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Book Review

Book Reviews


By A. E. Osworth Grand Central Publishing 4/13/21 400 pages $28

‘We Are Watching Eliza Bright’ 

Advance warning: This is not an easy read. Both in structure and in subject matter, Osworth demands a lot from readers, but it is worth the effort. This is a timely and important novel rich with powerful themes that feel painfully relevant. This may not be a breezy beach read, but it is powerful in myriad ways.

The eponymous Eliza Bright is a coder at Fancy Dog Games, a job she loves and worked hard to achieve, but there is a dark side in her industry that she refuses to ignore. After her claims of harassment are ignored, she turns to the media for help, only to be thrown to the wolves. The perspective of the men who instantly begin to stalk and harass Eliza both online and in person for her very existence is particularly difficult to read. The format can be jarring, but the effect is spot-on. The reader is just as unnerved and confused as Eliza as her life begins to spiral from the toxic notoriety she endures.

This is an excellent book for anyone looking for a sharp take on modern media and culture, or for those interested in just how destructive misogyny and public shaming can be. For all of that, this is also just a thrilling, plot-twisted novel with an incredibly strong cast of characters. Highly recommended. n 

— Reviewed by Julie Goodrich

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa


By Stacey Abrams
Doubleday 5/25/21
384 pages

‘While Justice Sleeps’ 

I would like to state that I am not a big reader of political thrillers. It’s just never been my genre of choice. However, when Stacey Abram’s book came across my desk, I was more than a little intrigued. I decided to give it a chance. I am glad I did.

Avery Keene is a hardworking, brilliant young law clerk for a larger-than-life Supreme Court Justice. She is thrust into a nearly impossible situation when said Justice falls into a coma, and Avery is shocked to find herself neck-deep in conspiracies and vicious power plays as she wrestles with a life she never expected to have. More than just plot twists and action scenes, Abrams is a talented wordsmith, and I found Avery’s character to have a surprising amount of depth for such a high-speed thriller.

There is plenty here for long-time fans of the genre, as well as those, like me, who are just curious about the literary skills of such a talented public figure. I finished this one in one sitting; it’s that good. I don’t know where she’ll find the time, but I hope Abrams gives us a sequel. She may make a thriller fan of me yet. n 

— Reviewed by Julie Goodrich

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