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While Justice Sleeps

While Justice Sleeps

A Novel

eBook - 2021
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INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams, a gripping thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Courtwhere a young law clerk finds herself embroiled in a shocking mystery plotted by one of the most preeminent judges in America.
"Abrams follows in Dan Brown’s footprint with this masterfully plotted thriller that unfolds like the ultimate chess match—bold move to bolder move with lives hanging in the balance."—Lisa Gardner, author of Before She Disappeared

"A first-class legal thriller, favorably compared to many of the best, starting with The Pelican Brief, which it brings to mind. It’s fast-paced and full of surprises—a terrific read."—Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent
Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together—excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn—the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases—has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court—a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.
As political wrangling ensues in Washington to potentially replace the ailing judge whose life and survival Avery controls, she begins to unravel a carefully constructed, chesslike sequence of clues left behind by Wynn. She comes to see that Wynn had a much more personal stake in the controversial case and realizes his complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth. While Justice Sleeps is a cunningly crafted, sophisticated novel, layered with myriad twists and a vibrant cast of characters. Drawing on her astute inside knowledge of the court and political landscape, Stacey Abrams shows herself to be not only a force for good in politics and voter fairness but also a major new talent in suspense fiction.
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group


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Jul 17, 2021

It took a few chapters and a little note taking for me to get my teeth into this story...but once I did I was hooked! I loved the protagonist Avery. I will certainly look forward to Stacey Abrams next book.


Jul 15, 2021

amazing that abrams was able to write this novel while doing more than her part to stand up for truth, justice, and the american way in her real life. trying to keep up with this convoluted plot with chess, bioengineering, legalese, and a corrupt president trying to stack the supreme court was a challenge. i may have to follow up 'while justice sleeps' with a rom-com beach read.

Jul 15, 2021

Enjoyed this book immensely. Abrams is a good writer and while there was more detail than I personally needed, the story was mighty thrilling. If you like political thrillers, this is a good one to read.

Jul 07, 2021

Though slick, legal thrillers are not my favorite genre, I have read and enjoyed a few. This one seems poorly done. It is very difficult to get into the plot, which jumps around quite a bit and has thin characterizations. I'm a huge fan of Abrams as a politician, but as a writer, she seems to take a formulaic approach that is hard to read and not enjoyable at all. I will state that I don't like the first Bill Clinton/Patterson thriller either and did not read their second one. Perhaps politicians should stay away from writing thrillers!

Jul 05, 2021

Abrams has presented us with another example of a killer of a plot concept ruined by horrible writing. In addition, her poor choice of a reader sunk the book even farther. The reader’s normal narrator voice was fine, but when she was reading dialog she failed miserably. The lead character, a twenty-something Supreme Court law clerk, sounded like a frightened ten-year-old. All the male characters sounded identical, making it hard to distinguish who was talking, and all sounded like B-film thugs.

The great concept is that a U.S. Supreme Court Justice falls into a coma just before a major split-decision vote is to be cast and his clerk, Avery, is given his legal guardianship, i.e. the power over whether he is to live or die. Evil entities want him to die to block the upcoming vote. Avery is faced with difficult decisions and is bullied and threatened by dark and mysterious forces. She is also left with puzzles to solve by the justice who clearly anticipated such a scenario and expected her to succeed. Great plot idea.

But then there’s the horrible writing. Abrams apparently has never met an adverb she doesn’t love to overuse. She turns nouns into verbs or adjectives. “The porch was sturdied by …”, “over the clayed ground.” She must have scoured her thesaurus for every obscure 10- or 12-letter synonym to replace common words in her first draft. Here’s one of her more appalling and hilarious attempts at erudition:

As it was, a permanent case of nausea jitterbugged with nerve-searing apprehension which metastasized into unadulterated panic. Pundits raptured at President Stokes’s capacity to infuse the recitation of a name with an intimacy that’s left the listener with a certainty of her unique place in the world. … That ability translated itself into throngs of voters who failed to heed the clarion calls from a bewildered press dutifully chronicling misdeeds.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or gag. How could an editor let that go by?

Yet another mystifying question is why she chose to portray the federal government as almost completely corrupt and evil. It is books like this that feed the deep state conspiracy theories of the far right groups she so famously opposes in her real life as a political activist. Which side is she on?

Jun 29, 2021

Let me just preface this by saying how much I respect and love Stacey Abrams and her work.
That said, this is not a very good book, I hate to say. Overwritten, cliche--a few good puzzle moments but overall, I can't recommend it.
I look forward to reading some of her nonfiction!

Jun 20, 2021

Disappointing. If there were half stars I'd go with 2-1/2. It wasn't a bad start for her first foray into fiction, but I don't see myself reading any more. There's far too many books by authors who I find compelling or true thrill rides that I want to read.

The only character I warmed up to was Ling....and as a medical resident, how did she have so much time to go off investigating with Avery. There were parts of Avery I liked -- her honesty, her determination to do the right thing and her courage to follow through on it. The solutions she comes up with to the various plot twists were well done.

I disliked Rita almost as much as I disliked Vance and the president. I get it we're supposed to dislike the bad guys...but Rita was more than I wanted to read about.

I really looked forward to this one and maybe too much because it was such a let down.

Jun 17, 2021

Thought the idea was a good one, but the protagonist was not necessarily as well thought out or consistent as she could have been, i.e. being a supreme court clerk is pretty hard core, yet she just goes ahead and picks an apartment front door lock, and then proceeds to fall to her knees in a puddle of blood and puts then puts her hand in it? Really? So a little fanciful, a bit of a stretch for me....
The flow or diction was a bit off for me as well

MGBustillo Jun 09, 2021

A thrilling mystery law suspense story centered around the power of attorney laid at the feet of a law clerk who is not as simple as others assume.

STPL_JessH May 19, 2021

Do not come to me for an objective review where Stacey Abrams is concerned. I LOVE her. I also LOVE this book. I have only read her non-fiction so this is my first foray into an Abrams thriller and I can tell you without doubt, I am here to stay! I really loved the plot, the characters, the politics, and the ethical entanglements. Abrams stretches what is possible just enough to create a fabulous story, but not enough to make readers frustrated that we have to believe in singing donkeys or anything.

I am not quite sure I completely understand the chess references but that's because I don't play. So, I'll leave those bits for another reader to discuss. I can tell you that Adenrele Ojo's narration is fabulous! Yes, of course I listened to the audiobook.

While Justice Sleeps is an intelligent, ethically fraught thriller, and I am very keen to read more!

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