On August 1, 2020, I released my 5th Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series novel. Betrayal High, like other the courtroom dramas in the series, is based on contemporary, real-life issues, and its inspiration comes from an all-too-common occurrence. In this case, however, the occurrence hit close to home.
My niece and nephew live in the Parkland School District, and I have a residence in nearby Delray Beach. I was in Florida when Parkland happened. While the book is not based on the Parkland incident, because of my personal connection to the issue, I began to consider these cases. What are the root causes of a school shooting? How does a kid get his hands on these high-octane weapons? What security protocols were there, and where was security when the gunman entered the school? How does a community cope in the aftermath? How would the legal system respond? I decided to research the issue—the result is Betrayal High:
As the school day begins, 17-year-old Kevin Burns arrives at the south entrance of Bloomfield High School, heavily armed. As the shooting begins, the school goes into lockdown. Kenny Tracey encounters the shooter in the hall and decides to take action. He charges the shooter, takes a bullet for his bravery, and ultimately saves his fellow classmates.
Betrayal High takes the reader through Kevin’s motives; he was a victim of neglect at home and relentless bullying at school. His lack of remorse and inability to appreciate the severity of his actions demonstrate he must be held accountable for his actions. But for high-powered attorney Zachary Blake, Kenny Tracey’s father, bringing Kevin to justice is not nearly enough. He seeks justice for all the victims, including Kenny, against Kevin’s parents and school security for their neglectful inaction, and a gun industry and manufacturer that makes it far too easy for criminals to obtain assault weapons.
There are no easy solutions to the problem of gun violence in our schools. Each situation is unique, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. However, the common denominator is guns and easy access to them. I hope Betrayal High, like so many other novels, will be a useful tool for parents, teachers, and young adults in exploring the issue.
I hope my readers will find Betrayal High as compelling and engaging as Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun, Jennifer Brown’s Hate List, or Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes. Early reviews applaud Betrayal High for its gripping plot, authentic characters, and subject matter at the forefront of society today. I hope you’ll give it a try.
Betrayal High is available in ebook, print, and audiobook (coming soon) exclusively at Amazon.
Experienced attorney, lawsuit funding expert, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series. The series features super-trial lawyer Zachary Blake handling "ripped from the headlines" legal and political issues of the day. The series currently consists of Betrayal of Faith, Betrayal of Justice, Betrayal in Blue, Betrayal in Black, and Betrayal High, with a sixth Zachary Blake novel due out later this year. To learn more about these topical social justice legal thrillers. please visit markmbello.com. Mark is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.