Stacey Abrams is one of my favourite American politicians, so when I heard that she was also a thriller writer I put While Justice Sleeps on my wishlist and got it for my birthday. It is a great political thriller, which interweaves Presidential scandal, with the challenges of a hung Supreme Court, chess, drug addiction and genetic research taken to horrifying extremes, all the while as the clock is ticking and a key player lies in a coma.
The woman trying to deal with all of this is Avery Keene, a law clerk to cantankerous Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn, who has chosen Avery, without her knowledge, to pull on numerous threads to ensure that justice is done. Avery has a lovely flatmate Ling, who is ready to stand by her when she is hunted by the press, accused of sleeping with both Justice Wynn and his estranged son Jared (who Avery does find herself rather attracted to), and when their flat is bugged and laid siege by people working for the corrupt President who are determined to silence Avery.
Meanwhile, Avery’s drug-addicted mother Rita is causing chaos, begging Avery for more money for drugs, cajoling her one moment and viciously attacking her the next. Amidst all of this, Avery is desperately trying to hold down her job and remember everything she can about chess, so she can play a game that Justice Wynn has set for her, which is the only way she will be able to unravel the clues. Thankfully, Federal Agent Lee is also on Avery’s side, but she must keep him in the dark about some of the details of her investigation.
All this is rather stressful, with the pace picking up as each chapter passes. Will Avery manage it? Will she save Justice Wynn, uncover a scandal and gather enough proof to bring down the Presidency? You’ll just have to read it if you want to find out.