Betrayal At The Border


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. 

Q & A with MARK M. BELLO

Which of your Published or Unpublished books is your favorite, and why?

This is almost like asking me which of my children I like the best. I have no favorites. I love them all. If forced to choose, I would choose Betrayal of Faith. It was my first novel; it was written from personal experience, the case of my life, and I am quite proud of the book.

How do you pick your character’s personalities or looks?

I don’t focus on my characters looks. I do not offer detailed descriptions. I prefer to let the reader decide what the characters look like. As to their personalities, I usually choose a character’s personality based upon someone I know or someone who has been in the news in a similar situation. I try to assume what it would be like for that person in that situation, even if I have not experienced it myself.

What is your favorite genre to read? What is your favorite genre to write? And why are they your favorites? 

Legal Thrillers, legal thrillers! I love to read and write legal thrillers. As a reader, I also enjoy counter-terrorism novels like Daniel Silva (with a Jewish slant, like my novels), and anthologies like Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy or George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones Novels. I also love Pat Conroy novels—he wrote beautifully.

What inspires you the most?

I am inspired by opportunities to turn injustice into justice.  

Once an idea takes root, how long does it take you to write it down? Do you use outlines?

I use outlines, but sometimes those outlines are only in my head. If an idea “takes root,” it does not usually take too long for it too begin to take shape as a novel. I am currently writing my 8th Zachary Blake legal thriller. I conceived the novel in September, began writing it in October, and I am about halfway through. I am not usually that productive, but I’m having fun with this project.

Do you have a favorite author? Or someone whom you would say has influenced your writing style?

I like writing legal thrillers, so legal thriller authors have inspired me, particularly Harper Lee, Scott Turow, and John Grisham. Having said that, I choose my topics from real-life legal and political events, the authors I mentioned do not typically do that. I like to think I have my own, rather unique, style.

What are your hobbies other than writing?

I like all watching all sports, playing baseball, swimming, walking, golf, pickleball, driving, spending time with my children and playing with my grandchildren.

Do you have a genre that you would never write?

I am comfortable writing social justice. I have written 7 legal thrillers—working on an 8th—for an adult audience. I have written 4 children’s safety/social justice picture books. I’ve even written a Jewish cookbook featuring recipes from the family my fictional character, Zachary Blake. I don’t know about other genres; I’m comfortable writing in mine. I don’t think I could write fantasy or create a fantasy world like George R. R. Martin. He’s a genius. 

What is one thing you would say has had the greatest impact on your writing?

My legal career and issues in the news that I believe our country could do a much better job handling.

What was your favorite book growing up?

Depends on the time of my life. As a young child? Anything written by Dr. Suess. As a boy, I liked The Jungle Boy books, and The Hardy Boys. In High School, I liked To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye. Mockingbird is my all-time favorite book. It helped shape my life.

Where did your details come from?

Most of my novels are written from personal experience or headline grabbing events. Some people have compared my work to the “Law & Order” television series. I see the comparison, but my novels dig far deeper into a topic.

What did you do before becoming a writer?

I practiced law for almost 45 years

Lastly, anything that you’ve never been asked before but wished you had been?

“Would you like the winning number for this week’s nine-figure lotto jackpot?”


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 FacebookTwitterGoodreads, or Bookbub.









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


  1. Mark, I enjoyed the Q&A and the excerpt, Betrayal at the Border sounds like an edge of your seat read that my dad will enjoy! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular holiday season!


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