Book Review: The Holdout, by Graham Moore

The Holdout, by Graham Moore

The Holdout by Graham Moore

Published by Random House on February 18, 2020

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: hardcover, 336

Source: purchased

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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.

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Explosive and compelling, The Holdout is a mystery/legal thriller done right. 

In this book, Maya is a defense attorney who was part of a jury ten years ago that decided the prime suspect in a murder trial was not guilty. Now a true crime docuseries reassembles the jury with a particular focus on Maya. When one of the jurors is found dead, Maya must prove her own innocence by finally getting to the bottom of the case. It follows Maya’s perspective in the present and reveals the past through the point of view of each of the other jurors in turn. The combination of the two mysteries in the two timelines and alternating perspectives in this manner worked together to create a book I couldn’t put down. 

Well plotted and fast paced, The Holdout moves along at a nice clip. The characters are also well thought out. Not all of them are likable, but I felt a connection to Maya and found myself rooting for her every step of the way. This also delves into themes of race and bias quite a bit without feeling forced, adding some nice depth to the story. 

Some of the plot points in The Holdout seem far-fetched, but I can’t say that I cared. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and could easily see it being adapted for the screen – especially with the author’s background in screenwriting. Recommended. 

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Holdout, by Graham Moore

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