The Holdout by Graham Moore

Posted February 18, 2020 in review Tags: ,

The Holdout by Graham MooreThe Holdout by Graham Moore
Pages: 336

Genres: Mystery
Setting: Los Angeles, CA
Source: ARC
Amazon iBooks Audible

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong? From the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and bestselling author of The Last Days of Night. . . .

“Exhilarating . . . a fiendishly slippery game of cat-and-mouse suspense and a provocative, urgent inquiry into American justice (and injustice) in the twenty-first century.”—A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: race, class, sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. It’s an open-and-shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed—until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all their lives forever.

Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence—by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed.

As the present-day murder investigation weaves together with the story of what really happened during their deliberation, told by each of the jurors in turn, the secrets they have all been keeping threaten to come out—with drastic consequences for all involved.

Innocent and not guilty are two very different terms in a court case. The Holdout presents this very well and explores how being on a jury can derail a person’s life. Maya was the holdout on a murder case and once she convinced the jury to vote her way, they became hated across America for letting a child killer go free.

The Holdout has dual timelines to tell the story of what happened at the trial and what is happening now, 10 years late. As a fan of true crime podcasts, the idea of a podcast diving into a case like this and trying to reassemble the key players is fascinating. Maya wants a chance to defend herself since most of the jurors have publicly blamed her. But, when another juror is found dead in her hotel room, things begin to unravel quickly.

I liked the parallel stories of the past and present. It made the book more thought provoking. Both stories had one seemingly clear killer, but is it really that clear cut? I will admit that I was surprised by a few twists in the plot; I’m still not sure if I liked them or not. The end of The Hold felt a tad abrupt; perhaps that is why I am still trying to discern my thoughts.

Medical Examiner challenge:
Victim: Rick Leonard
COD: blunt force trauma
MOD: Homicide

  •   POV: 3rd
  •   Tears: no
  •   Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, …then you will probably like The Holdout!


The Holdout

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About Graham Moore

Graham Moore is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter.

His screenplay for THE IMITATION GAME won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

Graham Moore's first two novels, THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT (2016) and THE SHERLOCKIAN (2010), were published in 24 countries and translated into 19 languages. THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the American Library Association. THE SHERLOCKIAN was nominated for an Anthony Award. His third novel, THE HOLDOUT, will be published by Random House on February 18, 2020.

Graham lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Caitlin, and their dog, Janet.

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