One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?
‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’
Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.
Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.
Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.
The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?
Hi and welcome to my review of The Holdout! Massive thanks to Tracy Fenton for the tour invitation and to Orion for the e-ARC via NetGalley.
Heavens above, what a book! That’s really all I have to say, just, buy the book, it’s a doozy, don’t ask questions, buy it, read it, thank me later!
Need more info? Well okay then, let’s go into a bit more detail. The Holdout is part crime thriller, part psychological thriller, part legal thriller, spread over two timelines, namely 1999 and present day.
In 1999 there is a major court case and it’s this case that forms the foundation for the present-day events. A wealthy white teenage girl has disappeared, presumably murdered, but no body has been found. The little evidence there is seems to point to her teacher, a young black man with whom she apparently had some kind of inappropriate relationship. Fifteen people are drafted into jury duty, twelve of them will have to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. When the trial is over and the jurors convene, there is only one juror who refuses to convict a man on such uncertain grounds. Her name is Maya and she manages to sway the other jurors. The defendant walks, only he walks out into a country convinced of his guilt…
Fast-forward to ten years later. Maya has become a successful defence attorney. She has put to excellent use her experience as juror and the criticism her decision evoked in friends and strangers alike, but she’s nonetheless convinced that she’s put that whole ordeal behind her. Until one of the jurors contacts her to tell her about new evidence, inviting her to a reunion for a true crime documentary, and Maya starts to realise that bygones might not be bygones after all. When one of the jurors is found dead at the reunion, Maya is the main suspect. How to prove her innocence? And who would want to kill one of the jury members now, and why?
With the court case in one storyline and its repercussions plus a murder investigation in the other, both storylines are teeming with questions I needed answers to and there is mystery galore! Presented with the evidence such as it was I had to agree with Maya, in my opinion there just wasn’t enough of it to convict. But was Maya right? Was I? The Holdout raises a lot questions about court proceedings and justice. It made me wonder what I’d do if I were selected for jury duty, which side do you err on: you don’t want to convict an innocent person, but you don’t want a guilty one to get away scot-free either, do you? How do you live with setting a man free without truly knowing if he was in fact innocent, what if you let a murderer walk? Ten years after the trial the jurors still don’t know if they did the right thing and Maya finds herself not only trying to find out who killed one of the jurors now, but also if she was right in 1999.
For those of you who can’t live with uncertainty: all is revealed and well, truth be told, I was left reeling! This is such an excellent thriller start to finish, sucking you in from the start, very entertaining but also thought-provoking, and the finale is the juicy cherry on top of a glorious sundae! The combination of various subgenres of the classic thriller really worked for me, and the reveals took me by surprise, although, looking back, I suppose I could have worked them out, the clues are there, I just never recognised them as such. Highly recommended!