Updated: Mar 30
Give this girl a courtroom drama and I am all for it, especially one told from the juror’s perspectives. Working in a law enforcement capacity, I am drawn to legal thrillers and The Holdout peaked my interest when it was one of the recent Book of the Month choices. I opted for a different book that month, but immediately put a hold request in at my local library so I could get my hands on it. I was so tempted to order two books that month, but this is me trying to follow my New Year’s book goal: buy less, borrow more. Alas, The Holdout was an entertaining page turner.
The concept of a murder trial from the jury’s perspective intrigued me because I have had to testify in court multiple times for investigations I worked, as well as serve as a juror on a murder trial (I was one of the few who actually wanted to be there!) The Holdout is told from multiple juror’s perspectives and is told from two timelines, the criminal trial that took place ten years previous and the present time. Maya Seale served on the jury for an infamous murder trial that ended in an acquittal. High school teacher Bobby Nock was charged with murdering one of his 15 year old students, who he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with. Maya was convinced that Bobby was innocent and she was the lone juror who believed so and convinced the others to return a not guilty verdict. Fast forward ten years and Maya is a successful defense attorney with no time for nonsense. She gets an invitation to take part in a documentary about the infamous case and she reluctantly agrees. The first evening before filming, one of the juror’s winds up murdered….in Maya’s hotel room. She becomes the prime suspect and the story of Bobby’s trial and Maya’s defense unfurls.
For fans of true crime documentaries, podcasts, and courtroom drama television shows, this book is for you. The story is twisty, turny, and fast paced. I flew through The Holdout in one weekend. Some parts were a bit farfetched, but entertaining nonetheless. I am a frequent reader of thriller, mystery, and suspense books, so I am slightly biased when it comes to this genre (it takes a lot to impress me) but I thought The Holdout was a fun read that kept me guessing. I enjoyed the dual timeline and that each chapter had a different juror’s perspective. It kept the book flowing nicely. Without giving much away, I will say there is resolution at the end, so for those of you going into it who are wondering if you find out what really happened, you do.
The Holdout by Graham Moore is a solid four star read. The writing format is similar to The Sun Down Motel, so if you liked the aspect of dual timelines and multiple character perspectives, you will enjoy reading this one. It felt like reading an episode of Criminal Minds and I loved the courtroom story told from the jury members. Almost every courtroom drama is told from the suspect, prosecutor, or defense attorney’s point of view, so this one was a refreshing take on the typical legal thriller.
Give it a go and let me know what you think!