Local author/lawyer releases his third legal thriller


By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

Corny as it may sound, Mark M. Bello’s reason for becoming an attorney was to help people to the best of his ability and achieve justice for those who need it most.

A practicing attorney for 42 years, he’s extrapolated that same reasoning into his character Zachary Blake, a lawyer, who’s been the protagonist of three books, including the upcoming “Betrayal in Blue.”

However, Bello, 66, of West Bloomfield, stated he’s nothing like Blake.

“When we first meet Zack, he had lost his practice, his family, and his nerve to be a lawyer. He was drinking, missing court dates and assignments, and his life was in the toilet.  (The first book) ‘Betrayal of Faith’ brought him redemption as both a man and as a lawyer. In ‘Betrayal of Justice,’ Zack is more confident and is using his success in (‘Faith’) as a springboard to redevelop a personal injury practice. The case in (‘Justice’) is a criminal case, and as a result of this very high-profile criminal case, he has now proven himself in both areas. He is married and has adopted his wife’s children in (‘Justice’),” explained Bello, who’ll appear at the 2018 Scriptorium BookFest in Troy on Saturday, June 23, from noon to 6 p.m.

“Blue” occurs in Dearborn, Manistee, and Arlington, Va. In it, the Dearborn Police Department learns of a potential terrorist threat against the city. The FBI usurps the police investigation, however, and Capt. Jack Dylan – introduced in “Justice” – disagrees with their methods. After the FBI fails to shut down the organization of white nationalists responsible, Dylan takes matters into his own hands and travels to Manistee to get the job done. When he’s subsequently arrested and put on trial for murder, he hires Blake, whom he butted heads with in “Justice.”

“This is further testament to (Blake’s) growth as a criminal lawyer and his rapidly improving trial skills,” said Bello. “His marriage is very successful; he is deeply in love with Jennifer and has developed a father-son relationship with her boys, who now call him ‘Dad.’ He is quite the family man. Post ‘Justice,’ Zack now takes only the best cases, champions justice for those who need it most, and when he takes on a case, he and the reader expect him to win. He has become a confident and very successful lawyer ... Look for at least one of the two boys to begin to emulate his stepfather in very positive ways.”

Bello decided to bring back Dylan because he felt the story told in “Justice” wasn’t quite finished and that Dylan was a compelling character who could be developed further and might have an interesting dynamic with Blake.

“I think the scenes between the two of them bear that out,” said Bello.

He explained the impetus for creating Dylan.

“There is a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment in America today. In the book, I leap to the fictional conclusion that the attitudes of cops mirror the attitudes of citizens,” he said.

“However, I believe that people can be shown the error of his or her ways. I wanted (Dylan) to be the anti-Muslim citizen. However, if shown that Muslim people have mostly good people and only a few bad people – like every other group of people – Dylan and others are capable of seeing the good in those people and will do the right thing by them. Thus, Dylan is an extremely important character in ‘Justice.’”

According to Bello, Dylan has an epiphany in “Justice.” As a result, he becomes a better man and a better cop after meeting Arya Khan, a Muslim.

“(His) transition in ‘Justice’ was extremely important. I thought it could benefit from further development, so I decided to make him a main character in (‘Blue’). He starts from a far better place, because like Zack in ‘Faith,’ who Jennifer helped make a better person and a better lawyer, (Dylan) is made a better person and a better cop by Arya in ‘Justice’ – only without the love affair. If a tough cop can change, can’t we all?” explained Bello.

The author – an alumnus of Oakland University and what is now the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School – is looking forward to the first Scriptorium BookFest, which will be held at the Clawson-Troy Elks Lodge No. 2169, located at 2549 Elliot Drive in Troy. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting other authors and like-minded people, readers and writers all over Michigan,” said Bello. “There will be something like 25 unique authors meeting and greeting members of the reading public. Hopefully, they all like legal thrillers.”

Bello’s hard at work writing two more novels. The next one, currently untitled, is slated for a 2019 release. His first two books were based on actual cases; the third one wasn’t.

“I have enjoyed writing all three books for very different reasons,” said Bello. “This book was written entirely from my imagination, so I am proud of that.”