#ReleaseBlitz “Betrayal High” by Mark M. Bello

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A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller. Book 5

Legal Thriller

Release Date: August 1, 2020

Publisher: 8Grand Publications

 

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What does a kid do when it just won’t stop?

Kevin Burns has had enough. Today, the bullying stops. Today, he has easy
access to his father’s gun cabinet. Today, Kevin exacts his revenge.

“You think I’m small? Maybe I am, but my gun is huge . . . Size does matter—the larger the gun, the larger the . . .”

Jake Tracey’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from his brother, Kenny.

Where are you?

English class.

Stay there. Someone has a gun. Lock the door.

Bloomfield, Michigan, an affluent Detroit area suburb, is home to trial lawyer Zachary Blake. Other school districts envy Bloomfield, that is, until Kevin Burns commits shocking, all too familiar, acts of senseless violence. In the aftermath of the tragedy, everyone wonders ‘why?’.

Zack Blake seeks answers, justice for the victims, including his own son.

How does a kid get a cache of weapons?

The sellers are politically powerful and cover up their role in the bloodbath. The 2nd Amendment protects them, doesn’t it? And President Ronald John, Zack’s old nemesis, is a friend.

Can powerful evildoers be brought to justice? Can Zack expose a dark web weapons conspiracy and the abuse of absolute political power in court?

How does a broken community heal?

In Betrayal High, a Zachary Blake legal thriller, award-winning author/attorney Mark M. Bello answers these questions and more in this fifth installment of what many readers are calling the country’s best courtroom drama series. Prepare to get Betrayed . . . again.

Purchase Link

Amazon

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Other Books in the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series:

 

Betrayal of Faith

A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 1

ISBN: 978-1732447196

Purchase on Amazon

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 Betrayal of Justice

A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 2

ISBN: 978-1732447189

Purchase on Amazon

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Betrayal in Blue

A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 3

ISBN: 978-1734548907

Purchase on Amazon

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 Betrayal in Black

A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, Book 4

ISBN: 978-1732447172

Purchase on Amazon

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About the Author

As an attorney and social justice advocate, author Mark M. Bello draws upon over 40 years of courtroom experience in writing 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 40 + years in and around the law, Mark turned to writing to provide readers with real-life snippets of how our criminal or civil justice systems might handle various “ripped from the headlines” topics. Combining his legal experience and passion for justice with a creative writing style, Mark brings captivating and thought-provoking 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 Injury Board. In his spare time, Mark enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. Mark and his wife, Tobye, have four children and 8 grandchildren.

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

 

Contact Links

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#Review “Tooth for Tooth (Talion Series Book 2)” by J.K. Franko

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5/5 Stars!

“Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” was my reaction several times through much of the four hundred pages of Tooth for Tooth.

There’s no such thing as a perfect murder and the karmic consequences of actions kick in doors like an L.A. SWAT team. What began in book 1 as vigilante justice/retribution has flipped to survival of the fittest—or craftiest, in this case—as two of the four bad actors don’t make it to the end of book 2.

The author’s slow, meticulous build continues with details that seem unimportant… until ten pages later when I sat up and my mouth dropped open! Franko also does an impressive job of baiting with distractions then dropping plot twists that change everything.

As the rape victim in book 1 who had to watch her rapist go free, Kristy Wise was one of only two characters I had any sympathy for, but after so much death and loss, she showed she was a force to be reckoned with. The other character was Billy Applegate, whose childhood trauma had directed most of his adult life.

But everyone else? Nope! I understood them as parents, but they were all just too “into it,” especially Roy with his list of rules, and Deb’s apparent ability to simply forget and move on to the next thing. Tom is pitiful but learning just how dirty his hands are said a lot about him.

The cops are also unimpressive. To be fair, law enforcement has endless cases to deal with and don’t have the luxury of focusing on one case, especially one four years old with very little evidence. Yet, college senior Kristy and grieving mom Liz Bareto pieced together most of the puzzle and even shared info with detectives that reinvigorated the case. Not a good look for professional lawmen and investigators.

A great continuation of the Talion Series that closes the walls in on the good and bad and the living and dead. Even our anonymous storyteller will not escape unscathed from this tightly woven web of lies and deceit. Tooth for Tooth is complicated, suspenseful, and intelligent, and I highly recommend it… but not without reading book 1, Eye for Eye, first. Motivations and repercussions will not make sense without ALL the details. Fortunately, you have a couple of months to catch up before book 3, Life for Life drops!

