What happens when a young black teacher is on trial for the murder of a wealthy LA businessman’s daughter (who was his student) and there isn’t a body? You end up with a very long, very publicized trial, and a jury who can’t reach a decision. Or can they? In a similar fashion to Twelve Angry Men, can one women change the minds of the rest of the jury to vote not guilty?
The Holdout is a brilliant mystery by Graham Moore, a great writer and screenwriter (with an Oscar under his belt). The story weaves back and forth between 2009 when the trial is happening and ten years later when the jury is getting together for a televised reunion about the infamous case. It also weaves between each of the juror’s stories. They all have a history and many have something to hide. Each of their lives has been altered by their time on the jury. Our heroine, Maya, has become a high powered defense lawyer, because of her role on the jury. One of the jurors is murdered, Maya is arrested for the crime, and she begins to unwind both the current day mystery (the juror’s murder) and what really happened to a young girl ten years before.
Moore sheds some light on the legal profession. A pretty negative one. Where lawyers don’t care about the truth or who actually committed the crime, but will tell any story that gets their client off. The resolution of the mystery is multilayered, so you may figure out some but there is more to come!
I highly recommend this book, a fast read and an entertaining mystery! And while you are at it, read Moore’s other books: The Last Days of Night and The Sherlockian which are also excellent.