Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Avery Keene #1

While Justice Sleeps

Rate this book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A gripping, complexly plotted thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court, where a young law clerk finds herself embroiled in a shocking mystery crafted by one of the most preeminent judges in America--from celebrated national leader and bestselling author Stacey Abrams.

"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.

367 pages, Hardcover

First published May 11, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Stacey Abrams

21 books1,852 followers
Stacey Abrams is an American politician, lawyer, author, and businesswoman who was the house minority leader for the Georgia General Assembly and state representative for the 89th House District. She is a Democrat. Abrams is a candidate in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election.

If elected, Abrams will be Georgia's first female governor and the first black female governor in the United States.

Abrams, one of six siblings, was born to Robert and Carolyn Abrams in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. The family moved to Atlanta where her parents pursued graduate school and later became Methodist ministers. She attended Avondale High School and was the school's first African-American valedictorian. While in high school, she was hired as a typist for a congressional campaign and was later hired as a speechwriter at age 17 based on the edits she made while typing.

In 1995, Abrams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Economics and Sociology) from Spelman College, magna cum laude. While in college, Abrams worked in the youth services department in the office of Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson. She later interned at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a Harry S. Truman Scholar, she studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs and went on to earn her J.D. from Yale Law School.

Abrams worked as a tax attorney at the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm in Atlanta, with a focus on tax-exempt organizations, health care and public finance. She was appointed the Deputy City Attorney for Atlanta at age 29.

Abrams co-founded and served as the senior vice president of NOW Corp. (formerly NOWaccount Network Corporation), a financial services firm. She co-founded Nourish, Inc., a beverage company with a focus on infants and toddlers, and is CEO of Sage Works, a legal consulting firm, that has represented clients including the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA.

Abrams has had an extensive writing career, penning several best-selling novels under the nom de plume of Selina Montgomery. Abrams is also the author of 'Minority Leader', a book of leadership advice to be published by Henry Holt & Co. in April 2018.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
10,580 (30%)
4 stars
14,044 (41%)
3 stars
7,482 (21%)
2 stars
1,604 (4%)
1 star
427 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,178 reviews
Profile Image for Matt  Chisling (MattyandtheBooks).
349 reviews152 followers
May 3, 2021
Me on Nov 6, 2020: A Stacey Abrams novel? It could be the word “vote” for 80,000 words and it gets five stars from me.

Me in March 2021 when I read the book: It turns out Stacey Abrams can write a DAMN good legal/medical thriller. This is a story about a supreme court with a swing vote, a judge in a coma, and a law clerk-turned legal guardian who is left to solve a mystery that will change the country’s future. This is a brilliant and brainy thriller that involves genetic bioengineering, political prowess, and a lot of chess. But it’s got a story that won’t quit and some awesome characters. Abrams can be a bit verbose at times, but once you get into the groove it’s hard to stop.

Thank you to Doubleday books for my advance copy!
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,543 reviews24.6k followers
April 11, 2021
Stacey Abrams, lawyer and Georgia Democratic political rockstar when it comes to voting rights, showcases her ability to write a complex, taut and riveting legal thriller, featuring the extraordinary Avery Keene, a protagonist in the vein of Grisham's Darby Shaw in The Pelican Brief, memorably played by Julia Roberts in the movie. Avery is the law clerk, with an eidetic memory, to the brilliant if cantankerous, Justice Howard Wynn, so often the critical swing vote in the Supreme Court. Her life becomes a deadly and challenging nightmare when Wynn slides into a coma, apparently he is a sufferer of Boursin's Syndrome, and shockingly he has appointed her his legal guardian with power of attorney. This is an act that enrages the President, Brandon Stokes, and Celeste, Wynn's wife who wants to switch off his life support.

The suspicions of Homeland Security's Major Will Vance and the FBI are aroused, whilst the intense media scrutiny is behind the public shredding of her reputation, discrediting her professionalism, and questioning her integrity, nothing and no-one is off limits, including Avery's drug addict mother, Rita. Aided by Jared, Wynn's estranged son, Noah Fox, Wynn's lawyer, and Dr Ling Yun, her best friend, roommate, and medic, Avery tries to solve the cryptic clues left behind for her by Wynn under the format of a strategic chess match. This leads her to Avtar, a Indian biotech company, and its proposed acquisiton of the American GenWorks that is being virulently opposed by the President, amoral, unethical and deadly genetic experimentation, and political corruption at the highest levels. Furthermore, Avery faces powerfully ruthless political players intent on removing Wynn from the Supreme Court, who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this, including murder, and threatening the lives of anyone close to Avery.