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

 

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal

Published by:Talion Publishing

Publication Date: April 4th 2020

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 9781999318819

Series: Talion Series, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#BookTour “Tooth for Tooth (Talion Series Book 2)” by J.K. Franko

on Tour June 1 – July 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal

Published by:Talion Publishing

Publication Date: April 4th 2020

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 9781999318819

Series: Talion Series, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Before meeting Susie and Roy, I had never met a murderer. But then, I had also never lied to the police or destroyed evidence. I had never seen the inside of a jail cell. And I had most certainly never been complicit in a homicide. I have to reluctantly admit that I am a better person for the experience. I now appreciate that murderers really are just regular people like you and me. Indeed, I have come to consider Susie and Roy more than mere patients… they are friends. And I think back on our time together with nostalgia—fondness, even. This did not happen overnight. It was a process. What would you do if you found out that your neighbor was a murderer? Would you double-check that you’d locked your doors every night? Keep an eye out for strange comings and goings? Would you ultimately put your house up for sale, not disclosing what you knew about the folks next door to potential buyers? For most people, being in the proximity of a killer is neither pleasant nor desirable. Imagine how I felt about having not one but two as-yet-undetected murderers as my patients. Sitting with each of them for hours every week. Trying to guide them toward more moderate conflict resolution techniques. And failing. Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the complexities inherent in that situation, I found my path to inner peace and happiness. I know. I may have said elsewhere that, as a psychologist, I’m not a big believer in “happily ever after.” But my thinking has evolved. I’ve come to believe more in choices—in the power of decision. This is the key nugget of wisdom I have taken away from this whole mess: We are not what happens to us. We are what we choose. And I am pleased to report, for the first time in years, that I can finally say I am happy. You have to understand that my unhappiness was not due to lack of trying. Chalk it up to naiveté—but, at first, it was difficult to process everything Susie and Roy told me and still be happy. It’s hard to put a positive spin on murder. Selfishly, I was overwhelmed by the fear that they might turn on me. They had shared everything about their crimes with me in meticulous detail. It was manifestly apparent that I was the weak link. The one person who could bring them down. I was not just a loose end. I was the loose end. And, though I tried, I could not initially find peace under these circumstances. But, as I said earlier, happiness is a choice. And it was a choice that I made which finally ended my torment and brought me to a place where I could be at peace—even though everything ended tragically: my relationship with Susie and Roy, their marriage, the whole mess. For you to understand the rest of my journey with Susie and Roy, I must share with you something that happened years ago at an ostensibly happy event. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was a wonderful night for almost everyone concerned. There were two people at that event who figure in this story—in my story. The first is Sandra Bissette. For her, the night in question was the beginning of what would become a successful career in politics and law. For the other, Billy Applegate, the night would end in tragedy.

