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The Holdout 3.50The Holdout started off strong and then lost a bit of its edge It was still a good read, but not as good as it seemed to promise at the beginning It s the second novel I ve read this past year focused on the dynamics between jury members In this case, the story is told from Maya s perspective in two timelines Maya sat on a jury that acquitted a young teacher accused of murdering his teenage student Ten years later, Maya is a criminal defence lawyer, and she s invited to a reunion of all the jury members The old murder remains unsolved and the reunion leads to another mystery Clever idea, but it didn t entirely wow me in its execution Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy. This is an intriguing book that mostly keeps my interest throughout The start certainly catches your attention and let s just say it s a head turner Ten years ago Jessica Silver, daughter of wealthy Lou Silver, goes missing and her body never found Her teacher Bobby Nock is eventually charged with her murder and the case goes to trial The evidence against Nock is not overwhelming but is suggestive and one things for sure, the trial is an absolute cock up The jurors are expected to return a guilty verdict but one juror, Maya Searle, is not convinced of guilt After days and days of debate and counter debate the jurors reach a not guilty verdict much to the outrage of the court of public opinion It s this element of the book I find most disturbing as public opinion ruins many of the jurors lives Ten years on, one juror believes he has irrefutable evidence of Nock s guilt and the jury reassemble for a TV programme What happens next is unexpected and twisty demonstrating that the trial sets of a chain reaction of catastrophic events with an impact similar to a runaway train The story is told in alternate storylines from each jurors perspective at the time of the trial and now, principally from Maya s point of view This works well for most of the book but I think that towards the end of the book the final remaining jurors stories do not seem so relevant There is a lot I like about this book The case is really interesting, the trial is fascinating if flawed and the juror dynamics is excellent I like the dialogue between Maya and the other jurors and it feels a bit like knights armed combat You get two mysteries for the price of one, the story unfolds really well with a feeling of suspense and tension and it feels a bit like a movie There are some really good twists, than one shocker and the end is very unexpected I like that the author makes you think long and hard about the jury system and how one person with a strong point of view can persuade others to change their minds However, whether you have a jury or judges you will always have opinion because we are human and our brains are wired that way My only reservations about the book lie with its length, it s a bit overlong and the end is rather convoluted Overall, though I did enjoy it as I like the concept, the characters are really interesting especially Maya and the law aspect is intriguing and thought provoking Thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for the ARC Publication date in UK 20 2 20. 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 I was a huge fan of The Last Days of Night, so I was curious to see what Moore would write next Don t look for another historical fiction, this book is a legal thriller But it s equally as good Ten years ago, Maya Seale convinced her fellow jury members to acquit Bobby Nock for the murder of Jennifer Silver The question being was he guilty beyond a reasonable doubt As so often happens, the court of public opinion thought the jury got it wrong and each jury member suffered the fallout He gestured around the room Do you think any of us were allowed to go back to real life Now, Rick Leonard, one of the jury members, has convinced a documentary series that he has new evidence that proves Bobby guilty The series gathers all the jury members together again And then, Rick is killed in Maya s hotel room Of course, the police think she must have killed him Once again, Moore s writing is very strong and makes excellent points about racial identity among other topics He also knows the legal system The start of the book, with Maya trying to get damning evidence excluded was equal parts hysterical and unnerving Like Maya during the murder trial, I found myself fascinated by the ins and outs of the law I could totally understand the frustration of not being able to share their beliefs about the trial with anyone, even the other jurors I would have lost my mind The book alternates between the current day and the time of the trial The present day is all told from Maya s perspective, but the past is told using a variety of different jurors The book deals with both mysteries was Bobby guilty and who killed Rick I was correct in my guess about one mystery but the other caught me totally off guard And there continue to be twists even after we knew the who part of the whodunit Yes, it s a little unbelievable at the end, but it works Our human psychology is on full display here the blame game in particular Also, how quickly alliances can be made and then fall apart I loved how Moore developed Maya as a character This is a well thought out mystery