By Way of Sorrow is a page turner extraordinaire
Sharise Barnes knows the moment it happens, she’s in a serious hot mess. She rolls the dead body from on top of her and, shaking, works to figure out what comes next. This is not a spoiler. Author Robyn Gigl has put you at the heart of the “What” of her debut novel By Way of Sorrow.
For those of us hungry for characters that look more like us and the we know, most of whom we love, the author provides a moveable feast of very human souls. Many of us believe that no one person is a perfect angel or an absolute devil—the truth is on a spectrum. Many who pick up this book will learn for the first time that gender is a spectrum as well.
Erin McCabe is called in to take over a murder case from a public defender. The accused is Samuel Barnes, and Erin is a bit mystified. She wonders as to how this case came under her consideration.
When Erin digs in a bit more, she discovers that while Samuel is the name on a 19-year old birth certificate, Sharise is a transwoman like herself. Except Erin is white and white collar and Sharise is a black runaway who is in some serious trouble. Sharise is accused of murdering the son of a very powerful southern New Jersey State Senator and power broker and despite her gender identity, despite living in a state with one of the oldest non-discrimination laws on the books, Sharise is being held in a men’s prison.
Erin knows that justice delayed is justice denied and recognizes that even though she’s between the proverbial rock and, well, another rock, she is the right person to stand up for Sharise.
The road to justice is not as smooth as the Garden State Parkway, and the path has tribulation both personal and professional for Erin and her law partner, Duane “Swish” Swisher, formerly FBI, who is under investigation on his own. Gigl demonstrates how connected we all are in the book.
For those of us who live in New Jersey, there is the added bonus of “ah-ha” and “ooh” moments throughout. There is plenty local color and geographic references that make a book a true experience.
By Way of Sorrow is a page turner extraordinaire, and there is already a sequel in the works from Robyn Gigl. Yup, it’s THAT good!
By Way of Sorrow, by Robyn Gigl is ISBN 978-1496728258