PART ONE

Billy Applegate

1974
Everybody loves a party. And there’s nothing quite like an election night party. What makes an election night celebration different? The guest of honor. You see, all parties—birthdays, anniversaries, wakes—feature a guest of honor. But an election night party is a completely different animal because it isn’t about any one person or couple. It’s not even about the candidates. At an election night party, the guests of honor are the attendees. The people who gather to watch election results together are all of one mind. Of one spirit. They are like pack animals, all focused on the same outcome. They all share the same heroes and the same enemies. If their candidates win, they all win. And a “win” means real-world changes for them—tax breaks, preferential government spending, judicial appointments—and money in their pockets. Now, that’s a party. This particular election night party took place in Maryland in 1974. To be precise—because I can be—this party was held on the night of the 1974 midterm elections, on Tuesday, November 5th. It was a good year for Democrats. This was the first national election after Watergate. Nixon’s resignation had severely damaged the Republicans’ chances in the election. Gerald Ford was just three months into his presidency, having taken over from Richard Nixon a few months earlier. And, of course, having pardoned Nixon in September, Ford had destroyed his own hopes for re-election and added to the national animus against Republicans. This election night party took place in a spacious colonial-style home decorated in red, white, and blue, with American flags hanging from the windows and banisters. It featured a spacious living and dining area. The kitchen was large and well-equipped. There was a generous backyard with a comfortable deck and a terrace around the pool. All four bedrooms—aside from one guest bedroom—were upstairs. There was even a “pin the tail on the donkey” game set up near the bar, for those with a sense of humor. No one actually played. This house belonged to Dan and Annette Applegate, two proud and active members of the Democratic party in Maryland. Dan’s family had always been active in politics. His grandfather had been a state representative. His father had served as a county judge for most of his career. Dan—born Daniel Parsons Applegate IV—was the fourth generation of Applegates admitted to the Maryland bar. While he would never actually serve in public office, he understood the value of political contacts and actively cultivated them. This party was part of that effort. Dan was dressed in a three-piece, tan wool suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. The lapels and tie were wide, and the shirt collar oversized—all very fashionable at the time. Annette wore a slim, gold-belted, navy blue flare-leg pantsuit with a pale blue silk blouse and a pair of simple gold earrings. Apropos for the gathering, and it went quite nicely with all the flags, she’d decided. Their twelve-year-old son, Billy Applegate, was in dark green overalls with a white shirt and blue Keds. A handsome boy, Billy had inherited his mother’s cornflower blue eyes and his father’s thick sandy blond hair, which he wore in a neatly trimmed surfer cut. Billy was an only child. His parents doted on him, as did his grandparents since he was the only grandchild in both families. Even so, Billy was a good boy and knew to stay out of the way when his parents had guests, though he stayed close enough to be in the mix and see what was going on. He was at the age where he still enjoyed watching the grown-ups. Spying on them. In fact, he was familiar with many of the faces that night from other events of this kind. It was a small community. Tonight, Tuesday night, the guests were arriving early, many coming over straight after work before polling places even closed. It was going to be a long night. The band played. Alcohol flowed. Anticipation and excitement were in the air at the prospect of big Democrat wins. And, after everything Nixon had put the nation through, how could voters not want a change? In the living room, a handsome mahogany console TV with a big twenty-five-inch-diagonal color screen announced results as they came in. Dan was loitering by the avocado green Trimline rotary phone, mounted on the kitchen wall, that rang periodically with live information. The spring-coiled, twelve-foot receiver cord allowed him to pace anxiously as he fielded calls from the few Democrats charged with providing up-to-the-minute results from county polling. Remember, this was back in the days before computerized voting machines. Back then, voters travelled to their precinct’s designated polling station and used a machine to punch holes in their ballot. These were then collected and transported to a central counting center where the ballots were put through a counting machine which tabulated the results that were then released to the public. Dan relayed results to his guests, with each ring of the phone bringing more good news. More cheering and more drinking. It was a good year to be a Democrat. At the peak of festivities, there were over 250 guests in and around the property, to the point where the party overflowed onto the street, which was not a problem. No one was going to complain, as most of the neighbors were in attendance. And these were all good white folk. The police were kind enough to block off both ends of the street and make sure that those who’d had too much to drink made it home safely. Inside, the house was a political orgy. Supporters rubbed elbows with candidates. Candidates rubbed elbows with incumbents. Incumbents rubbed elbows with donors. And lobbyists rubbed elbows with everyone except each other. There were a number of judges in attendance. Several city council members hovered by the buffet, and a few state representatives were sprinkled through the crowd. It was into this whirlwind of excitement that Sandra Bissette arrived. At a time when men still ran everything in politics, Sandra hoped to make a name for herself. The fact that she was a Yale-graduated lawyer didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that she had both the figure and the looks of Jackie Kennedy. Sandra was the daughter of lifelong Democrats, and her father happened to be the county sheriff. Although Sandra was not part of the elite set in Maryland, she was making her way. She was two years into working as an associate at a top law firm after having done a couple of high-level summer internships in D.C. That night, Sandra was primarily interested in meeting two people: one was Annette Applegate. Although Sandra knew that both Dan and Annette were active in the Maryland Democratic party, Dan was known to be a snob—his career consisted of riding on his family’s coattails. Annette was universally recognized as the nicer of the two. Annette knew everyone, and everyone loved Annette. It was with her that Sandra was hoping to build a connection. The second person who Sandra had added to her charm offensive for the evening was Harrison Kraft—another young Yale lawyer who, unlike her, was connected in all the right ways. Having graduated a few years ahead of her from law school, Harrison was running for state representative. He checked all the right boxes— family pedigree, education, professional credentials. There was no doubt the man was going places. Sandra had heard good things about him as a person and was interested in seeing for herself. It was a little after 9:00 p.m.