sure to entertain fans of Louise Penny and John Lescroat My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book. First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Graham Moore and Random House for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.When this Graham Moore novel crossed my radar, I could not help but be interested to see how he d spin this story about a jury faced with a murder trial The book ended up being so much , perfect for those who love a good legal drama with a mystery mixed into the plot Maya Seale is a successful criminal defence attorney in Los Angeles, able to see things from the accused s point of view with ease However, she has not always had this wonderful job, having served on a highly controversial jury a decade before In 2009, Maya and fourteen others were gathered to hear the case of The People vs Robert Nock, in which the defendant is accused of killing one of his high school students Maya engages with the other jurors, none so than Rick Leonard, as they listen to the evidence and form their own opinions about his guilt The story depicts how this collection of everyday citizens made the baffling decision to find Nock not guilty, which created immediate vilification by the public As the story progresses, Moore introduces a second narrative in which the jurors are brought together by a production company to revisit their decision a decade later While Maya awkwardly encounters Rick Leonard again, the man who shared her bed during the trial and then stabbed her in the back during a tell all book after the trial, she also gets the chance to remember a lot of what happened during the trial When Leonard is found dead in Maya s hotel room, all eyes turn to her as the most likely suspect Maya, wanting to cleaner her name, collects a number of portfolios Leonard left behind and discovers new and scandalous information about their fellow jurors As the story flips between 2009 and the present, the readers can fill in all the pieces, from the trial and the current investigation to find out who might have killed Rick Leonard Additionally, there is the question of what really happened and how the jury s deliberations turned on a dime An intriguing legal drama that will leave the reader wondering how much they think they know about an apparent open and shut case, as well as the plight of those tasked with judging a man s life with filtered evidence Recommended to those who love all things courtroom, as well as the reader who likes a mystery that slowly unfolds.I always enjoy something with a legal flavour, particularly when it strays from the cookie cutter style of writing and leaves me wondering where things will go Maya Seale takes up the role as the protagonist in this piece, whose role is important in both the 2009 and modern narrative streams She went into the trial and was sure she could convince any of her fellow jurors of the truth she saw, thinking that Rick Leonard would be the least of her worries However, she was wrong and spent much of the flashback sections trying to convince them, while seeking to stay one step ahead in the present day narrative as she is accused of killing her one time lover who sought to hang her out to dry As she discovers new truths about her fellow jurors, she also must piece together what happened leading up to the trial that split the country Many other characters make their impact throughout, particularly through a narrative technique that Moore uses, allowing the reader to see things through a variety of perspectives This, in turn, permits the reader to have a better handle on all aspects of the story and the trial at its core Graham Moore does a masterful job at presenting a case to the reader, develops the courtroom arguments and pushes the reader into the deliberation room as well By writing chapters that tell things from the perspective of all the jurors, the reader is given the opportunity to see the story in a new light Adding the current time period narrative, the story s plot thickens even and everything that the reader and jurors thought they knew soon goes up in smoke Powerful in its delivery and easily read in short order, Moore treats the reader to a wonderful legal tale that is anything but straightforward Kudos, Mr Moore, for a lovely way to introduce me to your writing I will surely be back to read in the coming months Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge 3.5 starsHeld my interest and although I have some mixed feelings with some of the stuff at the end, overall this was a good read It was almost like I was getting two mysteries for the price of one as the story alternated between the jury trial from ten years ago as well the murder that occurred in the present time.Fifteen year old Jessica Silver, vanished ten years ago The case made national news as her family has money, lots of it Jessica s teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty five year old African American man, is suspected of murdering her and the case goes to trial Given the evidence, it seems likely the jury will convict However, juror Maya Seale is convinced Bobby is innocent and manages to change the minds of the rest of the jury members When they come back with a not guilty verdict, it is controversial and it certainly has an impact on their lives to say the least Ten years later a docuseries is