By: Mark M. Bello
Publisher: 8Grand Publications
Publication Date: August 2020
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 1, 2020
If you haven’t been following this author and his memorable Zachary Blake series of legal thrillers, then you must be either locked away in a cabinet; or, you’re playing too many video games and have forgotten how thrilling and fantastic the actual written word can be. (And, no, the “written word” I speak of does not mean texting.)
Zachary Blake has taken on the Church, bigotry—heck, even the president—so he’s no stranger to big cases that result in bold headlines. This time out, the focus is set on another truly difficult, widespread social issue and the consequences that arise from it: bullying. Not a new subject, indeed, but this author has used his incredible writing ability to introduce great characters, show the spectrum of emotions, and keep readers engaged with a plot that provides action and thrills as Zachary works hard for justice to be done.
We begin off the bat with Kevin Burns. This is a young man who has, for lack of a better turn of phrase, had it with bullying. He has passed the point of no return because of the horrific way people have treated him and worked to bring him down every day. The anger has taken over his heart, and his priority is opening up his father’s gun cabinet.
Another young man named Jake sits inside a classroom located in Bloomfield, Michigan—a high-brow suburb of Detroit that the rich and privileged call home. While in his English class, he receives a frightening text from his brother warning Jake to stay where he is and lock the door. There’s a boy in school with a gun and he’s exacting his revenge. When the gunshots end, the aftermath creates news that transforms Bloomfield from an idyllic town on the map to its’ own Columbine.
Zachary succeeds in the courtroom more often than he does in life. A stellar lawyer who earned the title of “Detroit’s King of Justice” at one time, he also calls this area home. Zachary knows pain and depression; from losing people he’s loved, he fell into a hole at a certain point that led him to hurt both himself and his career. Now, with this tragedy, Zachary feels a mixture of revenge and anger in his own heart and needs to find answers, as well as justice for the innocence that was destroyed.
Zachary knows there’s something more to this case than just Daddy’s gun being accessible, considering the wealth of weapons that were used to carry out this day of horror. Working to discover the truth, he finds more and more information that shines a light on politicians, the 2nd Amendment, and an old archenemy of Zachary’s.
In this fifth book, readers experience betrayal once again. I was introduced to this author and his lawyer in Book #1, Betrayal of Faith. This book is about faith, too, in my opinion, but it hit me in a brand-new way. This is about faith in you, the person: faith that somehow this bullying garbage could be stopped and lives could be saved; faith that we would work harder to make sure vengeance did not fill up a teen (or adult) heart so much that they believed the only clear way to feel better was to destroy their own life, while also taking down innocent lives in the process.
Zachary Blake has been to the bottom and gotten back up in the past, but watching the struggles he goes though in this tale adds another layer to this series that already has a great many layers of action, thrills, courtroom drama, and so much more. Although you don’t have to start with Book #1, because each story is great and you won’t be lost, be prepared to read. You’ll love it so much, you’ll go back and enjoy the other four. And, hopefully, a sixth one will be coming soon.
Quill says: Get away from those video games, people! Bello’s series is so good, Zachary and crew have earned a T.V. show.
For more information on Betrayal High (A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 5), please visit the author's website at: markmbello.com