—Dan had just announced the results from Precinct Four in Montgomery County when Sandra saw an opening. Annette was by the buffet chatting with Howard Patrick, an older lobbyist—handsy, and a bit of a bore. Sandra straightened her back, raised her chin, and approached. “Hello Howard,” she said with a big smile. “Sandra! Hello, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful tonight?” “Why, thank you, Howard. Ever the charmer,” she said, allowing him to kiss her hand. “Have you met our hostess, Annette Applegate?” As Sandra turned to greet Annette, she noticed that the woman was looking past her, over her shoulder. “Um, excuse me, young man!” Annette said, eyebrows raised and pearly white teeth dazzling. Sandra turned and followed Annette’s gaze to a young boy in green overalls filching shrimp from the buffet. She guessed he was just shy of being a teenager. “Aw, crap,” said Billy as he chewed. “Come here, you,” Annette said, narrowing her eyes in mock disapproval. The boy hesitated as he took in the young woman, the fat old man, and his mother, who stood waiting for him expectantly with her hands on her hips. He’d never seen the young woman before. She was new. Unconsciously, he slowly moved to return the three shrimp in his sticky hand to the platter. “With the shrimp, silly,” his mother said, shaking her head. Billy moved toward her, chewing rapidly so he could stuff the other shrimp into his mouth. Howard put his hand against the small of Sandra’s back, a little too low, and harrumphed to her under his breath, “Better seen, not heard. That’s how it used to be.” Sandra tried to smile and fought the instinct to pull away. Howard’s breath smelled of scotch and cigarettes. Annette overheard, but ignored the old lobbyist’s comment. “I suppose I don’t need to ask if you’ve had dinner? I left meatloaf for you in the kitchen.” “I know. But, Mom, these shrimp are amazing.” “And the meatballs?” asked Annette, looking over Billy toward the platter on the buffet. Billy blushed. “Those, too.” “Well, it’s getting a bit late for you,” Annette said, ruffling her son’s fair hair and then kissing him on the forehead, making him squirm. “Finish up the shrimp and get to bed.” “What about Dad?” Billy asked, looking around. Annette’s face darkened, and she sighed. “I’ll send him up for a goodnight kiss. But you come along now, young man.” She put her hands on her son’s shoulders and steered him towards the stairs. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said over her shoulder. Shit, thought Sandra as she twisted politely away, getting the old lobbyist’s hand off her lower back as he struck up a conversation. While she tried to focus on what he was saying, it was all she could do not to stare at the green thing wedged in between the man’s tar-stained teeth. It took her ten minutes to extricate herself from Howard, thanks to Alan Watts—a wiry man who was only modestly more interesting. His family ran a small chain of grocery stores. Alan had asked her out a while back, and though she’d declined, he still had hopes—she could tell. After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Sandra fell back on “old reliable” with a forced smile. “Excuse me, gentlemen… ladies’ room.” Once she was sure she had escaped, she continued to work the room. About half an hour later, as she accepted another glass of white wine from a passing waiter, she felt a hand pressing low on the small of her back. Oh fuck, not again. “Yes, Howard?” She turned, fake smile firmly in place, to find Annette Applegate standing behind her. “Gotcha!” laughed Annette. Sandra laughed, both from relief and from delight at the inside joke made by the woman to whom she’d hoped to ingratiate herself. This is going to be a great night. While Sandra and Annette chatted amiably, many other members of the party were well beyond civility. The drinking had begun five hours earlier, but there was more than just alcohol flowing. Other substances were being abused. It was all very discreet, of course. Most were partaking solely for recreational purposes, but a few were ingesting more heavily. Beyond alcohol and drugs—and most hazardous of all, given that it was infecting everyone to some degree and was in ample supply—was the potent and dangerous combination of two psychological stimulants, victory and power. You see, politics doesn’t attract only “normal” people. As in every part of society, there is a spectrum. And politics, too, has its outliers. The smug and the superior. The arrogant and the snide. And the sociopaths. Victory and power are dangerous to all, but more so to the sociopath. Do not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery while taking… For these select few, the alcohol, drugs, and victory combined with power was toxic. It created a euphoria that knew no rules. No limits. No fear. * * * Upstairs, Billy had fallen asleep with the soothing press of his mother’s goodnight kiss still fresh on his cheek. A small nightlight plugged into a wall socket illuminated his bedroom, casting a warm glow on a baseball snuggled in a catcher’s mitt that lay in a corner next to a wooden Adirondack baseball bat. On one end of his small dresser sat a model airplane—a Douglas A-20 Havoc that he’d built with his grandfather. It was a replica of the plane Gramps had flown during World War II. The model was flanked by a teddy bear that Billy claimed he’d outgrown but refused to give away. The other end of the dresser was reserved for the little boy’s current prized possession—Rock’em Sock’em Robots. A gift from his parents for his birthday. The room was quiet, the party sounds muffled. Suddenly, the door opened, spilling light into the little boy’s room along with the blare of music and the chaotic chatter of voices. Then, just as quickly, the door shut, returning the room to calm semi-darkness. Billy was groggy and didn’t try to open his eyes. Instead, he just spoke out loud. “Dad?” He felt the bed sag as his father sat next to him in a cloud smelling of alcohol and cigars. Then he felt dry lips on his forehead. The kiss made him smile sleepily. A hand stroked his head and his hair as Billy snuggled into his pillow and drifted back to sleep. Suddenly, the same hand that had been stroking his hair gently clamped over his mouth. It was a man’s hand, but it was soft. Clammy. It was not his father’s…. Billy tried to sit up, but the hand squeezed harder, the man leaning into him, pushing him down and pinning him to the bed as a second hand groped at him, pulling away his sheets. Billy didn’t know what to do. He was terrified. He opened his eyes, but with just the little nightlight on, he couldn’t see anything other than the vague shape of the form pressing down on him. He could smell booze and food on the man’s warm breath. Tears came as the vise over Billy’s mouth forced him to suck air noisily through his nose as the groping continued—searching, finding, fondling, stroking, then reaching, penetrating, sending a hot shard of searing pain through his body. Inside. He tried to fight, but couldn’t. The hands were too strong. The body too heavy. He felt sick. The stench of cigars, food, and alcohol on fetid breath was nauseating. And he was scared. Terrified. In pain. Bile rose in Billy’s throat. But the hand over his mouth prevented him from vomiting. He gagged, then swallowed everything back down. His body began to convulse. To thrash. As it did, the second hand stopped. The man’s weight eased on top of his body, no longer pinning him down. The hand over his mouth loosened slightly, and Billy felt the other stroking his hair. He wanted to move, but he was paralyzed with fear. The whole ordeal lasted minutes, but it felt like hours. Then the presence leaned over and whispered, “Sleep. Sleep. You were dreaming. Go back to sleep.” The weight lifted from the bed, and as it did, the hand fell away from Billy’s mouth, leaving him shivering in the aftermath. The door opened, first slightly. Through the crack, the man looked out into the hall as the babble of music and voices invaded the bedroom. Then the door swung fully open, and as it did, Billy saw the man clearly in the light from the hallway. The image burned itself into his memory. The image of a stranger whose identity he would eventually learn. The door closed and the crowd cheered as the band started playing—“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” And Billy Applegate cried himself into a fitful sleep. *** Excerpt from Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko. Copyright 2020 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

