In this twisty tale from Moore (The Sherlockian), the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game, young juror Maya Seale is convinced that African American high school teacher Bobby Nock is innocent of killing the wealthy white female student with whom he appears to have been involved and persuades her fellow jurors likewise. Ten years later, a true-crime docuseries reassembles the jurors, and Maya, now a defense attorney, must prove her own innocence when one of them is found dead in Maya’s room.
I remember watching the Jodi Arias trial religiously…I didn’t want to miss even one day of testimony and when the verdict came in, I rushed home from work and got there just in time to see the jury render her guilty of first degree murder. The jury then went to work on the sentencing phase and could not decide for or against the death penalty so they were dismissed and a new trial commenced for sentencing. In this trial, the jury was hung as well, but with 11 jurors in favor of the death penalty and only 1 against it. This one “holdout” juror was seen as a vile, horrible human being on the forums that I frequently read. The other jurors were quoted as saying that she refused to deliberate and the rumors were swirling that she could possibly have been a plant to keep Jodi Arias from receiving the death penalty. It was a media circus and very eye opening. Seeing this made me rethink my opinions on being a juror…before this experience, I had assumed that a juror could keep their anonymity if they desired but after seeing the press visit and record images of this woman’s home, I realized that this is not true.
The Holdout by Graham Moore presents a similar scenario…12 jurors find a man not guilty of murder when the evidence seems to point to his guilt. This decision is made because of 1 holdout who convinces each of the 11 other jurors to vote not guilty. I found the story to be very interesting as it delves into the jury selection process, being sequestered, and deliberations. There are also multiple mysteries in the story and plenty of twists and turns.
There were a few moments when the story began to lose some steam and the story became a bit convoluted but overall, it was a very unique and interesting thriller that I really enjoyed. Highly recommended.
I received an arc of this book to read and review from Random House and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.