being produced and the jury gets together to discuss the trial But one of the jury members winds up dead, and now Maya is the main suspect in his murder So, what exactly happened now and what exactly happened to Jessica ten years ago This was a fairly quick read and I think that is due to a couple reasons One, the alternating timelines as well as switching back and forth between characters keeps the action going at a good pace You could say Maya is the main character in this book but eventually you get to know the other jury members as well I also thought the author s screenwriting background shone through a bit with this book The writing is simple and to the point If you are looking for overly descriptive passages, this isn t the book for you That s not to say it isn t well written, as my interest level was high throughout the book.The author brings some substance to the story as race is one of the subjects that is explored throughout the book The story doesn t have a simple ending as there are multiple layers and there was one piece of the puzzle I didn t care for as it ventured out of realistic territory for me I also didn t find anything to be all that surprising or shocking but to be fair despite that I still enjoyed reading this book I think if you enjoy legal thrillers this is a pretty safe bet.I was provided an advance reader s copy in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 starsIn 2009, 25 year old high school music teacher Bobby Nock was tried for the murder of his 15 year old student Jessica Silver When Jessica the daughter of billionaire Lou Silver disappeared, the police found sexy text messages between herself and Nock and found traces of Jessica s blood in Nock s car The fact that Nock was black and Jessica was white exacerbated matters, and the teacher was quickly arrested and prosecuted.Maya Seale was one of a diverse bag of jurors at Nock s trial, and though the evidence against the teacher was strong, Maya had reasonable doubt Thus, though the eleven other jurors wanted to vote guilty, Maya turned them one by one..and Nock got a not guilty verdict Nock s acquittal resulted in vicious backlash from the public The fallout caused many jurors to regret their decision to let Nock off The most sorry of all was an African American juror named Rick Leonard, who wrote a scathing book that blamed Maya for the reviled verdict.Ten years later Maya, who believes it s better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent be wrongly punished is a criminal defense attorney who d prefer to hear nothing about Bobby Nock Unfortunately Maya is out of luck because the producers of a podcast called Murder Town are making an 8 hour docuseries about Nock, to be aired on Netflix.The producers ask the original jurors to cooperate with the show, and Maya who s still being excoriated by the public refuses However Rick Leonard claims that he s found definitive proof of Nock s guilt, which he ll reveal when he s interviewed for the podcast Maya can t resist hearing this proof , and reluctantly agrees to participate in the program.The jurors are assembled at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles, where they were sequestered during the trial, and are even given their old rooms The attendees meet for an ice breaker on the evening before the interviews, and talk about the trial and the podcast.Later that night a juror is found dead in Maya s room In the ultimate ironic twist, Maya is arrested for the juror s murder.The book is a dual mystery in which two cases are highlighted the killing of Jessica Silver and the murder of the juror Maya, who s out on bail, aims to prove she s innocent Hence she noses around against the explicit instructions of her defense attorney, Craig Richards, who tells her to lay low.In fact Craig wants Maya to claim she killed Rick in self defense even if she s completely innocent to ensure she doesn t go to prison Apparently Craig doesn t care if the real killer is caught The murder trial of Bobby Nock has a whiff of racism and classism, which continues later, when Nock is convicted of disseminating child pornography As a result Nock has to register as a sex offender, which means that he ll be persecuted by the media forever.The book is told from the rotating points of view of Maya and other jurors, so we know what people were thinking and doing during and after Nock s trial, and what they re up to at the present time There are some surprising revelations and the strong suggestion that lawyers don t care who s innocent or guilty.they just want to win.I d recommend this novel to readers who enjoy mysteries and legal thrillers Thanks to Netgalley, the author Graham Moore and the publisher Random House for a copy of the book You can follow my reviews at Being a juror on a high profile murder case has got to be a thrill ride and a half looking at the bloody evidence and weighing witness statements, the savage craziness of the media interest, then finally getting to decide the fate of a man charged with murder It s got to be just like tv, right Exciting Maybe even a shot at your own fame 15 minutes or otherwise.But what Maya Seale got wasn t quite fame, it was INFAMY Not convinced of Bobby Nock s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, she campaigned for a Not Guilty verdict and eventually persuaded, or wore down, all the