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3.9 out of 5
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  • Gripping & Thrilling!

    This is the first novel I've read by Graham Moore and it's both gripping and thrilling! Told partly in the present, and partly from a decade ago, this is the story of the jurors in a murder trial; what occurs now is inexplicably connected to what happened then - and it makes rather fine reading! As the one juror who believed the accused's innocence, Maya Seale managed to convince eleven people who considered him guilty to reverse their decision and release the defendant. Ten years on, Maya is a top lawyer, successful in her career until the case from the past rears it's ugly head again . . . What a story! Wrapped up tightly, this unravels slowly as we get to know everything about Maya's past and how it relates to the present. Raising questions of racism amongst others, this is an intrinsically complicated tale which, with skilled writing, comes across so easily! It grabbed my attention from the very first and kept me fascinated until the very end. There is so much that I never saw coming but, in all honesty, I was so invested in events that I just never thought about things. A marvellously complete story, beautifully written and I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author. A cracking thriller, highly recommended and one I consider fully worthy of all five sparkling stars.

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  • Graham Moore - The Holdout

    A reunion they have never really wanted since all of them only wanted to forget what happened ten years ago. When lawyer Maya Seale is first approached by Rick, she refuses, but her boss convinces her to take part. They were the jury on the most popular case of the time: 15-year-old Jessica had vanished and was supposedly murdered by her teacher Bobby Nock with whom she obviously had had an affair. Even though the body had never been found, the whole country was convinced that the black man had killed the daughter of a rich Californian real estate mogul. However, the jurors followed Maya’s arguing in finding Bobby not guilty. It took Rick, one of the jurors, a decade of his life to investigate privately and now, he has come up with new evidence he wants his co-jurors and the whole world to see. They return to the hotel where they were kept away from the public for months, but then, Rick is found dead – in Maya’s room. All is just too obvious: the one person who is responsible for the killer of a young girl running free now wants to protect herself by keeping the evidence secret. Thus, consequently, Maya is arrested. The reader follows Maya Seale in her quest to prove her innocence. You know from the beginning that she is not a reckless killer and that she’s got nothing to hide, but much more interestingly than this already answered question is the one about the legal system: Maya’s chances of being acquitted from murder rise tremendously if she pleads guilty of manslaughter – there does not seem to be a chance of just telling the truth and it simply being acknowledged. So the interesting question actually is: how does the truth have to be framed, or to put it more explicitly: manipulated, to get the result you want? Graham Moore’s “The Holdout” is a real page-turner. Once you have started, you cannot simply put the novel aside. It is fascinating to see how the law works, to follow the arguing of the lawyers and their weighing the different versions of truth. I also liked how the author created a jury of very peculiar individuals who all have their small secrets they want to hide. Yet, ultimately, they all come out, some with more, others with less consequences. The big mystery looming over the whole story is who killed Jessica Silver and why. This is very cleverly solved but also challenges the reader’s moral value system. At the end of the day, life is complicated and, at times, you have to weigh different perspectives against each other and you may come to the conclusion that one version of truth might be better than another. A gripping legal thriller full of suspense and a lot of food for thought.

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