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The Product Of My Warped Mind

Mark. M Bello Author Interview

You Have The Right To Remain Silent follows a high-profile lawyer as he takes on a brutal murder case involving a congressman that challenges him on all fronts. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I am usually inspired by an event in the news or cases I handled in my practice. You Have The Right to Remain Silent is the exception. The inspiration for the novel was a short article I read about a man who fell into a coma and could not participate in his own defense. I wondered (and then researched) how the legal system typically handled this unusual event. The result of my research (and novelist’s license) is You Have The Right to Remain Silent.

When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

No, I had no idea. I hadn’t written a novel like this before. The closest example to this, in my portfolio, was my 3rd Zachary Blake legal thriller, Betrayal in Blue, which was not “ripped from the headlines” like the others. However, it was a follow-up to my 2nd novel, Betrayal of Justice, which was. In Silent, I wanted to introduce the concept of jury consulting, with the expert assistance of my good friend, Shari Belitz (a central character in the book), a real person and a great sport. She loves and approves her fictional self. I also knew the book would be a “whodunnit.” The rest, as I began to peck at my computer keys, was the product of my warped mind.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?

For you aspiring novelists out there, my research consists of information available in a routine Internet search. As a lawyer, I might know legal concepts and specific laws that you don’t know, or use search terms or articles and materials that you might not be familiar with, but all of this information is available online. As a person who is old enough to remember “legal research” before computers and the Internet, I am constantly amazed on how technology has changed research. And, of course, this is a novel, not a court filing—if I fudge a bit, I enjoy, as I stated earlier, a novelist’s license.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

As you may or may not know, I took a short detour from my adult legal thrillers. I just released my cookbook, The Blake-Lewin Family Cookbook of Traditional Jewish Recipes: L’Dor V’Dor—From Generation to Generation II and my first children’s social justice picture book: Happy Jack, Sad Jack: A Bullying Story. The next book, if I can ‘kidnap’ my wonderful illustrator, Melinda T. Falgaust, will be the 2nd book in the Children’s Social Justice/Safety Series, probably late Fall, early Winter. Stay tuned!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | LinkedIn

If You Have The Right to Remain Silent is representative of the quality of books coming in our future, 2022 is going to be one heck of a year for readers.” —Reader Views

Conservative talk-show host Mia Folger is in therapy with Dr. Harold Rothenberg. Mia and her husband, progressive Congressman Bradley Crawford, are not getting along these days, personally or politically.

When Crawford is found brutally dismembered and murdered, the evidence points to Mia as his killer. While the prosecutor pushes for a murder indictment, Dr. Rothenberg, convinced of his patient’s innocence, turns to an old friend—high profile attorney Zachary Blake, Detroit’s self-proclaimed ‘King of Justice.’

Blake will do anything for Rothenberg, the man who successfully treated his kids in their battle with a predator priest. Zack takes Mia’s case, but has his work cut out for him because Mia has been hospitalized, shocked into a catatonic state at the discovery of her husband’s mutilated body, unable to assist in her own defense.

Sensing he must prove Mia’s innocence to avoid an eventual life sentence, Zack enlists the aid of his crack investigator, Micah Love, and Micah’s cyber-specialist, Reed Spencer to dissect and poke holes in the case. But, for this case, Micah in convinced that Zack needs more—he recommends beautiful, sharp, brash, foul-mouthed, cocky-confident New York based jury consultant extraordinaire Shari Belitz and her team of mock trial/focus group gurus.

Shari is the best of the best. Her assignment in the Folger case? Flyspeck the evidence and unleash her arsenal of psychological techniques and predictive skills—use focus groups or mock juries to determine what evidence or circumstances would cause the real jury to declare Mia Folger innocent of all charges. Zack wants no part of Shari; one cocky lawyer-Zachary Blake-should be sufficient to prove Mia’s case. Blake knows what he needs for an acquittal; a brash jury consultant from NYC will only get in his way. But Micah persists and persuades Zack him to give Shari and her team a try.

Zack, Micah, Reed, and the irrepressible Ms. Belitz join forces in an all-out attack on the evidence, while evil characters lurk in the background, engaged in a sinister plot to assure Mia’s demise.