Abrams utilises her political and legal background to great effect in this fast paced, compulsive and suspenseful thriller that had me turning the pages as fast as I could to find out how it all ends. I must admit, prior to reading this, I was apprehensive as to whether Abrams would be able to deliver a well written and exciting thriller, I need not have worried in the slightest, this is the work of a able writer. It seems there is no end to the talents of the author, and I loved her capacity to come up with several well plotted, and complex storylines in this enthralling read. This is one I am sure many crime, mystery and thriller readers will love. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
Profile Image for Book Clubbed.
146 reviews152 followers
June 26, 2021
First and foremost, we should appreciate how talented this woman is. In the midst of helping to sway a national election and two senator races, Stacey Abrams wrote and edited a nearly 400-page thriller. And not just a boilerplate thriller, either, but one replete with genetics, chess theories, Supreme Court operating procedures, company mergers, political hierarchies, and a bunch of other moments of textured research I am surely forgetting. Some people are too talented-- can't she share some of her skillset with others?

We start out with a rollicking first chapter, laying the ground for a complex thriller, posing several juicy questions to chomp into. The irascible Justice Howard Wynn leaves Avery Keene as his power of attorney, a controversial decision that leads Avery on a John Grisham-esque legal goose chase. Luckily for us, Abrams is a much better writer than Grisham.

Unfortunately, the supposed strengths of this book are also, to me, what is holding it back. Every character speaks in an erudite, polished manner, indistinguishable from one another. No character has the quirks, complexities, and contradictions that would make them memorable. This novel feels like it has been through 1,000 drafts, every rough edge sanded down, every unique phrase stricken and replaced with academic verbiage.

Avery Keene, the protagonist, is likeable enough, a young woman in the mold of "people keep underestimating me, I'll show them!" However, she had little personality, and is the type of character I’m liable to completely forget as soon as I put the book down. The best character, Justice Wynn, spends almost the entire book in a coma.

We fall into a series of hurried, whispered conversations in the middle of the novel, exchanging information in a repetitive manner. This continues towards the end of the book, as the convoluted plot is explained by various characters stepping into the scene and explaining it for us, like a Scooby Doo ending, over and over again. I had largely lost interest by then because I didn’t care about the characters, although like any reader I wanted to grasp the mystery. The complex web of dark forces that conspired ultimately felt stilted, Abrams jamming every element together in a last-ditch effort to impress us.

Abrams is very smart and painstaking in her research, but those two attributes alone do not make a great novel.

Stop making fertilizer bombs in your basement and listen to full pods here.
Profile Image for Alicia.
536 reviews26 followers
March 13, 2021
Wow, I REALLY wanted to like this, but it was tough to get through. It is dense with unnecessary knowledge, which I guess showcases how smart Stacey Abrams is but does not make for a good read. She included every detail but a compelling story in this one.
November 16, 2021
Praise for "While Justice Sleeps", a masterfully plotted legal drama, a cracking political thriller, and a live game of chess where the puzzle and plot is unravelled by deciphering a series of cryptic moves on a chess board.

Avery Keene, a bright law clerk for the legendary and sometimes controversial Justice Howard Wynn, is thrust into the spotlight when she is appointed legal guardian and power of attorney for Justice Wynn during a political crisis. Wynn, a prominent judge has slipped into a coma ahead of a very important political and ethical vote that draws out his many enemies, and conspirators who will stop at nothing to keep hidden dark and damaging secrets including those who seek to influence the vote to their own ends.

The book “While Justice Sleeps” is a brilliant and complex suspense thriller that takes us from the corridors of Washington to India, involving an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm. Avery tries to uncover what Wynn has been secretly researching by unravelling a sequence of chess board clues left by Justice Wynn, putting herself and others in danger. Could the president be corrupt?

Stacey Abrams has used her depth of experience and knowledge of the American legal system to write one of the most compelling Political and Legal thrillers, that will grip you from the first page. It is complex, multi layered with so many twists and hidden agendas played out from beginning to end. The writing was superb, and the characters were so well-developed delivering hours of intrigue. I understand this was Stacey Abrams first fiction novel. Wow what a debut, please write more. Loved this book. A smashing read.

