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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?




The Gonzalez children were both born in Lincoln Park. The city was a part of the Downriver Community, southwest of Detroit. Their little three-bedroom bungalow was the only home they had ever known. In a city of approximately 37,000, only 20% were of Latino descent, nearly a 50% increase since 2010.

Emma and Emilio’s parents, Mary Carmen and Miguel Gonzalez, immigrated to Lincoln Park in 2011 when Mary Carmen was pregnant with Emma. Papa found a job, mixing compounds at an adhesive and filler plant in nearby Riverview. Emma was born soon after her parents moved into the house. Two years later, her little brother was born.

When they were old enough to be placed in daycare, Mama secured a job at the same filler plant as her father. The two siblings depended on each other. They were attached at the hip until Emma was old enough to go to Kindergarten. It was a very traumatic time for Emilio. He started behaving as if his sister died.

Emma promised to play with him after school, but Emilio carried on to the point where Emma pushed back and refused to go to school. Promises of candy and ice cream after Mama got home from work finally persuaded both children to go separate ways. As time went on, they adapted to the new routine.

Two years later, Emilio started Kindergarten, and all was forgotten—the siblings were reunited at Raupp Elementary School. Both children spoke fluent Spanish and English and did well in school. The children were now entering fourth and second grade, respectively, and thriving.

The Gonzalez children made friends easily and were well-liked in the school. Emma and Emilio were Americans. Although Mama taught them Venezuelan games and customs and tried to convey a sense of their Latino heritage, the kids had experienced life in no other country but America. They spoke fluent English, celebrated the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, and proudly recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Emma collected dolls while Emilio collected baseball cards—he worshipped Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and treasured his 2012 Cabrera Triple Crown card. Emma and Emilio did everything other American children did.

Their parents were determined to raise them in America, with American values and an American education. They dreamt of a better life, with higher education and, perhaps, affluence for their children. But these dreams were clouded by a secret reality—the Gonzalez family, as ‘American’ as they appeared, protected an important family secret, far more important than the Frozen game. This one could derail all of their dreams.

Emma and Emilio were taught to be careful and quiet, even though they didn’t understand why this was a big deal. But they knew Mama and Papa feared their secret would one day be discovered. Their parents’ fear was so intense; Emma and Emilio were frightened too.

Emma was conflicted. Mama once taught her that telling and keeping secrets was bad. She shouldn’t tease her little brother by telling him she knew something he didn’t know. She shouldn’t keep things from her friends, and, most of all, she shouldn’t keep any secrets from Mama and Papa. So, why was this secret okay?

Mama carefully explained the delicate situation to her children: She and Miguel came into the country legally but stayed longer than they were welcome. As a result, Mama and Papa were not citizens and did not have the protection some of their friends’ parents had. They could be picked up by the police at any time, put in jail, and even sent back to Venezuela, where conditions were terrible, especially for people who ran away and were later returned by government mandate. It didn’t matter if their minor children were citizens. If the family secret were discovered, her mother decried, it could mean hasta la vista, forever.

The threat of permanent separation from her parents terrified Emma. A secret preventing her from losing them, perhaps forever, was one worth keeping. Emilio was too young to understand, but Emma made him pinky swear to silence.



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:


Mark loves hearing from his readers! Drop him a line on the Contact page or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or Bookbub.

Contact: https://www.markmbello.com/contact
Website: https://www.markmbello.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarkMBelloBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkMBello
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16283795.Mark_M_Bello
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mark-m-bello
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Border-Zachary-Blake-Thriller-ebook/dp/B09FYJ6MWN/



Mark M. Bello will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Interview

Tell us about you as a person.

I’m Attorney/Author/Podcaster Mark M. Bello. I started writing as a senior citizen, toward the end of a 45-year legal career. I write social justice legal thrillers about real-life topics in America, featuring real-life American injustice. I have four adult children, 9 grandchildren, 4 grand-dogs, and a grand-lizard. I like to read, write, watch baseball, football, and basketball. I play senior league baseball, swim, walk, ride, play pickleball, golf, and tennis. My biggest joy is playing sports or swimming with my grandchildren.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

Barak Obama. I’d like to discuss social justice with our 44th President and get the real story of how dangerous it must have been (and still is) to be the first Black president in a divided, still sadly racist, America.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

Betrayal at the Border tell the tale of two immigrant families wrapped up in two cases that strike at the heart of our nation’s contentious immigration debate. One family, undocumented from Venezuela, lives In Lincoln Park, Michigan. They live and work in peace until ICE raids their plant and separates parents from children. The other family lives West Bloomfield, an affluent Michigan suburb, naturalized citizens of the United States who return ‘home’ to Syria for a visit and are captured and held for ransom by ISIS.

Two unique immigrant families, two uniquely dangerous consequences of America’s dysfunctional immigration system—super-lawyer Zachary Blake to the rescue. He and his professional team must race against time to reunite the Lincoln Park family and rescue the captured West Bloomfield mother and child. 

The novel 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 Zachary Blake and team prevent a Betrayal at the Border?

What is your writing process?

Except for my first novel, which was written from personal experience and a case I actually handled in my law practice, I choose my topics from actual social justice events happening in real life and real time. Once the theme of the novel is chosen, I outline the character and plot (either on the computer or in my head) and begin writing, typically in fits and spurts.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role(s) and why.

Zachary Blake would be played by someone like Justin Bartha, a nice Jewish boy from my neck of the woods. Other possible are Patrick Dempsey, Ryan Reynolds, or Ben Affleck, who fit the age and character profile. Bartha would be the logical choice.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their latest book?

That is the multi-million-dollar question. I have tried a lot of different things, without huge success. I guess I would say “perseverance” and a willingness to spend money. When I discover the secret sauce, I will be sure to let everyone know. Maybe it’s these questions and answers!

List 5 things on your bucket list.

  • Become a best-selling author
  • See a world where people of all races, creeds, colors, and religions, live in peace and harmony
  • Travel to multiple places I’ve never been
  • Greet my first paternal grandson (he hasn’t been conceived yet, as far as I know)
  • See our society get a handle on climate change.

In what way do you think that this current pandemic has changed the book & publishing industry?

I’m not sure. I suspect more people are shopping for books online, but I think that was already happening. In the Detroit area, where I live, multiple small and large book sellers went under and closed their doors. I think this is cyclical, though—we will one day see the rebirth of the corner bookstore.

Any final thoughts?

Thanks for the opportunity. I will keep on writing and encouraging readers to try my work. Reach out to let me know what you think. I am constantly seeing famous people on television hawking books, good and bad. I’d like to see television and radio shows devote some time to independent authors, from time to time. Otherwise, I plan to keep plugging away. I have just written, of all things, a Jewish recipe cookbook, featuring Zachary Blake’s fictional Jewish family. I have written (currently being illustrated for release in the winter) 4 children’s safety/social justice picture books, and I am currently working on my 8th Zachary Blake legal thriller. I am enjoying my golden years!

Posted on November 23, 2021, in Book Tour, Guest Authors and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. This looks like a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This definitely seems like a timely read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the interview and the excerpt and I can’t wait to share this book with my dad! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a magical holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wow, definitely something I can relate to-my husband is from Guatemala and I have seen many of his friends and their children in similar situations. Definitely would love to read this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving food that you especially enjoy?

    Liked by 1 person

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