JK Franko J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia. His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel. J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On: jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook

~~~

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#Spotlight “In the Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise

 

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In the Best Interest of the Child

by Felicia Denise

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Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, under-served child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Livvie_HospitalOlivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.

NOTE: This book is intended for mature readers – 18+.

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What Readers are saying…

Best Int 5 Stars

“Each page left you wanting to read more to find out what would happen next.” -Kotrish W., Amazon review

“I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction or contemporary fiction.” -Kathy G., Amazon review

“I can’t wait to read the next installment, and I highly recommend this book to everyone.” -A.C.M., Amazon review

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Amazon – https://geni.us/BestInt

All other retailers – books2read.com/BestInterest

Add to Goodreads – https://geni.us/BestIntGR

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#BookReview “Spider Games” by K.J. McGillick

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5/5 Stars!

When family-law attorney Kate O’Brien gets bum-rushed into handling a bail hearing by her business partner, her life spirals out of control.

She’s pulled deeper into a criminal case with a disoriented defendant charged with murder as her partner, Bill Brown, appears to be distancing himself and avoiding her.

When the ugly truth is revealed, Kate finds out she’s not only been Bill’s unwitting pawn and the “name on the dotted line” for his illegal activities but now she must allow herself to be used again to stay out of jail… and alive.

Spider Games is great slow-build suspense. This author knows how to pull readers in and keep them on the edge of their seats. Each chapter delivered a nugget of clarity… and a bucket of questions. Every time I thought my eyebrows couldn’t possibly go any higher, I swiped the page and find out I was wrong!

Kate O’Brien is tenacious and committed to her profession. She’s slowly building a name for herself in the legal community and is grateful to Bill Brown for taking her into the business after a disastrous end to a relationship caused Kate to flee for safety, peace of mind and a fresh start. It’s her gratitude to Bill and inability to trust anyone else that leads Kate to put blinders on and make her an easy mark for Bill, because even as his list of offenses grows, she still considers that he could have been “caught up” in something and defends him to authorities. It’s more than apparent to everyone Bill Brown is not a nice guy and a major player in illegal activities that span the globe… and implicate Kate, but she’s more concerned that Bill has adequate legal representation.

(Insert dramatic eye-roll and Kindle-flinging moment.)

I didn’t like Kate O’Brien. There. I said it.

I admired her focus and passion for her clients. She’s a sharp attorney. She just isn’t very smart. As I passed the story’s midpoint, the only thing higher than my eyebrows was the number of bad decisions Kate made. With attempts on her life, federal agents who aren’t convinced of her innocence and the threat of prison hanging over her, for me, it took Kate too long to appreciate the gravity of her situation.

But every flawed protagonist must have a savior, and thank goodness for Norma Wilkie, legal assistant/paralegal, extraordinaire! The sixty-year-old is savvy, sharp, AND smart… and just the person Kate needs at her side as she tries to navigate the hell her life has become.

Everyone has secrets in Spider Games, Norma included, and as Kate tries to figure out what to believe and who to trust, the plot twists go deeper to reveal a conspiracy even the feds didn’t see coming.

While I’m still not on Team Kate, she won my respect near the story’s end with a new attitude and some fancy footwork of her own.

Excellent pacing made this well-written book a page-turner and one-sitting read. I’m more than ready for book two to see where the conspiracy leads, and hopefully, Jaxson Brant and Agent Owens will show up for the party!

Enjoy!