Read and rated July. Written review completed properly in November
Profile Image for Julie .
4,000 reviews58.9k followers
December 9, 2021
While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams is a 2021 Doubleday publication.

When Justice Howard Wynn slips into a coma, all hell breaks loose. His law clerk, Avery Keene, has been given the power of attorney for the judge- not his wife, not his son… Avery! And she has no idea why he would do that.

Naturally, this doesn’t sit too well with many people. Avery comes under suspicion as politicians in Washington waste no time in trying to figure out how to proceed.

The stakes are high as the court was set to rule on a merger between a biotech company and an Indian genetics firm. Wynn, as it turns out, may have had a personal stake in how things turned out. His investigations could have exposed a chilling conspiracy… and now Avery could be in the line of fire.

This is a very good thriller. The plot is smart with chilling ramifications, and although it has several threads going at once, it never felt too busy.

There are a few warbles, though. Mostly this is a personal problem- for one, I am 'chess impaired', so many of the chess analogies fell flat because I didn’t quite get the whole meaning.

I’m also terrible with math and chemistry, so that also took me out of the story a few times.

The book also has a mildly dated feel to it. No social media, no cell phones etc. To be fair, Abrams wrote the book a while back, but it didn’t garner much interest until recently. It’s a small quibble, but I did notice it, all the same.

The other complaint I have is the ‘Legal thriller’ category the book is placed in. There isn't any courtroom wrangling, or lawyers trying to outsmart each other, there's not criminal on trial, etc. etc.

Avery is a law clerk and Wynn is a judge- that’s it. Okay, there are some legal papers and some court rulings, but in my opinion, this is a conspiracy- based/ political thriller- something along the lines of Brad Meltzer’s expertise- and that’s meant to be a compliment.

Other than that, I thought the story was well thought out, and raised some thought-provoking scenarios on several levels. The pacing is a bit slow, but this is not a book that depends on explosions and car chases.

There’s a lot going on in this book, and I, for one, was grateful the author took her time with it. Despite the deliberate pacing, there are several intense scenes, sprinkled in here and there.

The characterizations are also very well-done. Avery is a fantastic heroine- smart, compassionate, with a strong moral compass. She defines grace under pressure, and I enjoyed seeing her come out of the situation with her sense of humor intact and a bright future ahead of her.

Overall, this one was more of a mixed bag than I had anticipated, but I am so glad the book finally saw the light of day. It is a solid thriller and definitely worth the time spent reading it!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for John Amory.
Author 18 books44 followers
April 29, 2021
I wanted to like this more than I did, but it's just not very exciting. There are a million characters to keep track of, and the third person omniscient POV makes for some jarring narration (there are occasionally passages where we jump into a character's POV for one paragraph or a few sentences before switching again). That, in conjunction with an abundance of unnecessary detail and some truly bizarre syntax and diction that read like Abrams wrote with a thesaurus tab open on her browser, make for a not-entirely-enjoyable reading experience.

There are some really fun elements, like the chess theme, but not enough for this to rise above "kinda good."
Profile Image for Max.
288 reviews52 followers
October 18, 2021
Even if it wasn't the legend Stacey Abrams writing this book, it still sounds really good. A murder mystery on the Supreme Court? I mean, who wouldn't want to read this?
Profile Image for myo ✧༺ ༘♡ ༻∞.
702 reviews6,263 followers
January 5, 2023
this was my first legal thriller and i might need to get into this genre because it was so much FUN! it reminded me of how to get away with murder
Profile Image for Tim.
2,109 reviews192 followers
July 7, 2021
This story is much longer than necessary to its detriment. Seriously, a junkie mom? Are you kidding me? What's that got to do with justice? Cutting 1/3 of this would have made it better. 4 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Barbara.
268 reviews205 followers
September 18, 2021
"Knowing the law isn't about the school (you went to), it's about the mind, the heart, about understanding what the law intends as much as reading beneath what it says. Knowing how to find
one's way to the truth."

This legal thriller was a nice breather from my usual selections. I knew Stacey Abrams had written romance novels under a pseudonym, but I have no interest in that genre. When I read she had written this novel, my interest was piqued. Could this bright and savvy politician also be an adequate writer? I like legal thrillers enough to find out.

