- WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS
- Written by Stacey Abrams and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN #: 978-0385546577
- Doubleday (May 11, 2021)
When Medical Science and Ethics Collide
“Science is the greatest trick the Devil ever played on man!” Justice Wynn screams at a graduation ceremony where audience members worry about his sanity. Has paranoia become the latest symptom of his deteriorating health or is something very different going on?
In a world where medical science and ethics collide more and more frequently, and the combination of greed and power control many decision makers, something unimaginable is afoot. Stacey Abrams addresses these issues in her nail-biting first novel, While Justice Sleeps, the story of a law clerk turned guardian for an incapacitated Supreme Court Judge with a fatal disease.
When Supreme Court Justice Wynn, who holds the swing vote in a divided court, slides into a coma, his law clerk, Avery Keene, discovers he expects her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney for reasons he’s never discussed with her. A chess fan, he leaves obscure clues that lead Keene and Wynn’s son to his involvement in a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm. Some sacrifices are too extreme, and the project, which could save lives, could also destroy groups that share genetic markers.
Why doesn’t Justice Wynn use a family member as a guardian? What skills or knowledge does Avery Keene have that they don’t?
The answers emerge as Keene struggles with the layers of intrigue that he trusts her to dig through. Abrams brings extensive knowledge of politics and the judicial system along with skilled, complex thought to this novel that rises above the intrigue in most mystery novels. This is an intellectual whodunit.
I was drawn to author. Intrigued, I stayed for a first-class look at the roles of politics and power in this fictitious story. I look forward to reading more of Abrams work. You don’t want to miss this story.
- THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE
- Written by Abi Dare and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN13: 9781524746025
- Dutton Books (February 2020)
She’s Not a Commodity
How scary is it that women are still commodities, sold for a weekly supply of rice and tools, in some parts of the world? What happens to the humanity of a girl sold at 14? What happens when women can’t get a voice in her own lives, much less an education? Abi Dare’s The Girl With the Louding Voice explores what a girl of fourteen may go through just to stay alive in contemporary Nigeria. Her story asks many questions, including whether the narrator Adunni is living or merely existing and why there’s such a power struggle between men and women in Nigeria.
Before I scare you away with that grim description, rest assured that there is a lot of hope in this novel. Part of it is in Adunni’s determination to overcome her lack of education and her early marriage to a man named Morufu who already has two living wives. After her friend, Khadija, who is Morufu’s second wife, dies of complications from pregnancy and her lover abandons her, Adunni runs to Lagos. There she finds work with Big Madam, a woman who makes fabrics for rich women and beats Adunni daily. She remembers her deceased mama telling her that education is the way out, so when she learns of a scholarship both her hope and fear surge.
The author has captured the narrator’s struggles with education and the male hierarchy beautifully. “I don’t want to marry any mens or any boys or any another person forever, so I ask Papa again, talking real slow so he will be catching every word I am saying and not mistaking me in his answer; “Papa, is this bride-price for me or for another person?
“And my papa, he nod his head slowly slow, not minding the tears standing in my eyes or the opening wide of my mouth, as he is saying: “The bride-price is for you, Adunni. You will be marrying Morufu next week.” The bride price is Morufu’s payment for the daughter, who is fourteen.
Author Abi Dare, who was a finalist in the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor 2018, grew up in Nigeria and now lives in the UK. She holds degrees in law, project management, and creative writing. Hopefully she has another book in the works right now.
The Girl with the Louding Voice is a book for every woman who’s ever experienced or observed a power struggle. It’s for everyone curious about inequities in Nigeria and other countries, including the United States. It’s for everyone with heart, compassion, and curiosity.
- FALSE WITNESS
- Written by Karin Slaughter and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN #: 978-0062858092
- William Morrow (July 20, 2021)
Overcoming Vile Secrets
My husband tells me that the secret to a successful marriage is no secrets. Maybe so, but that’s for married couples. Imagine you are 14; you murdered a man and considered it justified homicide. After all, he raped your sister. How would the commission and the aftermath complicate your life? And your sister’s? Worse still, what if someone found a videotape of the murder and came back into your life 20 years later intending to manipulate you?
