Originally published: 20 February 2020
Author: Graham Moore
Published by: Orion
Length: 336 pages
Dates read: 25-29 February 2020
2009: 15 year old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune disappears on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock is the prime suspect – it seems to be an open and shut case. There are incriminating text messages between the pair and her blood in his car.
But Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors not to vote guilty: a controversial decision that will change their lives for ever. All the jurors end up vilified for their actions as the world generally believed Nock to be guilty.
2019: A TV show called Murder Town wants to host a reunion for the jurors. One of the jurors, Rick is convinced he has some evidence that proves the jury made a mistake and he has proof that Bobby Nock is actually guilty. Rick and Maya had a relationship at the time of the trial and after reuniting in her hotel room and arguing, Rick is found dead and Maya is the prime suspect, and is arrested for his murder. But Maya, now a talented defence attorney herself, knows she is innocent and starts an investigation which includes looking more closely at the lives of all the other jurors as well as Bobby Nock to find out who killed Rick.
I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of this back in December, and even more lucky to receive one the yellow proofs which meant I was The Holdout, amongst the 11 other people who received a proof at the same time! I’m not sure I have ever read a book set in the court system from the point of view of a jury and it was fascinating.
We hear from each of the jurors in turn in 2009 as they tell the story of the court case through their eyes. Because their identities are revealed publicly quite early on in the case, they end up living in a hotel for the duration of the trial, cut off from the outside world. I enjoyed hearing from the prosecution and defence and leaning more about how a jury works. I have never been on jury service and to be honest, I don’t want to! I wouldn’t want the responsibility of deciding someone’s fate, and I’m pretty sure I’m easily suggestible so would keep getting swayed by the other jurors arguments!
When the trial ends, the 12 jurors retire to a room to come up with a verdict. 11 of the jurors decide Nock must be guilty while Maya alone thinks he is innocent. All 12 members must be sure of the verdict and it is quite impressive how Maya doesn’t stand down but also manages to persuade the others to change their vote.
This was a twisty thriller which I was totally caught up by. It was interesting and also made me think! I really enjoyed this read which was inspired by the author’s real-life experience of being the holdout on a jury and would highly recommend!
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour and to Orion for sending me a proof copy! Be sure to checkout the other stops below:
About the author:
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. His 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.
Graham lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Caitlin, and their dog, Janet.