Expect the unexpected in this whodunit legal crime thriller, the 8th installment of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series, featuring all your favorite series characters and one brash, exciting newcomer who gives Blake all he can handle.

Miranda Writes

Miranda, who was an assistant state’s attorney, was assigned a case where a young girl was assaulted and raped. Determined to put the assailant behind bars even though the case was weak to begin with, Miranda does what she can to help this innocent girl. When the case falls apart, the defendant goes free, and Miranda is fired after it comes out that she was having a relationship with the lawyer who represented the defendant. Miranda makes an effort to move on and in doing so she creates a podcast called Miranda Writes. After three years a victim of the case Miranda was on comes forward to say that the defendant has struck again. Miranda must decide between going after the defendant or continuing on with her rise to success by taking an offer to host a daytime TV show.

Author Gail Ward has created a compelling legal thriller that is as bold as it is entertaining. The author writes sharp dialogue which feels authentic and pulls you into this emotionally invigorating crime thriller. The author paints realistic courtroom scenes; utilizing obvious experience with the subject matter to make the legal drama feel grounded even when the intrigue is high.

Miranda is a character I was immediately intrigued by and empathized with, which I think is why I clung so tightly to the book when the twists started coming. I enjoyed reading about Miranda’s character as she is tenacious, smart, and devoted to her clients. Readers are immediately immersed in the plot and the story takes off with only the occasional respite for some background information.

One thing that stood out to me the most with this book is how there is a balance of emotions in this book, making it way more accessible and entertaining then your average legal thriller where everyone is constantly brooding. The book has its sad moments, but there are also moments of levity where humor is used to great effect, and even made me laugh out loud a few times. The author takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster that winds through love, hate, fear of the unknown, and anxiety.

Miranda Writes, by Gail Ward Olmsted, has well developed characters and an engaging plot that will have you hooked as you are taken on this tense journey to put Chelsea and Becky’s rapist behind bars. For me, this is the year’s stand out legal thriller.

Pages: 239 | ASIN: B0B1G87C1Y

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Heroes To The Public Villains To The Law

Heroes To The Public Villains To The Law is Marta Nater’s third and final book of her exciting villains’ series. The villains that we met in the first two books are back for a final confrontation. Shadow Claw and her daughter Darla are using their strange super powers to run from the law and seek vengeance. Jerico Raven, Nina Dansk and Danny Rojas are teaming up to bring some sense of order into their surroundings. And Cora Rollins is back in New York, more hateful and angry than ever, focused on hunting down sex offenders and human traffickers, taking justice into her hands. All of these characters will clash and confront each other in a fight that might be the final one to restore order and justice in the streets of New York.

Nater’s final book is incredibly thrilling. From the very start there’s action everywhere, something new and exciting is always occurring and the characters have to figure out how to deal with each situation. As they run from the law the characters keep trying to manage justice in their own way. However, as Cora Rollins takes her vigilante justice too far, she might have to confront her own family and friends. Now the villains that we’ve met are older and trying to move on from their old ways as they build their families, expecting that the criminal justice system has learned their lesson. Cora will not let this happen though, and will make sure to bring chaos every step of the way.

Every chapter of this book was exciting, it’s simply not possible to get bored. It was interesting getting to see the evolution that so many of these characters have had, and how they’ve changed and become less vengeful throughout the series. The main point remains though: there are huge flaws in the justice system, and it’s necessary to find a way to bring true justice in order to protect people from the most horrible criminals. This series has been a fun adventure through which one can explore the effects of vigilante justice, and leaves lots of doors open for readers to make their own conclusions of what is right and what needs to change.

Heroes To The Public Villains To The Law has a compelling plot and engaging characters, this book marks a great and exciting end for this series. There are lots of unexpected events to look forward to in this book and plot twists that will keep the storyline at a steady exciting pace. There are hidden secrets behind every character which will be finally uncovered in this last book.

Pages: 169 | ASIN: B09XVKDJLZ

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You Have The Right to Remain Silent – Book Trailer

Conservative talk-show host Mia Folger is in therapy with Dr. Harold Rothenberg. Mia and her husband, progressive Congressman Bradley Crawford, are not getting along these days, personally or politically.