When law clerk Avery Keene becomes the legal guardian for Howard Wynn, the rude but honorable supreme court justice now in a coma, the action begins. Wynn has left instructions for Avery to follow. Like a possible lethal treasure hunt, she works her way through the mystery of the controversial case before the court. What dubious clues had Wynn uncovered about the proposed merger between a biotech company and a genetics firm? Who was fighting the merger and for what reasons? As her investigative work unfolds and attempts on her life become more frequent, powerful people become implicated.

Abrams political knowledge is very evident in the intriguing details. While the characters were interesting, it definitely was plot-driven. I had to force myself to put it down when my family feigned starvation. Since I'm not a connoisseur of this genre, I can't judge its merits compared to other similar novels, but it delivered all that I wanted. It was gripping, fast-paced, and full of twists and turns. Abrams versatility amazes me. It was not written with a biased political view. The only political message that was evident was our government does not work best when the parties work in opposition.

"America is a contradictory and precocious country. We have in a very short period of time managed to commit venal sins against our own people and offer the world repeat examples of exceptionalism."

Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,040 followers
May 27, 2021
Every time I teach my Reading class, I ask my students to read a book from a genre they don't usually read, and then I try to do the same, although I've done this enough I'm now turning to subgenres. I've read thrillers, but never a legal thriller!

Avery Keene is the law clerk for one of the Supreme Court justices, and when he falls into a coma, she finds herself named his legal guardian. She is thrown into international intrigue and a string of hidden documents that only she can solve.

The audiobook includes an intro by Abrams, where she talks about the publishing journey that began in 1995, where publishers felt some of the characters were too unrealistic - a president out for his own financial gain, justices of questionable character, etc.

If you don't know who Stacey Abrams is, you should. She's a major political player, and I like this somewhat more distant profile of her at the BBC. She also writes romance novels under a pen name, Selena Montgomery.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me eBook access through NetGalley, even if I ultimately went for this in audio. It's out and ready for a listen/read.
Profile Image for Jean.
1,701 reviews736 followers
November 17, 2021
This is an interesting legal/medical thriller. The book is well written. The story is plot driven. The reader must stay alert as the story has many moving parts. The characters are interesting. At times I felt the story could have moved at a faster pace but that might just be the mood I was in while reading it. I hope that Abrams continues to write more legal thrillers.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is fourteen hours and fifty-five minutes. Adenrele Ojo does a good job narrating the book. Ojo is an award-winning audiobook narrator and actress.

Profile Image for Dallas Strawn.
638 reviews69 followers
May 23, 2021
Okay, so not only did she practically save American democracy, but girlfriend can write a DAMN GOOD BOOK.

Wow, am I impressed. I was a little cautious stepping into this one, Stacey Abrams is a political rockstar, and I knew she had written many romance novels to moderate success, but writing a thriller is a particular skill set that authors just either have or they don’t, and believe me, she’s got it. This book is INTENSE, JUICY, and a page turner. I mean she threw everything at us here and I loved it. I was a little nervous at first, the beginning was a bit rocky, but get past the first 30-40 pages and the action really starts.

Avery Keene is simply a law clerk for the Supreme Court Justice Wynn and he suddenly slips into a coma and while the 25th amendment calls for a line of succession for the president there’s nothing in the constitution about those lifelong appointments, and then the shock to the world is that the Justice has appointed his clerk, who he barely has a working relationship with, to be his power of attorney instead of his estranged wife.

I mean, tell me that doesn’t intrigue you???

I couldn’t put it down. I LOVED IT. She kinda whops it on you with an info dump at the end, and it gets into bit too much into policy at times, but boy was it a fun book to read.