~~~

A Web of Deception.cover

Kate O’Brien is pure dedication. This feisty, no nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is a legal star. That is until her law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the unimaginable happens, Bill is arrested and charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. As a new client’s case demands attention, Kate must step up to defend a woman accused of murder. Who is this high-priced escort the police believe killed her wealthy benefactor in an alcohol-fueled rage? Nothing is what it seems.

What Kate uncovers is her client and Bill are criminal conspirators playing a game where there are no rules. As she digs deeper, Kate is blind sighted by what she discovers. Bill has implicated her in his crimes and sets a plan in motion making her a target of retribution. All she can do is wait. Tick Tock.

A fast-paced legal thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon UK       Amazon US       Amazon CA       Amazon AU

~~~

#Excerpt “Spider Games” by K.J. McGillick

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cover

A Web of Deception.

Kate O’Brien is pure dedication. This feisty, no nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is a legal star. That is until her law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the unimaginable happens, Bill is arrested and charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. As a new client’s case demands attention, Kate must step up to defend a woman accused of murder. Who is this high-priced escort the police believe killed her wealthy benefactor in an alcohol-fueled rage? Nothing is what it seems.

What Kate uncovers is her client and Bill are criminal conspirators playing a game where there are no rules. As she digs deeper, Kate is blind sighted by what she discovers. Bill has implicated her in his crimes and sets a plan in motion making her a target of retribution. All she can do is wait. Tick Tock.

A fast-paced legal thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon UK       Amazon US       Amazon CA       Amazon AU

~~~

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE

Divorce is an ugly business. People come to me with their hearts blown to bits and dreams crushed by their unworthy spouse. I am a fixer.

I have had my share of crazies over the years and accepted that people can turn vicious as their demands for a pound of their spouse’s flesh escalates. Some I could reason with when things cooled down, others, however, went rogue in the quest for personal and oftentimes vigilante justice. That is why in the thick black and red book of statutes titled Domestic Relations, there are hundreds of codified laws that lawyers and the public alike are expected to follow. These statutes are not mere suggestions, they are rules, and I like rules.

I respect the law and make it my mission to work within its framework. That is not to imply I won’t work every angle possible to win. Because isn’t that what the essence of litigation is about? And I love the feel of winning.

People say I am tenacious. They have even called me scrappy and snarky. That’s okay, because when the name Kate O’Brien is spoken, no one doubts the fight will be fair because I play by the designated rules. So, what am I doing sitting in the county jail, talking to a woman accused of murder and clearly inebriated? A belligerent, incoherent woman who already has expressed her unfavorable opinion of me several times.

William Brown, my law partner, that’s why I’m here, caught in this chaos and drama, as a favor to him. He loves the Wild West attitude of the criminal defense bar and plays fast and loose inside and outside of the courtroom. Flashy cars, a small plane, and two lavish houses have come to define him. All this chasing after power and money is something that has been a problem bubbling to the surface over the course of this last year.

Winning acquittal after acquittal has made him a rock star amongst the criminal community. Now they chase after him and not the other way around. He’s clever and charismatic. I have to admit I am not entirely immune from the second quality. Thus, tonight I was far too easily smooth-talked into agreeing to meet with this unlikeable woman, the wife of an old friend. However, I stood my ground and made it clear I was only a pinch hitter who would take a few minutes to talk to her, gather some information, assure her Bill had this in hand and then I was out.

I took a few minutes to take in the woman who sat across from me in the orange jumpsuit. She could easily pass for a high-fashion model, a pampered high-maintenance woman. I had no doubt she routinely and painstakingly exfoliated her flawless skin, and even after passing out drunk for God knows how long, her hair was still perfectly coifed. Although her makeup had smudged under her eyes, it just gave it a more smoky, smoldering look somewhat sexy, as opposed to your rabid raccoon look that I was known to sport after an hour at the gym.

Right now, no one knew her side of the story. It had taken the last twenty-four hours for her to become even slightly coherent, and the police realized that taking a statement from someone so blitzed would not hold up in court. After a trip to the hospital to assess her medical condition, her body was infused intravenously with a liter of fluid. The emergency room physician declared it was unnecessary, but her husband, an obnoxious and verbally abusive surgeon, insisted on it. When she was finally cleared as medically stable, the police arrested and transported her to the county jail, where she remained asleep until roused and marched to the attorney-client area. Now she was mine.

~~~

KJ McGillickAbout K. J. McGillick

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Follow K. J. McGillick

Website       Twitter      Facebook

~~~

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#Review “Spider Games” by K.J. McGillick

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5/5 Stars!

When family-law attorney Kate O’Brien gets bum-rushed into handling a bail hearing by her business partner, her life spirals out of control.

She’s pulled deeper into a criminal case with a disoriented defendant charged with murder as her partner, Bill Brown, appears to be distancing himself and avoiding her.

When the ugly truth is revealed, Kate finds out she’s not only been Bill’s unwitting pawn and the “name on the dotted line” for his illegal activities but now she must allow herself to be used again to stay out of jail… and alive.

Spider Games is great slow-build suspense. This author knows how to pull readers in and keep them on the edge of their seats. Each chapter delivered a nugget of clarity… and a bucket of questions. Every time I thought my eyebrows couldn’t possibly go any higher, I swiped the page and find out I was wrong!

Kate O’Brien is tenacious and committed to her profession. She’s slowly building a name for herself in the legal community and is grateful to Bill Brown for taking her into the business after a disastrous end to a relationship caused Kate to flee for safety, peace of mind and a fresh start. It’s her gratitude to Bill and inability to trust anyone else that leads Kate to put blinders on and make her an easy mark for Bill, because even as his list of offenses grows, she still considers that he could have been “caught up” in something and defends him to authorities. It’s more than apparent to everyone Bill Brown is not a nice guy and a major player in illegal activities that span the globe… and implicate Kate, but she’s more concerned that Bill has adequate legal representation.