When Crawford is found brutally dismembered and murdered, the evidence points to Mia as his killer. While the prosecutor pushes for a murder indictment, Dr. Rothenberg, convinced of his patient’s innocence, turns to an old friend—high profile attorney Zachary Blake, Detroit’s self-proclaimed ‘King of Justice.’

Blake will do anything for Rothenberg, the man who successfully treated his kids in their battle with a predator priest. Zack takes Mia’s case, but has his work cut out for him because Mia has been hospitalized, shocked into a catatonic state at the discovery of her husband’s mutilated body, unable to assist in her own defense.

Sensing he must prove Mia’s innocence to avoid an eventual life sentence, Zack enlists the aid of his crack investigator, Micah Love, and Micah’s cyber-specialist, Reed Spencer to dissect and poke holes in the case. But, for this case, Micah in convinced that Zack needs more—he recommends beautiful, sharp, brash, foul-mouthed, cocky-confident New York based jury consultant extraordinaire Shari Belitz and her team of mock trial/focus group gurus.

Shari is the best of the best. Her assignment in the Folger case? Flyspeck the evidence and unleash her arsenal of psychological techniques and predictive skills—use focus groups or mock juries to determine what evidence or circumstances would cause the real jury to declare Mia Folger innocent of all charges. Zack wants no part of Shari; one cocky lawyer-Zachary Blake-should be sufficient to prove Mia’s case. Blake knows what he needs for an acquittal; a brash jury consultant from NYC will only get in his way. But Micah persists and persuades Zack him to give Shari and her team a try.

Zack, Micah, Reed, and the irrepressible Ms. Belitz join forces in an all-out attack on the evidence, while evil characters lurk in the background, engaged in a sinister plot to assure Mia’s demise.

Expect the unexpected in this whodunit legal crime thriller, the 8th installment of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series, featuring all your favorite series characters and one brash, exciting newcomer who gives Blake all he can handle.

Larry Never Gives Up

Author Interview
Leighton Rockafellow Author Interview

Diminished Capacity follows a hardworking lawyer as he takes on two cases that bring more attention, and work, than he expected. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

Every lawyer wants to be altruistic. The reality is every lawyer has an office to run, bills to pay and a family to support. Larry’s character was formed before the book was written.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The themes are suspense, conflict, grief and determination. Larry never gives up and he is never intimidated.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have two more Larry Ross novels completed and one more “in the can.” My goal was to create a repeat character that readers would identify with and want to follow.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

An up and coming lawyer in Tucson, Arizona, Larry Ross takes just about any case that walks through his door. But his next client may prove to be more than even he can handle.

Tom Rogers has just been accused of brutally murdering his business partner, Art Mendoza. Larry decides to represent Tom in the capital murder case, even though it looks like Tom is guilty. But while waiting for the trial, Larry makes a tactical error and accepts another high-profile case-a complicated products liability case against a major auto manufacturer.

Now, with two work intensive cases to deal with, Larry is drowning in responsibility. His one man practice is suddenly catapulted into the local and national spotlight, and things only get worse when Tom leans on Larry for support in his personal life. Larry’s stress level has just about reached its limit and both trials have yet to start. Can he win both cases and keep his sanity? There’s only one way to find out.

Intrigue, murder, and mystery combine in Diminished Capacity, a first-rate legal thriller from talented newcomer Leighton Rockafellow.

Diminished Capacity

Diminished Capacity by Leighton Rockafellow is a riveting legal thriller that picks up at the start of a murder trial. Tom Rogers finds himself in a position of self-defense when his partner, Arturo Mendoza, attacks him with an intent to kill. The reader might guess that Tom should be free because it was a case of self-defense, but from a legal perspective, it is not that simple. Between the murder weapon, witness testimony and lawyers, Tom’s life is in the hands of hardworking layer, Larry Ross. Larry has a business to run and clients to attend to and Tom’s case is proving to be a handful. Can Larry balance his work, two tough cases, and the harsh light of the new publicity he’s getting?

Larry Ross is a refreshing character. Many legal thrillers will setup their protagonists as altruistic lawyers; I’m not saying Larry isn’t, but he is a much more grounded character that worries about his business and takes on work for money, as many people needing to pay the bills would. I found that many of his decisions throughout the book were influenced by money, in a good way, even if he didn’t like to think about it. Larry is a realist and his character shows that.