Fourteen-year-old Haleigh evaded the juvenile justice system in Karin Slaughter’s False Witness. She changed her name to Leigh and went to law school. Her sister, who’d given the murder victim the sexual favors he demanded, slid into a drug-fueled depression and built a life as a veterinarian’s assistant. She stole drugs and protected her boss from losing his license when he became challenged by dementia.
So many complications have already altered these sisters’ lives that they weren’t expecting one more: the murdered man changed his name and adopted his dad’s deviant ways. Now he’s requested that Leigh be the attorney who gets him acquitted of murder charges or face the consequences of a videotape he’s kept for years. How will Leigh and her sister, Callie, cope with this man’s expectations and find a way to do the right thing?
Prolific New York Times Bestselling Author Karin Slaughter is known for her stories about violence against women and how they cope. She brings her characters to life with sensitivity and three-dimensionality, and offers a different perspective on crime. Her tense thrillers work. She’s been published in over 120 countries and sold over 35 million copies around the globe according to her website. Clearly she’s found an approach that works, and you can learn a great deal about her and her work at www.karenslaughter.com.
A false witness is a liar. Who’s lying in this story? Haleigh? Her sister? The man blackmailing her? Anyone else? You’ll have to read False Witness to find out. Be prepared to keep flipping pages far into the night.
- WHAT WE CARRY
- Written by Kalyn Fogaraty and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- Alcove Press 2021
- ISBN (ebook): 978-1-64385-848-7
Miscarriage, Turmoil, and Turnaround
The first wife of the man I married at 62 went through two miscarriages. Curious about what she must have gone through, I read Kalyn Fogarty’s What We Carry. It weaves pain, grief, loss, and love in an exploration of what it costs a woman to lose a baby.
Cassidy Morgan followed society’s rules. She became a veterinarian and married a loving man. Her first pregnancy ended in a late-term miscarriage and heart-rending grief. She lashed out, isolated, and pushed away her husband, Owen; her confident sister, Claire; and her officious mother, Joan. She fears she’s the ultimate failure. The horses whose foals she deliver do better. When she becomes pregnant again, she feels equal amounts of joy and terror. Will she deliver successfully? Is it even possible given her age and history?
Based on Fogarty’s personal experiences, this story is a complex, immediate look at what is and is not within a woman’s and a family’s control. Fogarty writes well and includes the voices of Owen, Claire, and Joan, giving readers a sense of how the loss of a fetus travels through family. Readers will root for Cassidy, though they may also be shocked at times. She’s as three-dimensional as you can get. The narrator is honest and emotional but never begs the reader for sympathy.
What We Carry is such a wonderful title. It’s meaning increases as more is revealed. Women—especially those who’ve miscarried or know someone who has will love this. So will book clubs. The book fills a gap and is incredibly appropriate to our times. Women seldom write about miscarriages and this heart-wrenching story answered my questions about how both men and women respond.
- YOU’LL NEVER FIND US: A Memoir
- Written by Jeanne Baker Guy and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin
- ISBN-13: 978-1647421557
- She Writes Press (August 17, 2021)
Arrogance vs. Determination: What a Struggle
What can a mother do when the tyrannical husband she divorces steals their children and tells her he’s taking them to Germany? What would you do if an estranged family member stole your children? Jeanne Baker Guy explores these questions and much more in her memoir You’ll Never Find Us.
The title, taken from a note her husband left with a local Episcopal priest after stealing her children, shows his arrogance and conviction. He would have given the children back if she’d leave her new husband and get back with him. His arrogance is compounded by the fact that federal laws offer Guy little help as she tries to find her lost children and regain some control of a life gone terribly wrong. In alternating chapters she assesses her current plight and the incidents that brought them to this place. Her love of her children, her stubborn determination and a reasonable new husband keep her going despite her alternating despair and anger.
The structure of this well-told story will keep those with curious minds engrossed. Like any good memoirist, the narrator offers a balanced appraisal of herself and the world around her. Readers will see the courage behind her actions and root for her as she struggles with her husband’s manipulation and domination.
Author Jeanne Baker Guy of Jeanne Guy Gatherings is an author, speaker, and journal-writing teacher. Her experience offers hope for women being controlled by an ex. If you have a happy marriage, you’ll root for the kids and their mom as well as being grateful for your own life. You can learn more about her at https://www.jeanneguy.com. This is a woman’s story, but wise men who want to know more about family dynamics should also appreciate it. Why not pick up a copy today?