4.5 ⭐️
976 reviews15 followers
May 26, 2021
Stacie, Stacie, what have you done? I love you, love all the work you do to make my country better, and to make my country honest. But this book is a dump. Abrams has written many romance novels under a pseudonym, and she has proven she can write. However, she needed to hire a professional editor for this novel. It is long, it drags, it has extraneous information, it has too many people of which to keep track, and too many law enforcement people of which to keep track. The average person does not know the difference between the FBI, the CIA and the President's personal staff. The idea was good - have legal aide to a Supreme Court Justice step in to have his power of attorney while he is unconscious. But the whole story was just convoluted. I was bored, often considered dropping the book but I love her so much, I kept going. It was not worth it - and we had to tag on a little romance at the end. Also, there is a lot of chess knowledge here - I don't know a John Doe move from an Albert White move; neither do I know the famous games in the past so I just skipped over the pages and pages of chess stuff. It did not matter except for finding clues, of which there were too many. I will only read another Abrams novel if I know there has been a real editor. This book is a mess and not worth the time I spent with it. Love you, Stacey and I will keep sending you money when you ask. peace, janz
Profile Image for Mara.
1,508 reviews3,669 followers
August 14, 2021
3.5 stars - This was a really fun and effective political thriller. Things went a little off the rails in the last third, but as a whole, this is a thought provoking and entertaining take on a political mystery thriller with a splash of medical ethics thrown in
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,621 reviews36 followers
May 3, 2021
I wanted to love this book, the synopsis and the author made it an irresistible choice to read. But, it wasn’t fast and taut enough for a political thriller, although it is a worthy performance by a well-known public figure turned author. WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS pits an irascible Supreme Court Justice against a President he abhors. The Justice is suffering from a disease that forces him to act obliquely. He just hopes the clerk he has treated like furniture for several years is able to solve his chess problem aka his final wishes. It is a bit of a journey to the end, the book is plodding at times. But, honestly, no more so than a number of best sellers. So, this is a good effort by an up and coming author. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Daniel Shindler.
248 reviews69 followers
May 16, 2021
I have been an admirer of the remarkable Stacey Abrams since she was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2007.This talented and courageous woman has presented a political thriller that delivers an exciting plot that primarily can gain accolades as spine tingling entertainment. Additionally, she obliquely raises concerns about the structure of the American political system while maintaining a focus on her mesmerizing storyline.

Avery Keene is a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn. She is a biracial child with a drug addicted mother.She has overcome a number of obstacles to achieve her current position as a Supreme Court law clerk. She has an eidetic memory, street smarts, and a logical mind that can see connections that others might miss.Her mentor, Associate Justice Howard Wynn, is a curmudgeon who is brilliant and has been described by his detractors as a libertarian hippie. The political climate is extremely polarized and the sitting President has been described by his detractors as a xenophobic shill. The Supreme Court is nearing the end of its judicial calendar and is scheduled to hear a controversial case that would permit a merger allowing the acquisition of an American company by an Indian biotech company.The President opposes the acquisition and the court is deadlocked at four Justices on each side. Justice Wynn is the swing vote.Before the case can be adjudicated, Justice Wynn falls into a coma. In a startling development, Justice Wynn names Avery as his legal guardian with power of attorney.

The President is intent on filling Justice Wynn’s seat with a candidate who will cast a deciding vote according to his wishes.Avery’s guardianship is thwarting the President’s objectives. Moreover, her mentor has left her a set of arcane chess clues that will lead to documents that might elucidate how his vote should be cast as well as provide evidence of Presidential corruption that could topple the current administration. In the search for these clues, Avery enlists the help of Justice Wynn’s estranged son, her roommate and Wynn’s lawyer. Their quest brings them into conflict with Homeland Security, the White House and corrupt politicians. Avery’s group is composed of a “ Rainbow Coalition” of ethnicities and skills representing an emerging demographic in America that seems to align with the author’s vision of citizenship and political participation.

The resolution of this thriller keeps the reader engaged until the conclusion.More importantly for me, the concept of this novel raises underlying concerns regarding the evolution of America’s political institutions.The notion of having a vacant seat on the court raises the question of the appropriateness of lifetime appointments to the Court.This question has been debated in American politics in recent years. The debate focuses on whether the Constitution should be a static document or a guide that allows institutions to adapt and be flexible to conditions that the original authors of these foundational concepts could not foresee.Stacey Abrams weaves these concerns into a novel that succeeds in entertaining while indirectly raising issues that have been unresolved for much of the nation’s history.
Profile Image for Dawn.
342 reviews60 followers
May 23, 2021
Excellent book, perfect for those who love sophisticated or political thrillers.

The story centers around Avery, a young law clerk whose thrust into a world of international intrigue and investigation into genealogical warfare. Her employer and mentor slips into a catatonic state just as his status on the Supreme Court proves immensely important to a merger of a technological and biological firm. The sequential events that follow take the reader on a ride filled with unearthed secrets, hidden clues, complicated riddles and a trail of dead bodies to account for as Avery tried to dodge the chaos to find the truth and secure democracy.