(Insert dramatic eye-roll and Kindle-flinging moment.)

I didn’t like Kate O’Brien. There. I said it.

I admired her focus and passion for her clients. She’s a sharp attorney. She just isn’t very smart. As I passed the story’s midpoint, the only thing higher than my eyebrows was the number of bad decisions Kate made. With attempts on her life, federal agents who aren’t convinced of her innocence and the threat of prison hanging over her, for me, it took Kate too long to appreciate the gravity of her situation.

But every flawed protagonist must have a savior, and thank goodness for Norma Wilkie, legal assistant/paralegal, extraordinaire! The sixty-year-old is savvy, sharp, AND smart… and just the person Kate needs at her side as she tries to navigate the hell her life has become.

Everyone has secrets in Spider Games, Norma included, and as Kate tries to figure out what to believe and who to trust, the plot twists go deeper to reveal a conspiracy even the feds didn’t see coming.

While I’m still not on Team Kate, she won my respect near the story’s end with a new attitude and some fancy footwork of her own.

Excellent pacing made this well-written book a page-turner and one-sitting read. I’m more than ready for book two to see where the conspiracy leads, and hopefully, Jaxson Brant and Agent Owens will show up for the party!

Enjoy!

~~~

Title: Spider Games
Series: A Conspiracy of Betrayal #1
Author: K.J. McGillick
Genre: Legal Thriller
Release Date: January 26, 2020
A Web of Deception.
Kate O’Brien is pure dedication. This feisty, no nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is a legal star. That is until her law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
 
When the unimaginable happens, Bill is arrested and charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. As a new client’s case demands attention, Kate must step up to defend a woman accused of murder. Who is this high-priced escort the police believe killed her wealthy benefactor in an alcohol-fueled rage? Nothing is what it seems.
 
What Kate uncovers is her client and Bill are criminal conspirators playing a game where there are no rules. As she digs deeper, Kate is blind sighted by what she discovers. Bill has implicated her in his crimes and sets a plan in motion making her a target of retribution. All she can do is wait. Tick Tock.
 
A fast-paced legal thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.
 

~~~

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#BlogTour “Spider Games” by K.J. McGillick

Title: Spider Games
Series: A Conspiracy of Betrayal #1
Author: K.J. McGillick
Genre: Legal Thriller
Release Date: January 26, 2020

A Web of Deception.


Kate O’Brien is pure dedication. This feisty, no nonsense attorney works herself to the bone every day, tirelessly building her reputation and career. She is a legal star. That is until her law partner, Bill Brown, a criminal defense attorney, achieves a degree of notoriety which attracts the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the unimaginable happens, Bill is arrested and charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. As a new client’s case demands attention, Kate must step up to defend a woman accused of murder. Who is this high-priced escort the police believe killed her wealthy benefactor in an alcohol-fueled rage? Nothing is what it seems.

What Kate uncovers is her client and Bill are criminal conspirators playing a game where there are no rules. As she digs deeper, Kate is blind sighted by what she discovers. Bill has implicated her in his crimes and sets a plan in motion making her a target of retribution. All she can do is wait. Tick Tock.

A fast-paced legal thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. Suspenseful crime fiction with twists and turns throughout this masterfully plotted novel keeps you on the edge of your seat. It may be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Betrayal.

