The Advocate's Labyrinth

The Advocate Series Book 12

Fiction - Mystery - Legal
326 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2022
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Author Biography

Teresa Burrell has dedicated her life to helping children and their families in both the courtroom and the classroom.

As an attorney in San Diego, Burrell maintained a private law practice for twelve years, which specialized in domestic, criminal, and civil cases. Her work in juvenile court focused on representing abused minors and juvenile delinquents. Burrell has received several awards and special recognition from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers for her countless hours of pro bono work with children and their families.

Burrell has also enjoyed a satisfying career as a teacher. She has taught children of all ages with diverse backgrounds and special needs. After creating an after-school program that kept kids off the street, she received a community service award.

Now in semi-retirement in California, Burrell continues to educate groups about social issues impacting children and write novels, many of which are inspired by actual legal cases. She is the author of The Advocate Series which now contains eleven novels: The Advocate is the first in The Advocate Series. I have ten more, The Advocate's Betrayal, The Advocate's Conviction, The Advocate’s Dilemma, The Advocate’s Ex Parte, The Advocate’s Felony, The Advocate’s Geocache, The Advocate’s Homicides, The Advocate's Illusion, The Advocate's Justice, The Advocate’s Killer, and The Advocate's Labyrinth. I have also started a second series with a character named Tuper who first appeared in Book #6, The Advocate's Felony. Those books are Mason's Missing, Finding Frankie and Recovering Rita.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

When an attorney's aunt unexpectedly dies, she discovers her aunt's life was more complex than she realized in the legal mystery, The Advocate's Labyrinth: The Advocate Series Book 12 by Teresa Burrell. When attorney Sabre Brown's Aunt Goldie dies from a heart attack, she becomes the trustee to Goldie's estate. The very first thing Goldie charges her to do is hold off on telling her children of her demise and to change her locks. Believing Goldie has very few assets, Sabre can't believe her eyes when she unlocks her aunt's front door. Goldie was a hoarder, and as Sabre and her brother Ron sift through Goldie's belongings, they discover she had secrets few knew. While juggling her greedy, unpleasant cousins and the legal aspects of Goldie's estate, Sabre finds a few more surprising new elements in Goldie's life, substantially affecting the assets and their distribution. Can Sabre keep the peace long enough to fulfill her aunt's wishes? Can she protect Goldie's legacy?

The Advocate's Labyrinth is a riveting legal mystery depicting the difficulties and surprises a lawyer confronts while performing her duty. It is a brilliant novel with a complex plot and well-defined characters. Several intriguing and intense subplots thread through the storyline, creating a suspenseful and captivating book. The author, Teresa Burrell, did a magnificent job of intricately weaving them together, tying them off, and bringing the story to a satisfying and brilliant finish. Even though this is the twelfth book in a series, it does perfectly well as a standalone. Details and characters from previous books are flawlessly assimilated into the storyline. Even characters from the Tuper series have cameo roles in this book. Skillfully written, it is a sensational novel in an outstanding series. Everyone who enjoys mysteries that include the justice system will not want to miss this novel.

Marta Tandori

Death is almost always sad, sometimes tragic or, in the case of The Advocate’s Labyrinth, the latest mystery in The Advocate Series by Teresa Burrell, it can even be utterly complexing. Attorney Sabre Brown’s beloved Aunt Goldie had always been a loving and generous aunt but it isn’t until after her unexpected death that Sabre discovers Goldie was actually a complex woman of many secrets – not to mention a compulsive hoarder and a woman who feared for her life. Her aunt had left a series of explicit – albeit confusing – end of life instructions for Sabre to follow and, as executor of her aunt’s estate, she wants to honor her beloved aunt’s wishes but the gargantuan task of sorting through her deceased aunt’s endless junk proves a daunting task, impeded by her aunt’s five adult children who are impatiently awaiting their inheritance from their mother’s modest estate. Complicating matters is a particularly tough case on the work front where Sabre is representing four young siblings, whose youngest brother died under very disturbing circumstances. As the layers of junk are painstakingly removed and discoveries are made, Sabre comes to terms with the complex woman her aunt was, both in life and in death…

The Advocate’s Labyrinth is well-written with a narrative that flows naturally and keeps readers engaged, but what makes it especially interesting is Burrell’s protagonist. Attorneys are hardly unique protagonists in fiction but Sabre Brown stands head and shoulders above most because she’s a children’s advocate, representing young clients that have lived through the most heinous of domestic situations, coming from abuse and broken homes. This particular story gives readers a somewhat unique look at both ends of the spectrum; from the viewpoint of damaged children coming from an abusive home to that of an older woman who believed herself to be a failure as a mother. Each viewpoint is equally poignant and tragic in its own right.

Having said this, The Advocate’s Labyrinth is an entertaining story, made all the more so by Burrell’s host of secondary characters in the form of Sabre’s ever-supportive PI boyfriend (who conveniently seems to know all the right people who are instrumental in providing Sabre with the answers she needs), her brother Ron (the perfect brother every sister wishes she had) and Bob, Sabre’s best friend and colleague (supporting the premise that it’s possible for the opposite sex to have a solid, platonic friendship). Each character contributes their own layer of depth to the story, giving it both texture and authenticity. A standout mystery all around, The Advocate’s Labyrinth is sure to satisfy lovers of the series as well as any mystery lover’s sweet spot for intrigue.

Grant Leishman

The Advocate’s Labyrinth (The Advocate Series) by Teresa Burrell is the latest iteration of what is clearly a very successful series centered around Attorney Sabre O. Brown. In this volume, Sabre is left with a tricky task set by her favorite aunt, Goldie, when she passes on. Sabre is appointed the executor and trustee of Goldie’s will and trust, which means she will have to navigate the stormy waters of Goldie’s five children from three different marriages. Complicating issues for Sabre is the absolute horror show she discovers at her aunt’s house. Aunt Goldie was a hoarder of the most extreme variety, and even just navigating around the house proves an impossibility with the sheer volume of stacked material left behind. It’s a monumental task to unravel, but she soon discovers Aunt Goldie was not the slightly eccentric woman they all believed her to be, but actually a shrewd and calculating businesswoman whose legacy will be far greater than the one house everyone believed she owned.

The Advocate’s Labyrinth is a really fun and easy read that I raced through in no time at all. The story flows so seamlessly, and the clever plot twists and turns carry the reader forward. Author Teresa Burrell has created a likable and believable main character in Sabre Brown. Having a woman in this type of role is always a real bonus. I particularly liked her because although she was clearly strong, competent, and extremely moral, there were hints of her flaws and weaknesses, which served to reinforce and round out her character in full. I enjoyed the little clues that Goldie had left for Sabre to ponder and allow her to find her way to the ultimate conclusion; that Goldie was much more than the gentle, kindly, frugal woman she portrayed to the outside world. The sub-plot relating to Sabre’s work as a child advocate was also an interesting distraction to the main plot and allowed the reader to get a much more complete view of Sabre Brown the lawyer, the fearless advocate, and the woman. This was an exceptionally enjoyable read for me and one I can highly recommend.