Thursday, June 10, 2021

While Justice Sleeps - a thriller by multi-talented Stacey Abrams

Title: While Justice Sleeps
Author: Stacey Abrams
Publication: Doubleday, hardcover, 2021
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Present-day Washington, DC
Description: Unpredictable and irascible Justice Howard Wynn is the swing vote on the United States Supreme Court and the President is determined to replace him with someone who will support his right-wing agenda. The only person standing in the way is Justice Wynn’s law clerk, Avery Keene, who unexpectedly becomes his legal guardian when the Justice falls into a convenient coma. Avery already has a complicated life, in a very demanding job by day while trying to protect her drug-addict mother at night, and she is not expecting to learn that Wynn had discovered a conspiracy relating to a Supreme Court case that involves the highest powers of Washington. Avery assembles a team to help her unravel the plot – the justice’s estranged son; his lawyer; and her roommate, a young doctor; who trust her unconditionally, even as the press lurks outside, spinning outrageous headlines, and bad guys plot against them.

My Impressions: The title of this book could be When Does Stacey Abrams Sleep! I knew between her final year of law school and her earliest years as a state representative in Georgia, Abrams wrote eight romantic suspense novels, all under the Selena Montgomery pseudonym, published by Arabesque, then an imprint of Zebra Books, now Kensington. Arabesque was the first line of original African-American romance novels from a major publishing house, edited by talented Monica Harris (I just read that she died at just 44, which is very sad). I bet Kensington wishes it had kept the rights of these books which are going to be reissued in hardcover by Berkley, one of my former employers. Seriously, not only did she write a book while in law school, she wrote this thriller while orchestrating the voting rights drive in Georgia that gave us two much-needed senate seats.  

While Justice Sleeps is a fast-paced thriller in the tradition of The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer or some of David Baldacci’s suspense novels. Avery is an appealing character although we don’t know much about her except that she has succeeded despite having to cope with her drug-addict mother and no family support. She is also improbably good at thinking on her feet (a much-needed skill for a lawyer) and reminded me of Robert Langdon in The DaVinci Code, who is momentarily baffled when confronted with a puzzle, then says, “Ah, yes, this reminds me of the time I learned some obscure information about trapezoids, which will now help me quickly decipher where the next clue will be.” 

There were some things I did not understand – why Avery had bounced from college to college – I gather she was following her mother, but it would likely have prevented her from getting the financial aid she needed for college. I understand it accounted for her knowledge of French philosophy, if not her chess expertise. I also didn’t understand why Justice Wynn became estranged from his son, although it helped advance the plot. Presumably, he was just meant to be an unpleasant person, trying to make amends at the end of his life. In any case, these quibbles did not prevent my enjoyment of this first of my 20 Books of Summer. This is also my fifteenth book for the Cloak and Dagger Challenge.
Links: * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * Amazon * Book Depository * Libraries

Source: I was planning to get this from the library, then decided my sister would like it for her birthday.  Plus, I wanted to support Stacey Abrams!

1 comment:

TracyK said...

This does sound like an interesting book. Not necessarily the type of book I would seek out, but I am sure I will read it eventually. Thanks for the additional information about the author.