A few years ago, The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore, was surprisingly among my top three books of that year. Surprising, because that novel was about the invention of the light bulb. Who da thought? Not only did I learn a lot about electricity from The Last Days of Night, But I also learned that Graham Moore was an extremely talented writer. The Holdout once again demonstrates the author’s talent, this time telling a story of the power of persuasion.
Jessica Silver is a 15-year-old girl, missing and presumed dead. Not just dead, but murdered by Bobby Nock, one of her teachers and African American. He is, in fact, on trial for her murder, and it appears to be an open-and-shut case. However, after lengthy deliberation, Maya Seale, the only jury member to question Nock’s guilt, manages to convince the other jury members that the prosecution hasn’t proved his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They vote to acquit. However, one of the jury members regrets what he did, and spends the next few years trying to prove Nock’s guilt, even though he can’t be tried again.
Ten years later, the jury members reunite to participate in filming of a documentary about the trial. Later that night, one of the jury members — the one who regretted his decision — is found murdered, and Maya, now herself a successful defense attorney, is the chief suspect.
This new murder investigation provides clues to the original murder trial in unexpected ways. The author cleverly gives the reader insights into the minds of each juror by allowing each one to tell their story. Their own stories leads to a surprising conclusion.
I loved this book, and recommend it very highly.