Stacey Abrams Writes Political Thriller About Law Clerk Who 'Controls the Fate of a Nation'
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, is distilling her political knowledge into a debut thriller.
Her book, While Justice Sleeps, follows young law clerk Avery Keene, who becomes the power of attorney and legal guardian for Justice Howard Wynn after he falls into a coma. The "intricately plotted" book will be published by Doubleday on May 25, 2021, PEOPLE can exclusively announce.
"A decade ago, I wrote the first draft of a novel that explored an intriguing aspect of American democracy — the lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court," Abrams, 46, tells PEOPLE in a statement.
"As an avid consumer of legal suspense novels and political thrillers, I am excited to add my voice into the mix," she continues. "Drawing on my own background as a lawyer and politician, While Justice Sleeps weaves between the Supreme Court, the White House and international intrigue to see what happens when a lowly law clerk controls the fate of a nation."
Abrams may have started writing the book 10 years ago, but the news of its release comes at the same time that the late women's rights icon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is set to be replaced by Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The highly-contentious Supreme Court hearings are taking place less than a month from the Nov. 3 presidential election. If confirmed, Barrett would ensure a six-to-three conservative majority on the court for years to come, with potentially sweeping influence over decisions about healthcare, abortion access and other issues.
Like the "Notorious RBG," Abrams is known for her fierce fight for equality. She narrowly lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election to Brian Kemp, who was then the state's secretary of state overseeing the election.
Since then, Abrams has become a national champion in the fight against voter suppression. She's also the founder of Fair Fight, Fair Count, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project.
While fiction is a new arena for Abrams, she's a well-established writer. She released her New York Times-bestselling books, Lead from the Outside in 2018 and Our Time Is Now in June. Now, in While Justice Sleeps, the heroine Avery promises to be as tough and smart as the author.
"I’ve had tremendous admiration for Stacey Abrams’ political work for quite some time,” says Doubleday vice president and executive editor Jason Kaufman in a statement, "but it was an unexpected pleasure to discover that she is also a masterful thriller writer. While Justice Sleeps is intricately plotted with a magnificent puzzle at its core, and the characters were memorable long after I put the manuscript down.
"Stacey’s inside viewpoint of politics, the Supreme Court, and her background in law all weave together into a suspenseful and satisfying novel," he continues. "Not to mention, at a time when the political dynamic of the Supreme Court is so important and tenuous, it was spellbinding to read a thriller set within its halls of power."
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