What also sets this novel apart from other legal thrillers is how Larry takes on two big cases at once. Again, many other legal dramas will focus on one case, and while the murder trial is certainly intriguing all on its own, readers are also treated to another compelling civil suit. This sets up the novel to deliver two fascinating legal cases in one book.

With a civil suit and a criminal trial handled by one lawyer, Larry rightly feels the stress of his work. Juggling between the two, he truly became an excellent lawyer by the end of the book. The author does an excellent job of juggling these story lines while ensuring readers don’t feel as overwhelmed as Larry does. We get a glimpse into the lives of some interesting character as well.

The legal procedures throughout the story felt authentic, getting a bit technical at times, but readers who enjoy a good legal drama will find plenty to enjoy here. The story is still easy to follow, and at times the author explains both legal, mechanical and medical topics in detail so that the reader understands the gravity of the situations the characters are in.

Diminished Capacity is a rousing courtroom drama that pulls readers in right from the beginning. A very impressive debut novel that is easily recommended.

Pages: 256 | ASIN: B08LB4L35G

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A Life Changed Forever

Len Joy Author Interview

Dry Heat follows a high school jock who is arrested for attempted murder while the real criminal goes missing, and he must make choices that will alter the course of his future. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Back in the 90s I had an engine rebuilding company in Phoenix. The son of one of my employees was arrested and charged with shooting at an off-duty police officer during a highway altercation. The actual shooter escaped and despite having no record, the boy was facing a trial where he could be sentenced to jail for ten years. His family had to make an instant decision to take a plea deal for three years. So instead of college he went to prison.

The agony for the boy and his parents of having to make that kind of instant decision was something that stuck with me. A stupid mistake and bad luck and a life is changed forever.

Joey has a really bad day that only gets worse as the story goes on. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Joey is a good person and he’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s facing pressures he’s never faced before and he keeps making bad decisions. I wanted the story to be a cautionary tale, but also a hopeful one. Joseph (the adult Joey) makes a new life for himself. He finds redemption and has not given up on love.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Loyalty. Family ties. Friendship. The enduring power of love.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am about 2/3 through the first draft of a novel titled, “Freedom’s Just Another Word…” It takes place in 2018 and is the story of fictional Chicago Tribune columnist, Jake Doyle, who fell from grace years ago (had an affair and a child with his twenty-year- old intern) and is struggling to survive in the newspaper world of the 21st century. When the new billionaire owner of the Tribune recruits Jake to help him with his campaign to run for president, Jake must decide whether to go along or get out.

I am hoping it will be available by the end of 2023.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Indeed | Twitter | Instagram

The day All-American Joey Blade turns 18, he learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, is betrayed by his new girlfriend, and is arrested for the attempted murder of two police officers. Then things get bad.

The high school bonfire is supposed to be the kickoff to a great night: Joey has just won a football scholarship and he’s hoping for a sex breakthrough with his new girlfriend. Then his true love–but ex-girlfriend–Mallory tells his she’s pregnant. He’s reeling from that news when the bonfire explodes.

Joey, his new girlfriend and her drug dealer friend TJ, flee in her truck. When the police pursue, TJ shoots at the cop’s car. It crashes and in the ensuing chaos TJ slips away undetected. Joey, the only adult in the truck, is hauled off to jail.

Joey is charged with attempted murder and released on bail. TJ is nowhere to be found. When Joey discovers that Mallory’s father is pressuring her to terminate the pregnancy, Joey has to remain free to prevent that from happening. In desperation, he reaches out to notorious gang leader, Chico Torres, whom he met in jail, for help locating TJ.

When Joey is offered a deal–his freedom in exchange for his cooperation in nailing Chico–he faces a decision that will change the course of his life and Mallory’s.

Seventeen & Seventy – Book Trailer

Alessandro was the first and only man that Claudia had ever loved. Then a fatal heart attack took the shipping magnate away from her. After falling into a state of depression, she started to waste away until a delivery boy lit a fire in her heart. Little did they know that their love affair would tear families apart, and reach the courts as outside forces try to prevent them from marrying.

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