Graham Moore The Holdout (Random House, $28.00) has written a 21st century Twelve Angry Men. Instead of Henry Fonda, Moore has created an obnoxious young woman named Maya, a recent college graduate. Living with her boyfriend and unemployed, she shows for jury duty thinking it might a cool diversion. She is the lone holdout after months of testimony in a murder trial over the death of a wealthy Los Angeles developer’s daughter.
Shortly after the trial commences, someone leaks the names of the jurors to the media and the judge orders the jury sequestered in a local omni hotel. The trial is expected to take another two to three months. One of her fellow jurors is an attractive young guy named Rick. The poor citizens who have succumbed to jury duty can’t watch television, leave the hotel, and are limited to short phone calls with relatives. So, in this mix you can probably guess what happens next. Contrary to the rules, Maya and Rick, a young male juror, begin sleeping together.
The love affair collapses when jury deliberations begin. Rick is adamant that the young black man, named Bobby, is guilty. So are the other ten. Over the next few weeks Maya persistently works on one juror after another until the last holdout for not guilty is Rick. The eventual verdict is a shocker. The jurors become the butt of jokes on Saturday night live.
Ten years later, after Rick has written a book about how stupid Maya was, and how unfortunately the killer was allowed to go free, a podcast group reassembles the jury for a hopefully profitable media event. Unfortunately, one of the former jurors is murdered and Maya becomes the top suspect.
It is a great plot. The ending is a surprise. I would give the effort an A, but the writing can be a bit pedestrian. Moore really loves the past–perfect tense slowing the flow down, but definitely worth a read.
Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of Justice Is for the Lonely and Justice Is for the Deserving, Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. Steve is a 2017 NY Big Book Award winner and a 2018 Independent Book Award recipient. You can purchase his books via http://steveclarkauthor.com/buy-the-book/ or request it at your local book store. Want to know more about Steve Clark, read more reviews or speak directly with Steve? Learn more about Steve at SteveClarkAuthor.com