I have had my share of crazies over the years and accepted that people can turn vicious as their demands for a pound of their spouse’s flesh escalates. Some I could reason with when things cooled down, others, however, went rogue in the quest for personal and oftentimes vigilante justice. That is why in the thick black and red book of statutes titled Domestic Relations, there are hundreds of codified laws that lawyers and the public alike are expected to follow. These statutes are not mere suggestions, they are rules, and I like rules.
I respect the law and make it my mission to work within its framework. That is not to imply I won’t work every angle possible to win. Because isn’t that what the essence of litigation is about? And I love the feel of winning.
People say I am tenacious. They have even called me scrappy and snarky. That’s okay, because when the name Kate O’Brien is spoken, no one doubts the fight will be fair because I play by the designated rules. So, what am I doing sitting in the county jail, talking to a woman accused of murder and clearly inebriated? A belligerent, incoherent woman who already has expressed her unfavorable opinion of me several times.
William Brown, my law partner, that’s why I’m here, caught in this chaos and drama, as a favor to him. He loves the Wild West attitude of the criminal defense bar and plays fast and loose inside and outside of the courtroom. Flashy cars, a small plane, and two lavish houses have come to define him. All this chasing after power and money is something that has been a problem bubbling to the surface over the course of this last year.
Winning acquittal after acquittal has made him a rock star amongst the criminal community. Now they chase after him and not the other way around. He’s clever and charismatic. I have to admit I am not entirely immune from the second quality. Thus, tonight I was far too easily smooth-talked into agreeing to meet with this unlikeable woman, the wife of an old friend. However, I stood my ground and made it clear I was only a pinch hitter who would take a few minutes to talk to her, gather some information, assure her Bill had this in hand and then I was out.
I took a few minutes to take in the woman who sat across from me in the orange jumpsuit. She could easily pass for a high-fashion model, a pampered high-maintenance woman. I had no doubt she routinely and painstakingly exfoliated her flawless skin, and even after passing out drunk for God knows how long, her hair was still perfectly coifed. Although her makeup had smudged under her eyes, it just gave it a more smoky, smoldering look somewhat sexy, as opposed to your rabid raccoon look that I was known to sport after an hour at the gym. 
Right now, no one knew her side of the story. It had taken the last twenty-four hours for her to become even slightly coherent, and the police realized that taking a statement from someone so blitzed would not hold up in court. After a trip to the hospital to assess her medical condition, her body was infused intravenously with a liter of fluid. The emergency room physician declared it was unnecessary, but her husband, an obnoxious and verbally abusive surgeon, insisted on it. When she was finally cleared as medically stable, the police arrested and transported her to the county jail, where she remained asleep until roused and marched to the attorney-client area. Now she was mine.
 “I remember waking up on the floor and he was just lying there,” Alexis Mayhew whispered. Her breath smelled minty; she must have just brushed her teeth. Thank God. After reading the police report which detailed what happened on the way to the hospital in the ambulance, I prepared myself for vomit breath and a woman who likely had rolled in it.
“Nothing more?” I asked. “Who is the man they found in your home? How did he get in?”
She shrugged and offered nothing further.
“Do you know him?” I asked.
She shook her head and then lowered it to rest her forehead on her outstretched arms.
The preliminary police report had only cataloged the physical aspects of the scene and drew no conclusions. There did not appear to be a struggle, nothing disturbed, broken, or upended from its place. However, the state of the victim and Mrs. Mayhew was another matter altogether. The first officer to respond described the smell of alcohol from Mrs. Mayhew to be overwhelming, and when he asked if someone hurt her, all she did was mumble incoherently. As the paramedics attempted to assess her, she splashed them with her projectile vomiting which didn’t stop until she arrived at the hospital. No one likes a sloppy drunk. And that is how they treated her—like a woman who drank too much, went off the rails, and killed someone.

Kathleen McGillick is an author of fast paced mystery, suspense and thriller novels. Her fascination with the genre reaches back to her childhood when she read every Nancy Drew book she could find. This, one could say, laid the foundation for her future love of all things mystery and who dun it’s. 

Although she has lived in Georgia for over thirty-five years and is practicing attorney in the Metro Atlanta, she will always call New York her home. 

When writing her novels she draws from her extensive experience in the medical and legal field to weave her twisted plot lines. Kathleen counts herself an ardent student of art history which allows her to add a dash of art to her novels adding to the mystery of the story.

As a young person her dream was to become an English literature teacher. Although life took her on a different path, one might say she found her way back to her early love of books by spending her time now writing them.

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#Review “Carved in Bone” by Michael Nava

Carved in Bone cover

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5/5 Stars!

Henry Rios is not real. Henry Rios is not real.

I had to remind myself Carved in Bone is fiction… several times.

I had to remember there was a mystery to solve, and that I wasn’t reading someone’s journal.

Because the author is just that good, luring me in so deep, I raised my head to look for Henry or Bill. Or Larry.

While investigating an insurance claim after the questionable death of Bill Ryan, Henry pulls the curtain back on San Francisco during the days and years after when AIDS was first identified. It’s not always a pretty picture, or just about AIDS. For some, the virus was the final punch from life after years of rejection, abuse and violence, and addiction and recovery. For those who recovered.

Henry is determined to answer all the questions surrounding Bill’s death, and he does… while dancing through some pretty cool plot twists. So engrossed in the story from the start, I missed the foreshadowing of one of the reveals. Good writing!

Carved in Bone is heavy and emotional. The author’s use of real events, places, and people make it relevant and thought-provoking, even if it is the past. I lost my baby brother to AIDS-related PCP in 1993, so for me it will never be buried in the past but more like yesterday.

Carved in Bone is heartbreaking because it also pulls the curtain back on a civilized society that is anything but when faced with something we don’t understand… or want to understand. There’s no happy ending tied with a pretty bow because life doesn’t guarantee happy endings–even the dead are victimized in this read. But if Henry Rios has nothing else, even at his lowest, he has hope.

Carved in Bone is simply excellent writing that took me there. I highly recommend it.

Enjoy!

~~~

A new mystery by six-time Lambda Literary award winner, Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Henry Rios, a gay criminal defense lawyer, is fresh out of rehab and trying to put his life back together. He’s hired by an insurance company to investigate the apparently accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning of Bill Ryan in the Castro Street apartment he shared with his lover, who survived. As he delves into Bill Ryan’s life, Rios becomes convinced Ryan’s death was no accident, and that his young lover is implicated. Meanwhile, the tsunami of AIDS is bearing down on San Francisco’s gay community.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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