April 2020

Graham Moore - The Holdout

"‘The Holdout’ will keep you guessing until literally the last couple of pages..."

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. Her teacher Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect after illicit text messages are discovered between them - and Jessica's blood is found in his car. 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 of their lives.

Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docu-series reassembles the jurors, with particular focus on Maya, now a defence 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 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.

'The Holdout' is John Grisham meets Agatha Christie.

With the plot going from present time back to the time of the trial, more and more details are given surrounding the trial of Bobby Nock and also the new murder.

'The Holdout' will keep you guessing until literally the last couple of pages where the last twist is finally revealed. The book was easy enough to read but did drag slightly in some parts. I also found the protagonist difficult to warm to.

However, despite those minor quibbles, 'The Holdout' is a great mix of courtroom thriller, investigation and classic whodunit and will keep you thoroughly engrossed until that final page has been turned. One of the most exciting reads of 2020 so far!

Reviewed by: H.A.

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