This week’s review is The Holdout by Graham Moore. One of my favorite ways to rest is by curling up with a good book. Like movies and music, all genres appeal to me, and I give all books a chance to be ‘heard’!
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The Holdout by Graham Moore
Have you ever been excited to read a book, anticipating the thrill of the read and the feeling of being left on the edge of your seat? That is how I felt about The Holdout. I haven’t read reviews prior to reading it, but the premise of the storyline was promising. I was vastly disappointed, however, it wasn’t a terrible book.
A young black male teacher, Bobby Knock, is being accused of the disappearance of his (much younger) white female student, Jessica Silver. All the evidence, as the prosecution reveals, points to Knock being the killer of the presumably dead student. It’s up to the jury to decide his fate. And all of the jurors, citizens of the Los Angeles area and home to both victim and perpetrator agree that Knock is guilty. Except for one juror, Maya Seale – the holdout.
Maya, a young white female, believes the defendant is being accused simply because of his race. She believes he is the scapegoat for the missing daughter of a well-known and wealthy local developer, Lou Silver, for what she believes is a racial justice system. The evidence is circumstantial, she believes, and she will go to great lengths to convince her fellow jurors of it.
During the publicly charged trial, the anonymity of the jurors is lost forcing the judge to sequester all twelve jurors for their safety. For five months these twelve strangers are unable to talk to anyone about the trial expected to one another. They are limited to contact with their families during that time, forcing them to turn to one another for the little comfort they can receive.
Even though intimate relations are forbidden, Maya develops a sexual relationship with a fellow juror, Rick. She believes Rick will see the injustice against Knock and will also vote ‘not guilty’. When he does not, she heartbroken. Slowly she convinces each juror to vote ‘not guilty’ and they set Bobby Knock free. The general public is outraged and shuns the entire jury for their verdict.
Ten years later, during a reunion for a documentary of the series, Rick claims to have unwavering evidence that Knock in fact killed Jessica Silver. However, he is killed in Maya’s hotel room the night before his big reveal. Maya is arrested for his murder and ironically finds herself in the same position as Bobby Knock a decade prior – all evidence points to her as being the killer.
Through the telling of present and ten years ago, the truth of Jessica’s disappearance and Rick’s killer are revealed through each juror’s perspective. Will Maya be able to find the real killer of her former lover or will her fate rest in the hands of twelve strangers of the jury just as Bobby Knock did?
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The author makes a few Agatha Christie references throughout the book, and I’m guessing his writing is based on her style of writing. I don’t know because I don’t recall reading any of her books. (I did recently get my first Christie novel in March’s Book of the Month Club box, so I’m looking forward to it.)
The plot is intriguing, but the development of it is slow, predictable, and does not leave me on the edge of my seat. This is not to say others will not like it. I had high hopes for it which left me wanting more from it. The ‘twists’ didn’t really twist because the evidence of the reveals is strung throughout the novel.
I’m hoping this is Graham Moore’s first book because he does have a lot of potential in his writing. Even though I was disappointed with the outcome of this book, I will read another of his novels before deciding if I prefer his works or not.
Graham Moore receives award for adapted Screenplay
Book of the Month Club
I enjoyed books so much that I joined the Book of the Month Club to continue receiving the latest and greatest books via mail. Some of the books are exclusive to BOTM club members a month prior to their official publishing date! Each month I’m excited about the monthly selections, and it’s tough to select just one. (And when I can’t decide on one, I can add additional books for a small add-on charge and – as always – shipping is included in the monthly membership fee.) Can’t find one you want? That’s okay, too! Skip a month, pocket the credit to spend next month, and you won’t be charged for that current month.
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Book Ratings and Reviews
Each book I review is based on my opinion. This does not mean you will agree with the review or love/like/dislike the book, too. There’s a quote that says, “No two persons ever read the same book” by Edmund Wilson, and it’s quite true!
Do you have a book to recommend? I’d love to hear about it! Contact me.