Reviews for While Justice Sleeps

by Stacey Abrams

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A progressive superstar pens her first political thriller.Anyone who follows the news knows Abrams as a politician and voting rights activist. She's less well known as a novelist. Using the pseudonym Selena Montgomery, Abrams has published several works of romantic suspense. Her new novel begins when Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn falls into a coma. His clerk Avery Keene is shocked to discover that her boss has made her his legal guardian and granted her power of attorney. The fate of one of the most powerful men in the world is in her handsand her life is in danger. Abrams gives us nefarious doings in the world of biotech, a president with autocratic tendencies and questionable ethics, and a young woman struggling to unravel a conspiracy while staying one step ahead of the people who want her out of the way. Unfortunately, the author doesn't weave these intriguing elements into an enjoyable whole. Abrams makes some odd word choices, such as this: The intricate knot she had twisted into her hair that morning bobbed cunningly as she neared her office. The adverb cunningly is mystifying, and Abrams uses it in a similar way later on. There are disorienting shifts in point of view. And Abrams lavishes a great deal of attention on details that simply dont matter, which makes the pace painfully slow. This is a fatal flaw in a suspense novel, but it may not be the most frustrating aspect of this book. For a protagonist who has gotten where she is by being smart, Avery makes some stunningly poor decisions. For example, the fact that she has a photographic memory is an important plot point and is clearly a factor in Justice Wynns decision to enlist her help. When she finds a piece of paper upon which is printed a long string of characters and the words "BURN UPON REVIEW," Avery memorizes the lines of numbers and lettersand then, even though she knows shes being surveilled, she snaps a shot of the paper with her phone, thereby making the whole business of setting it on fire quite pointless. More of a curiosity for political junkies than a satisfying story of international intrigue. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A progressive superstar pens her first political thriller. Anyone who follows the news knows Abrams as a politician and voting rights activist. She's less well known as a novelist. Using the pseudonym Selena Montgomery, Abrams has published several works of romantic suspense. Her new novel begins when Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn falls into a coma. His clerk Avery Keene is shocked to discover that her boss has made her his legal guardian and granted her power of attorney. The fate of one of the most powerful men in the world is in her hands—and her life is in danger. Abrams gives us nefarious doings in the world of biotech, a president with autocratic tendencies and questionable ethics, and a young woman struggling to unravel a conspiracy while staying one step ahead of the people who want her out of the way. Unfortunately, the author doesn't weave these intriguing elements into an enjoyable whole. Abrams makes some odd word choices, such as this: “The intricate knot she had twisted into her hair that morning bobbed cunningly as she neared her office.” The adverb cunningly is mystifying, and Abrams uses it in a similar way later on. There are disorienting shifts in point of view. And Abrams lavishes a great deal of attention on details that simply don’t matter, which makes the pace painfully slow. This is a fatal flaw in a suspense novel, but it may not be the most frustrating aspect of this book. For a protagonist who has gotten where she is by being smart, Avery makes some stunningly poor decisions. For example, the fact that she has a photographic memory is an important plot point and is clearly a factor in Justice Wynn’s decision to enlist her help. When she finds a piece of paper upon which is printed a long string of characters and the words "BURN UPON REVIEW," Avery memorizes the lines of numbers and letters—and then, even though she knows she’s being surveilled, she snaps a shot of the paper with her phone, thereby making the whole business of setting it on fire quite pointless. More of a curiosity for political junkies than a satisfying story of international intrigue. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In When Justice Sleeps, Abrams takes a break from her considerable political responsibilities to craft a legal thriller featuring Avery Keene, who clerks for Supreme Court Justice Wynn and takes over the background investigation of a key case when he falls into a coma. In Hairpin Bridge, Adams's No Exit follow-up, Lena Nguyen doesn't believe that estranged twin sister Cambry committed suicide; otherwise, she likely wouldn't have called 911 16 times before her death (100,000-copy first printing). In Hummel's Lesson in Red, follow-up to the Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick Still Lives, Maggie Richter faces another artworld mystery. In Edgar-nominated, New York Times best-selling author McCreight's Friends Like These, a bachelor party in the Catskills is a cover for a staged intervention to help one of the guests, but someone ends up dead (75,000-copy first printing). Abducted from her found-religion parents' isolated Arkansas homestead and returned unharmed yet still treated as damaged, teenage Sarabeth gladly makes her exit, but in International Thriller Writer Award winner McHugh's What's Done in Darkness, she gets called back five years later to help with a copycat crime. Following Mangin's nationally best-selling Tangerine, Palace of the Drowned stars flailing British novelist Frankie Croy, who is staying in a friend's vacant Venice palazzo in 1966 while struggling to regain her early writing promise and doesn't quite trust a fan who comes her way (200,000-copy first printing). Having had a huge international best seller with The Silent Patient, Michaelides aims for another winner in his Untitled new work (one-million-copy first printing). Following the New York Times best-selling, Reese Witherspoon-optioned Something in the Water, Steadman returns with The Disappearing Act, about a British actress who realizes that she's the only witness to the disappearance of a woman she auditioned with during Hollywood's harried pilot season.

Back