The Holdout- Book Review

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Book Summary: 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, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect. 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 their lives forever.

Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense 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 with 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.

Book cover and summary from Amazon: The Holdout on Amazon

3.5 stars

I want to start by saying, I don’t typically read or watch courtroom dramas, I never thought it was something I would enjoy but I really enjoyed reading this book.

I absolutely LOVED the way the author switched back and forth between the trial and ten years later at the reunion and subsequent murder investigation of one of the former jurors. The flashbacks to the trial were from the perspectives of each of the jurors which was a really interesting way to present the trial and what was going through each of their minds during the process.

I also really enjoyed the look into the jury process. I’ve been called for jury duty but have never been selected to sit on a trial and the process and how it was described was fascinating.

The book was well paced and I definitely didn’t feel I was trudging through any parts but there were a few things that sit right and that’s why I didn’t rate this at 4 or 5 stars.

Spoilers below:
Several times during the trial, Maya (the main character) says something to the effect of ‘they’ll never really know’ so when the “big reveal” happened in the last 5 pages or so, it seemed really forced and kind of a let down. I would’ve much preferred it going unsaid.

The other thing that bugged me is how much she was involved in her own investigation despite being told by her boss to do nothing. She knowingly could’ve compromised evidence or witnesses and screwed herself. But I get it, it’s a story and how else would we the readers been privy to the investigation if not through the main character.

With those two little issues aside, this was a very enjoyable read and definitely opened my eyes to a new genre of books that I’ve avoided in the past.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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