“The Holdout” Review

I was fascinated by the new Graham Moore fiction book, “The Holdout.” Several quotes in the book have stuck with me and kept me thinking about them, even after finishing the book several days ago . . . #1 – “Telling the truth isn’t always the best legal strategy.” and #2 – “The only thing worse than being wrong is having a bottomless need to prove that you never were.”

“The Holdout” is a thriller that is set within the judicial system. Maya Seale, a criminal defense attorney, is the main character. I liked her and was drawn to her sense of honor. The plot alternates between the present time and events that happened ten years earlier when Maya was a juror for five months in a high-profile murder trial. (At that time, Maya was very young and had not even started to pursue a career as a lawyer.) During the old trial, a black teacher, Bobby Nock, was acquitted of killing a white billionaire’s 15 year old daughter, Jessica Silver. A poll showed that 84% of Americans at that time believed that the jurors had let a killer go free. (That scenario brought to mind many trials in the past few years in our country.) 

In the current timeline, it is the ten year anniversary of the Bobby Nock trial and all the jurors have been asked to gather for a documentary and to see what new evidence might be revealed. One of the gathered jurors is found murdered and a whole new sequence of events unfolds… What relationships are discovered between Nock and Silver? Between certain jurors? Between jurors and the Silver family? Between jurors and Nock??? So many questions keep the twists and turns coming so fast that I did not want to put down the book!

“The Holdout” had me questioning our legal system, the presentation of evidence or lack of that evidence and the genuine belief that I had that ‘the truth will come out at the trial.’ Despite the problem with truth and our justice system, there truly were honorable characters in this book. In the end, “The Holdout” gave me hope that even if “truth isn’t always the best legal strategy,” the good people in this world can impose their will into situations and influence outcomes. If you enjoy the law, murder mysteries, and lots of turns of events – Read “The Holdout” by Graham Moore!

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