Stacey Abrams did not keep me up all night. Nor did she put me to sleep. On the other other hand, While Justice Sleeps, her first legal/political thriller and the first of her nine novels published under her own name, did keep me turning pages. That’s not nothing.
The trouble is, Abrams has accustomed us to extraordinary things. She was minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, where she served 11 years. She was the first African-American female gubernatorial candidate to be nominated by a major party. She is the author of two well-regarded non-fiction books, Lead From the Outside and Our Time Is Now. She created or helped create Fair Fight, Fair Count, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, organizations devoted to voting rights and social change. And most important, she inspired and spearheaded the drive to turn Georgia blue in the last election.
Perhaps the most relevant entries on her resume in this case, however, are the eight suspense romance novels she published years ago under a pseudonym. Eight! When does this woman ever sleep? But clearly in writing those books, she learned how to craft a story. While Justice Sleeps is not the literary equivalent of turning Georgia blue. It is not extraordinarily bad nor extraordinarily good. But it gets the job done. Like a John Grisham novel, it’ll get you through a long airplane ride or a rainy day at a beach house, and a week later about all you’ll remember is the title.