Book Review: “While Justice Sleeps” by Stacey Abrams

While I was hoping to enjoy this novel, I think it ended up being just a bunch of fluff filled with important-sounding jargon. I work in a law office (well, in real estate, but I still know a lot of legalese), and I was confused. The ending of the book takes place in a court room, and it’s so dense with information that it is almost impossible to understand what’s going on in the book. A casual reader might have a general idea (like me), but only the hardcore legal junkies are going to understand everything.

This book also ticks off the box of “put two people of similar age and different genders in a trauma situation and have them fall in love with each other,” which upsets me, because we all know that a relationship founded on trauma isn’t going to go anywhere. They could have been friends! Nothing more!

I think my biggest issue with this book is the sudden narrator shift in the middle of chapters. It’s fine if you have a different narrator (third person, obviously) or different “voice” for each chapter, but shifting multiple times in the chapter, even in the middle of paragraphs, is just…bad. It left me confused and made me want to put the book down because that’s not how this works! If you’re going to make it third person, make it consistent. It’s a jumbled mess right now.

Another issue I’ve got is that it’s not 100% clear what time period this takes place in. Considering the technology talked about in the book, I assume it’s supposed to be closer to present day, but Avery has a house phone that she listens to messages on. She’s 26 years old. I’m 27 years old and I can tell you that not a single person my age or younger (that doesn’t live with their parents), has a house phone. There’s a whole scene where she’s listening to messages that reporters left on her home phone, and not a single message has been left on her cell phone. Cell phone numbers are easily attainable; you can’t tell me that she wouldn’t have had every reporter in the DC area trying to run her down on her cell phone. Basically, the entire book makes me feel like Avery was written to be a fifty-year-old woman and someone decided to change her age to make it sound more important that she, a young law clerk, could take on the bad guys and win.

If you’re looking for a popcorn read, I think I would actually warn you away from this one. The legal jargon gets so deep that it’s difficult to follow the book at times, and I ended up rolling my eyes at several of the situations in the book. If you’re a hardcore fan of legal drama, this is probably more up your alley. Either way, I would suggest that you pick this book up from your local library before making a final decision to buy it, because this is one that was really tough to get through.

How do you feel about legal thrillers? Have you read While Justice Sleeps? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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