Review by clint_csperry-org -- Betrayal in Blue

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Review by clint_csperry-org -- Betrayal in Blue

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Betrayal in Blue" by Mark M. Bello.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Betrayal in Blue is a tale about Captain Jack Dylan of the Dearborn, Michigan Police Force. He and his team learn of a planned terrorist attack on the police station and the Mosque of America. The people behind the attack are seeking revenge for a case that Dylan and his team resolved a year earlier that found Benjamin Blaine locked up for the rest of his life. The attack is thwarted only to have the leader escape. Dylan blames the FBI who shut his team out of the investigation. Where did Breitner, leader of this white nationalist terrorist group go? When and where will he reappear? Mark M. Bello has included plenty of twists and turns in Betrayal in Blue, including Captain Jack Dylan being arrested, for first-degree murder to keep any detective story aficionado interested.

That Jack Dylan would be arrested at all was a surprise to me. Granted we are talking about a small town, and Dylan had angered the local sheriff, but a charge of first-degree murder when they did not even have a body, only a few body fragments? The investigators are surprised so little of the body had been recovered. The coroner stated that the rest of Breitner’s body would have been obliterated by the explosion. Even with the small town mindedness of the players, I found this scenario a stretch.

To further the stretch of credulity, the story states: “The FBI had a vested interest in the Breitner investigation. They were angry at themselves over the Arlington mess, and Jack was a perfect scapegoat for their botched investigation and operation. They wanted the charges to stick and had an interest in seeing that Jack Dylan spent the rest of his days in prison.” I just did not buy into the idea that the FBI would support this rush to justice.

Regardless, I liked that the story is a quick read and had a few fun twists. However, there are significant issues. The dialog, for the most part, was good, but there were occasions where the characters sounded more like a textbook rather than people talking to one another.

There was too much repetition of information. For most readers, it is sufficient to read something once and move on. I, as a reader, do not appreciate being beaten over the head with the same information multiple times, even if it is crucial or done by multiple characters. The repetitions are annoying and flow stopping.

A more significant issue bothers me, though. When Jack went in to meet with Breitner, he wore a wire. I believe that standard protocol would have been to record the conversations. That would have included the discussion leading up to Breitner pulling a gun and finding the wire. What happened to this recording? Why didn’t the Shaheed say something when the Chief arrested Jack? That recording, along with the testimony of the man who recorded it should have put a quick end to the charges. Even if there were no recording, there was a witness. Shaheed had listened to the conversation and called the police when the meeting went bad. Jack mentioned the wire later when talking to Zachery Blake, his attorney, but there was no follow up. I liked the story, though I found this omitted bit of evidence or a reasonable explanation for its absence, a major plot flaw.

I rate Betrayal in Blue 2 out of 4 stars. I did like the conclusion. The editing is good, and the story flows well. Characters seem real, and their decisions seem reasonable if flawed at times. Those who like detective stories will find this a fun read.

Betrayal in Blue
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