs, housing, education, and healthcare, a coordinated strategy to prevent large numbers from moving into those communities or neighborhoods. Citizens didn’t want ‘brown people’ swooping in and taking their jobs. Other communities embraced immigration and thrived because hard-working immigrants started businesses, worked for other citizens or independently, provided childcare service, housekeeping, or odd repair jobs.

One evening, after dinner, the newsman said President Golding was considering a series of raids on immigrants in targeted areas around the country. One of the areas mentioned was Detroit. Golding said it was time to ‘deport the undocumented in fairness to those who enter our country legally and obey our laws.’ Did those people complain or something? Emma pondered.

Mama, what does ‘deport’ mean?” Emma asked inquisitively after the newscast ended.

It means people who are here without proper papers might get sent back to the country they came from, hija,” Mary Carmen advised.

What does ice have to do with it?” Emma glanced at the refrigerator.

Pardon me?”

They talked about ice on television.”

Mary Carmen looked at the refrigerator and smiled. “They weren’t talking about ice from the fridge, hija; they were talking about immigration policemen. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I—C—E. Get it?”

What does this ICE do?”

They find people who are here without proper papers. If people can’t prove they are citizens or have a right to be citizens, they get sent back to the country they came from.”

Can that happen to you and Papa? Do you have these proper papers? Are you and Papa criminals, Mama?”

That’s a difficult question to answer. Papa and I came to this country a long time ago. We arrived legally and followed all of the rules, but our papers expired before we could become citizens. We were supposed to go back to Venezuela, but you were just a baby, and it was dangerous back home. Here in America, Papa had a good job; we had a nice home, and lots of friends and relatives in the area. We couldn’t possibly go back to the old country.

We decided to stay and try to work out our paper problem later. As the years went by, the government made it more difficult for us to become citizens. We were caught in a trap. We weren’t supposed to stay, but we couldn’t go back, either.”

What are you going to do? The newsman on television says ICE is coming to Detroit.”

I don’t know, sweetheart. Papa says everything will be okay. Maybe they won’t come to Lincoln Park. Maybe they will only come to Detroit. All we can do is hope and pray.”

From now on, I’ll say a special prayer at bedtime, Mama.”

Oh, Emma, thank you! That makes me feel so much better. I’m positive God will listen to you. You are my special little girl!”

Emma almost burst with pride. She would pray extra hard tonight. Mama and Papa were counting on her.

Interview with Mark M. Bello

What made you want to become a writer?

I have a law degree and was an English Literature major in college. Betrayal of Faith was based upon an actual case I handled back in the early 1980’s. A priest had sexually molested two young boys and the Church was covering up the crime. I was a young sole practitioner 7 years out of law school. I took on the Goliath Defendant, traveled to 7 states, interviewing witnesses and uncovering the cover-up and I beat them, obtaining a significant result for my client. I promised myself I would one day write a book about the experience and the result is my award-winning novel, Betrayal of Faith. After writing a novel and having it win awards and solid reviews, I tried my hand at writing “ripped from the headlines” legal thrillers about the topical social justice issues of our time.

What inspired you to write Betrayal at the Border?

Betrayal at the Border is special because I am deeply troubled by the divisiveness of our politics, the nasty rhetoric, hate speech, and incarceration policies going on at the southern border and in the middle east. It is not “illegal” to seek asylum in this country; using the word “illegal” to describe asylum seekers is wrong and cruel.

I keep thinking of my great-grandparents, emigrating from Russia and Poland as atrocities were happening in their home countries, especially to Jews, and I shudder to think that they were treated the way today’s immigrants are being treated when they arrived at our shores. We can and should do better. We can be a beacon of freedom, that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan spoke of. We can be warmer and more welcoming. That is what I would like to see from the land of the free.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Betrayal at the Border?

Super-lawyer Zachary Blake is back, but he is a bit out of his element with immigration cases, so he calls upon his partner and associate, Marshall Mann and Amy Fletcher who are also strong advocates for their clients. Mary Carmen and Miguel Gonzalez have legal immigrated from Venezuela. They’ve had two children while they were here, and both Emma and Emilio are American citizens. The adults overstay their visas and fear if the visit immigration, they will be deported and separated from their children. When their plant is raided by ICE, the separation happens anyway, and the need for Zachary Blake begins. These people are honest hard-working people with two charming and sweet children, caught in a trap experienced by many immigrants.

At the same time, Canan and Karim Izady are naturalized citizens of the US. Canan wishes to return to the old country, Syria, so that her young daughter can meet her maternal grandmother. Hostilities have ended and the region is more peaceful. They hire a guide; what could possibly go wrong. The young mother and her toddler child are kidnapped by ISIS and held for ransom. While in captivity they encounter a brave woman, who risks her own life to save theirs.

Two unique immigration situations; strong legal protagonists and brave young immigrants and their families shine a bright light on our dysfunctional immigration system.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite author. I do have several though in different genres. In my genre, I like Scott Turow and John Grisham, but not always. My favorite legal novel of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This novel made me want to be a lawyer.

In anti-terrorism thrillers, I love and have read every Daniel Silva Gabriel Allon series.

For sweeping anthology sagas, there are Ken Follet’s Century Trilogy and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

For sheer writing majesty and beauty, there is Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides and Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.

There are multiple runners up, but I don’t think you want me to go on and on and on . . .

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I have quite a bit going on. I am currently working on the 8th Zachary Blake legal thriller, a murder mystery. I have also just finished a Jewish recipe cookbook, featuring Zachary Blake’s fictional family recipes written from generation to generation, some as old as 140 years. I have also written 4 children’s picture books on social justice/safety topics, currently being illustrated by a multi-talented illustrator. A winter 2021 or early 2022 release is planned/ I have been quite busy there days.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

With most of my books, I enjoy striking a sensible balance between the political nasty rhetoric and treatment we are seeing at the southern border, and I try to advance common sense, social justice solutions to the problem. Immigration is not a unique problem in America. Instead of vilifying those trying to escape tyranny, much the same way my ancestors escaped Russian pogroms and Nazi aggression, can’t we be a warmer, more welcoming citizenry?

As to our middle eastern foreign policy, the other issue in Betrayal at the Border, the same logic applies. Since 9/11, we tend to paint all Muslims with the same broad brush. Muslim American citizens are doctors, lawyers, teachers, researchers, clergymen, armed service men and women, contributors to our economy, social justice welfare, and society at large.

I enjoy exposing the absurdity of our prejudices and our hateful rhetoric and calling the bigots out on hate speech. As Rodney King said so many years ago: “Can’t we all get along?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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 NotFakeNews. In his spare time, Mark enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. Mark and his wife, Tobye, have four children and 8 grandchildren.

For more information about Mark, please click here (https://medium.com/authority-magazine/lawyer-and-author-mark-m-8e59acf7b054)

Mark loves hearing from his readers! Drop him a line on the Contact page, Visit his Website, or follow him on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, or Bookbub.

Buy Link:



$25 Amazon/BN GC

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Sherry said...

This sounds like a very interesting book.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Stormy Vixen said...

I enjoyed the interview and the excerpt, Mark and your book sounds like a great read for my dad! Thanks for bringing it to my attention and have a wonderful holiday season!