Rogue Justice

by Stacey Abrams

pub date 23-May-2023

Doubleday Books

book cover

AMBER LOVE 07-APRIL-2023 This review is a courtesy provided by NetGalley. To support this site and my other work, please consider being a monthly donor at; you can also buy my books through Amazon (or ask your local retailer to order you copies). I also have Amazon recommendations in lists which may provide affiliate income.

Trigger Warnings:

  • sexual assault

Publisher’s Summary:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of While Justice Sleeps returns with another riveting and intricately plotted thriller, in which a blackmailed federal judge, a secret court and a brazen murder may lead to an unprecedented national crisis.

Supreme Court clerk Avery Keene is back, trying to get her feet on solid ground after unraveling an international conspiracy in While Justice Sleeps. But as the sparks of Congressional hearings and political skirmishes swirl around her, Avery is approached at a legal conference by Preston Davies, an unassuming young man and fellow law clerk to a federal judge in Idaho. Davies believes his boss, Judge Francesca Whitner, was being blackmailed in the days before she died. Desperate to understand what happened, he gives Avery a file, a burner phone, and a fearful warning that there are highly dangerous people involved.

Another shocking murder leads Avery to a list of names – all federal judges – and, alarmingly, all judges on the FISA Court (the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court), also known as America’s “secret court.” It is this body which grants permission to the government to wiretap Americans or spy on corporations suspected of terrorism. As Avery digs deeper, she begins to see a frightening pattern – and she worries that something far more sinister may be unfolding inside the nation’s third branch of government. With lives at stake, Avery must race the clock and an unexpected enemy to find the answer.

Drawn from today’s headlines and woven with her unique insider perspective, Stacey Abrams combines twisting plotlines, wry wit, and clever puzzles to create another immensely entertaining suspense novel.


This is most definitely a revenge fantasy plot that comes with Trigger Warnings for sexual assault. It is not the protagonist who is victimized, but rather one villain going against another.

I admit I was at a loss without having read While Justice Sleeps. Author Stacey Abrams gives the important facts that unraveled in the previous book (kidnapping of her mother and a genocide plot). Those facts are presented in tidbits throughout the book as protagonist Avery Keene continues her fight against the corrupt President Stokes, his Cabinet, and Congress.

Abrams is great at weaving a complicated mystery. Rogue Justice is complex. Even the characters refer to the primary villain’s plans as multi-faceted and multi-vector. Readers are always in on the mystery of who the villain is, but the why comes out in the second half. Former U.S. Naval officer Hayden Burgess is now an uberhacker that has a brilliant team of hackers, blackmail victims, and one assassin on her side. Burgess has a mission with many avenues to get revenge and to reward the few people who helped her in a time of crisis.

There are a multitude of government agencies I had never heard of before. The character list is enormous too. Keeping all the courts and agencies straight with the alphabet soup of initialisms was not easy. One of the things Abrams does well is explain all the technical jargon. The hacking minutiae isn’t over-abundant. There’s enough to explain what all these people are doing and why, but those explanations may be fifty pages away.

Abrams has created a protagonist that anyone can like and appreciate. Avery Keene is young twenty-seven-year-old black Supreme Court law clerk! She also has an eidetic memory and talent for finding patterns. She’s never described as neurodivergent like people have theorized about Sherlock Holmes or blatantly saw in TV character Adrian Monk. Avery is responsible, skilled, social, and also a problem for people of power. She’s responsible for the impeachment trial of President Stokes which is something readers are spoon-fed as a continuing arc from book one, While Justice Sleeps. Her relationships are made of strong bonds whether it’s about her mother in rehab, her boyfriend Jared (former Navy lieutenant), or her best friends Noah (attorney) and Ling (doctor).

Though the Stokes impeachment is a crucial factor of the plot, it’s not the struggle that takes certain stage in Rogue Justice. Avery, FBI agents, Jared (an IT security genius), and her friends have two distinct battles: the White House and then Hayden Burgess. Hayden and her team of hackers are trying to dismantle the country’s power grid, steal billions in cryptocurrency, and get revenge for how she was treated after being sexually assaulted by her submarine’s captain. There is almost too much going on. It’s more complicated than any Tom Clancy novel.

Also on Hayden’s side, there’s an ex-Mossad assassin by the name of Nyx, who is freely murdering and attacking people. Nyx has this interesting role where she’s not the actual villain, but she is murdering people left and right. Still, she’s a killer for hire and the one who gets the privilege of acting out physically what Hayden has dreamed of to get revenge on her former captain.

There might be a few plot holes or maybe this book is too advanced for my reading comprehension. The second half of the book flew quickly and every chapter’s ending made me want to keep reading. The second half contains those nuggets of detail about Hayden’s plans so readers could get into her mind and appreciate her motive. The memories and trauma of the sexual assault have enough detail to glean what happened right around midway through the book. It isn’t explicitly parsed until much later.


It’s clear that Stacey Abrams enjoyed pulling from real life when crafting the parts of Avery Keene’s role in a presidential impeachment. Rogue Justice is well-researched, but not necessarily accessible for a light reader looking for a book to polish off at the beach or during a relaxing a weekend. It is strongly recommended that people read While Justice Sleeps before Rogue Justice.

Rating: 4 stars

4 stars


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