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  • Writer's pictureLynne McConway

Book review: By Way of Sorrow by Robyn Gigl

A fantastic legal thriller introduces Erin McCabe, a transgender criminal defence attorney

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In By Way of Sorrow, we meet Erin McCabe a criminal defence attorney who, alongside her partner Duane Swisher, is asked to defend Sharise Barnes, a 19-year-old Black transgender woman accused of murdering 28-year-old Will Townsend who happens to be the son of a New Jersey State Senator.

The book opens with Sharise in a hotel room near Atlantic City with Will seemingly having stabbed and killed him. As Erin meets with her new client and gains her trust, she becomes convinced of Sharise’s innocence and sets out to defend her and find out the truth.

So far, pretty routine for a legal thriller. What makes By Way of Sorrow different, and I think more interesting, is the character of Erin McCabe who is also a transgender woman. Having transitioned in the recent past, Erin is navigating her new life as a divorcee without the full support of all of her family. She’s open about her struggles to accept herself as she is and is further confused when an unexpected love interest enters her life.

Erin and Duane’s pursuit of the truth is never easy but their determination to advocate for and defend their client pushes them forward, despite the threat of both violence and the exposure of their personal lives.

This is such a fast-paced story with excellent characterisation. It really is that old cliche - a page-turner. The author Robyn Gigl is an attorney herself which was very apparent in the entirely believable courtroom scenes and unfolding investigation.

If I have one reservation it would be around the lengths the victim’s father goes to preserve his own political ambitions. This is a minor point though in an otherwise excellent, enjoyable and eye-opening novel.

Follow the link below to purchase By Way of Sorrow by Robyn Gigl

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