I loved this book, and have never really read anything like it. The author effortlessly blends in legal and scientific details that makes it very interesting and impossible to forget. Great story, well worth a 5-star rating.
Profile Image for Ed.
576 reviews71 followers
September 14, 2021
First off, 5 stars... no, actually all the stars... for Stacey Abrams, champion of democracy... tho as evident by my rating, perhaps not not champion of political/legal thrillers.

It feels like it's been a long time since I read this kind of book after being on a steady diet of the likes of Grisham and Clancy (and many others) in the 1990s (is that when they were all the rage?), so I recall these books call for some suspension of belief. The good guys almost always avoid every bullet fired at them (unlike they're usually anonymous pursuers), get conked on the head and at back at it the next day (or less!) with little physical repercussions (including even a concussion), and easily ditch/evade FBI protection on multiple occasions (including doing so, then flying commercial)!

So yes, I'm willing to play along... to a point... but there is so much ridiculousness in this novel that couldn't even be humored by it. Among the conveniently random skills of our 26-year old (I believe) Supreme Court law clerk protagonist is a 'Queen's Gambit'-like knowledge of chess, 18th century French philosophers, and astronomy... and William Howard Taft.... and, oh she has a photographic memory too! And for the specialties and knowledge bases our heroine Avery is lacking in, fortunately she has a computer hacker and a medical intern roommate to help her out respectively with gaining access to private records and knowing the intricacies of genomes/DNA research and biology. I could go on, but you get the point.

I figured Abrams' success as an author in both fiction (writing romance novels under a pseudonym) and non-fiction, would have translated into something pretty good here -- plus liking her as both a person and political figure (again I am a raging Democrat, so this isn't a Tr&mper hit job), but my antennas should have been raised when she mentioned that this novel had been passed on years ago. While she credited that publishers sudden new-found interest with a plot about a compromised Supreme Court and a corrupt President (hmmm, I wonder why?) for its publication now, my suspicions are that it was more than just that as well as Abrams' increased profile! (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Again, all the stars to Ms. Abrams, tho probably passing on her next literary effort at least on the fiction side, or with a bit more due diligence.
Profile Image for Adrian Dooley.
350 reviews98 followers
May 15, 2021
A political thriller with pharma companies, FBI, Homeland Security, cutting edge medical research, the White House, conspiracy theories, there’s a hell of a lot going on in this book and it somehow manages to come out the other end in a satisfying and exciting conclusion.

I won’t go into the spiel as it’s fairly complicated and the publishers have done a pretty good job in their synopsis anyway. There is a lot to take in. It’s information heavy and it’s kind of one of its weaknesses in a way. There is so much going on that has to be explained, it can take away from the pacing of the book. I did also find that points were repeated ad nauseam throughout the book which also took away from the enjoyment.

The book gets off to a flier and also finishes at a breathtaking pace, with a satisfying ending but the middle drags a bit with information overload. I did feel the book was a little long(especially the middle part where it didn’t keep my attention)and the pacing suffered for it.

Still some well written characters, a strong, reluctant hero female character and a mad plot that somehow manages to reach a conclusion made this an overall enjoyable, if somewhat overlong experience.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Nancy.
99 reviews2 followers
May 13, 2021
While justice sleeps, Stacey Abrams smothers it with a pillow.
Profile Image for Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club).
364 reviews16.5k followers
July 23, 2021
QUICK TAKE: I read this one a few months ago and am way late in posting my review, so apologies if this one is a little vague...here's what I can tell you: this was an enjoyable legal thriller reminiscent of classic Grisham, with a great female protagonist at the center. I could have done with a little less "you were sleeping with the judge, weren't you" from literally every single character, but otherwise I think there's a lot to like and recommend in this one, and I would definitely prioritize a sequel if superhero Stacey Abrams manages to find time between saving the world to write another!
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
469 reviews650 followers
June 26, 2021
Avery is a clerk working for Justice Howard Wynn, who is the swing vote on many high profile cases. After an erratic event Justice Wynn overdoses and falls into a coma. Avery is shocked to learn he has appointed her as his power of attorney over both his son and ex wife even though they don't have a close relationship. She's already dealing with the resurgence of a drug addicted mother demanding cash and as she soon discovers there are a lot of people who want Justice Wynn dead and don't mind taking her out in the process. Teaming up with his son Jared and his lawyer Nick she must put together the cryptic clues he left behind about his research on a foreign genetics company with nefarious ties.

