While Justice Sleeps
by Abrams, Stacey

"An inside-Washington thriller about an ambitious law clerk thrown into a life-or-death treasure hunt with major national implications when the Supreme Court justice she works for slips into a sudden coma"-

*Starred Review* Known for her deft political organizing and passionate racial justice advocacy, Abrams is also the author of the nonfiction best-seller, Our Time Is Now (2020). She now displays her considerable talent for fiction in this gripping legal thriller. Justice Howard Wynn, an irascible lion of the Supreme Court, falls unexpectedly into a coma. His nurse fields a mysterious phone call, then disappears. Shadowy figures from Homeland Security, the FBI, and the international biotech industry confer urgently about a pending court decision with potentially earth-shattering consequences on which Justice Harris will be the swing vote. Coincidence? Not bloody likely. Yet who can untie this deadly knot of deception and global skulduggery? None other than Avery Keene, Justice Harris' brilliant and tenacious law clerk, who knows a thing or two about impossible odds. Assigned the unenviable task of serving as Justice Harris' legal guardian, Avery must also figure out who is plotting her boss' demise and why. With the help of her med school roommate, a young lawyer, and Wynn's hunky son, Avery tracks down fiendishly intricate clues leading to a horrifying secret that implicates powerful and dangerous people. Will Avery solve the final conundrum before it's too late? Will this delightful multiethnic Scooby-Doo gang prevail, or will they fall to the forces of ultimate evil? Will there be a sequel? Stay tuned, dear reader, stay tuned.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The buzz is loud and wholly deserved for this shrewd and exciting legal thriller by prominent voter-rights activist and best-selling Abrams. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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