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by Stacey Abrams
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 2021
366 pages
ISBN: 0385546572

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The raves from best-selling authors on the back cover of this book herald the entry of a new thriller writer to the ranks of John Grisham et al.

Stacey Abrams is an award-winning author of eight romantic suspense novels, per her profile, under the pen name of Selena Montgomery. While Justice Sleeps is the first novel written and published under her actual name.

The prologue details Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn's decline into a coma.

Chapter One begins as Justice Wynn's clerk, Avery Keene, receives an early morning call from her momma Rita needing money to pay off a crack house dealer.

Chapter Two introduces Dr. Indira Srinivasan and Nigel Cooper, the CEOs of two biotech firms. The U.S. President and a Supreme Court case pose a threat to their merger on national security grounds. Both believe Justice Wynn is key to a favorable ruling, so his hospitalization presents problems.

Chapter Three finds President Stokes' liaison with Homeland Security interviewing Justice Wynn's nurse regarding the moments before he became comatose. When she repeats the clues she left on Avery's voice mail at Justice Wynn's request, he shoots her.

Chapter Four is a humdinger. When Avery shows up for work, Chief Justice Teresa Roseborough requires the clerk's presence in her Chambers. The Chief Justice holds a document, given to her a few months earlier by Justice Wynn, that gives Avery his power of attorney and names her his legal guardian. All this by page thirty-eight, so buckle up!

Without disclosing spoilers, the author reveals that President Stokes wants Justice Wynn dead. The story deals with Avery's determination to keep Justice Wynn alive while uncovering the threat and how she and the Justice might affect the outcome.

Abrams' previous writing experience includes suspense fiction, but While Justice Sleeps represents a significant shift as she conceives a complex and riveting thriller. Many moving parts, lots of twists, and bewildering biotech details demand focus while the pace is suspense-driven at its best. In her Acknowledgements, Abrams admits spending many years "conceiving, writing, rewriting and reading" this novel. The result is an absorbing read that rivals the work of many best-selling authors today.

This novel is intriguing, engaging, and hard to put down.

Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence

practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, April 2021

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