This is my first legal thriller so I wasn't sure what to expect. I've read thriller that has a bit of a political angle to it before but while my previous reads scratched the surface this one dove right in. There's so many characters and moving pieces that it's a little hard to keep everyone straight but it makes for a compelling ride. Though some of the more political and scientific jargon required me to read closely I thought much of it was explained well without overexplaining and bogging down the story.

Stacey Abrams makes good use of her background in politics and much like she had to step up in her fight against voter suppression, Avery finds herself stepping up against some of the most powerful men in the country. Avery's eidetic memory and love of analyzing problems helps her solve the living game of chess she now finds herself a pawn in.

This story is written in 3rd person and the reader gets a peek into the mind of every player who affects the story whether small or large. One minute you'll be reading about Avery's thoughts and the next about a man sent to spy on her. It was almost like watching an action movie or a tv show.

Were their things within the text that went over my head? Absolutely! However I also enjoyed the look at the US government and America's love of having a stronghold in international affairs. If I were Avery I would've abandoned from the moments he threats started but her loyalty, attachment to the judge as a pseudo father-figure, and genuine curiosity keep her from backing down even as the events wear on her.

I received an advanced copy from Doubleday in exchange for review.

See original review.
June 9, 2021
I expected a lot from this, and I struggled.
It was a slow start, which usually doesn't seem to draw me in, and the political jargon lost me pretty quickly after that. I read a lot of legal thrillers so was able to follow most of the Supreme Court scenes, but by then I was pretty sure I had no idea what was going on!
As this was the audiobook, I would like to try the ebook as I think the quality of the audio also affected my experience.
Profile Image for Josh Hedgepeth.
490 reviews135 followers
October 26, 2022
Before reading: I did not think this was real at first. OMG a thriller from the epic Stacey Abrams. I AM EXCITED!

After reading: 2-3 stars (rounding up bc it's SA). I wasn't a fan. The story was too much for me. The story kacked believability, and several parts didn't make legal sense. The very premise seems like it would be easily resolved, at least as far as it relates to problem at hand. It also feels too run of the mill in many of it's choices.

mild spoilers:
E.g., this isn't a love story until suddely it is (something that has no precursor short of two people of the opposite gender existing around one another). I remember thinking toward the end, this isn't the best but at least she isn't forcing the two main characters together because they happen to. E a woman and man. Then, just like that, it happens out of nowhere.
Profile Image for Christine.
23 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2021
Very wordy. Could have used tightening up in editing.
Profile Image for Monica **can't read fast enough**.
1,030 reviews330 followers
May 11, 2021
While Justice Sleeps is filled with political machinations and intrigue that kept me turning pages and finishing the book faster than I wanted. Unsurprisingly, Abrams created a strong female character that smartly navigates the dangers of political ambitions and decisions that are made in the background by people who aren't as out front, but are arguably more dangerous than the political figureheads that they aim to influence and control. I won't go into plot details since the book's summary is more than enough information, but I will add that Abrams' atmospheric writing makes Washington D.C. feel real and tangible even to readers like myself that aren't intimately familiar with its streets, places, and people. Her ability to make me vividly imagine what the places look and feel like kept me happily engaged for the entire story. All in all While Justice Sleeps is a political thriller authentically written by an author with impeccable political chops. I am thrilled that I was able to read an ARC and I look forward to whatever Abrams gives us next.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Where you can find me:
•(♥).•*Monica Is Reading*•.(♥)•
Twitter: @monicaisreading
Instagram: @readermonica
Goodreads Group: The Black Bookcase

Profile Image for Coffee&Books.
969 reviews84 followers
May 13, 2021
I am impressed. Beginning is a liiiitle slow, the last few chapters are a slog of info and and a lot slow, the middle is entertaining— thick and twisty with curves and turns which depend on the reader to pay close attention to the clues given and figure them out as Avery figures them out.
I come out of this title thinking that Ms. Abrams definitely has a knack for this! Interested to see this come to screen.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,178 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.