other jurors The result was spectacularly unpopular, provoking uproar in both the courtroom and the real world, and changing the jurors lives forever Now it s 10 years later and they re back together again Apparently there s new evidence to consider and questions to be asked Everyone wants to know if they got it wrong But when one juror ends up dead, it looks like someone s willing to kill to keep their secrets buried for good You can tell the author has screenwriting experience, The Holdout would be well served as a slick tv series or film Nevertheless, this is a surprisingly issue led book for something that s also a hell of a lot of fun Racism stands front and centre, with the black defendant Bobby Nock identified as the murderer of a pretty blonde girl from the right kind of rich family in no small part due to the colour of his skin The intersections of race and justice are examined throughout the novel, particularly through the multifaceted levels of expectation, misunderstanding, and outright prejudice The notion that race or skin colour has to do with guilt innocence than the evidence is cleverly developed through the varied perspectives of the jurors Multiple POVs reveal the action in a dual timeline, the original period of the trial and the present day search for the killer s More than the did he do it mystery or even the who s the killer now question, it s the author s examination of justice via jury that fascinates All the big social issues are here in microcosm and while the sideways commentary on fairness, class, race, justice, and the individual are intriguing, I wish there had been of it Especially because the plot did edge into the far fetched at times Even so, while readers might guess something of the ending if they know the rules of storytelling, knowing one of the twists didn t ruin the finale in any way The book kept some surprises close Fast paced and offering a genuine good time, this is well worth reading before it undoubtedly hits the screen.ARC via Netgalley Graham Moore s legal thriller is a compulsive and enthralling novel, based in Los Angeles, that points out many of the shortfalls of the justice system, from law enforcement, media intensity and social media, right through to the court trial and the jury system Moore exposes the multiple ways that society throughout its racist judicial system stacks the cards against black defendants In 2009, 25 year old black music teacher, Bobby Nock, is on trial for the murder of 15 year old schoolgirl, Jessica Silver, the daughter of billionaire, Lou Silver There is no body, but the prosecution led by Ted Morningstar, think they have a slam dunk case with the evidence they present, only to find themselves being confounded As the trial sets to conclude, the jury, with the exception of Maya Seale, plan to deliver a guilty verdict Maya does not fall in with the others, instead she turns each juror so that Bobby Nock is found not guilty.However, each juror found themselves facing public and media excoriation for their controversial verdict, bringing with it notoriety and a raft of life changing consequences 10 years on, Maya is now a successful lawyer, a partner at Cantwell Myers, invited to a reunion of the original jury members at the same hotel they had all been sequestered in The Murder Town podcast team are turning the trial into a Netflix docuseries, in which Rick Leonard, one of the jury members, is planning to present incontrovertible evidence of how they all got it wrong and Bobby Nock was as guilty as sin A reluctant Maya attends, and in a narrative that goes back and forth in time, what happened at the original trial is slowly revealed, and in the present, the reunion kicks off a cycle of death and destruction that threatens to claim Maya as a victim.Moore writes a fast paced, intense and riveting legal drama, peppered with twists, underlining from a legal perspective, that often while the truth can be an accurate reflection of what occurs, it can prove to be a poor legal strategy, leaving defendents with the stark choice of the high likelihood of being found guilty if they tell the truth or have a better outcome by lying Whilst feeling ambivalent about the ending, I found this to be a highly entertaining read that touches on the serious issues of ethics, morality, race and justice, or aptly, injustice There are instances where a suspension of disbelief will be required, but otherwise this is an engaging legal thriller that I recommend Many thanks to Orion for an ARC. DNF 51%I just can t finish this one.Maybe it s the third person narrative, I don t know, but I m so disconnected from this book that my red low battery icon has been showing since around 20% into it Don t let me discourage you from picking it up, different books for different fry cooks, amiright sorry, that s all I could come up with sees myself out I was provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author: Graham Moore

Graham Moore is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award winning screenwriter

His screenplay for THE IMITATION GAME won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.His first two novels, THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT 2016 and THE SHERLOCKIAN 2010 , were published in 24 countries and translated into 19 languages.

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