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The Holdout by Graham Moore
Legal thriller

The Holdout

by Graham Moore

Quick take

For the Serial fans: An infamous jury is stuck with another murky murder ten years after their controversial verdict.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SlowRead

    Slow build

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unlikeable

    Unlikeable narrator

Why I love it

Emily Schuman
Cupcakes & Cashmere, @emilyschuman

I consider myself a fairly voracious reader, particularly when it comes to thrillers, which I devour from the safety of our living room fireplace. Usually, I gravitate towards the, well, gory, where the heart-racing action is at the center of the novel (think The Woman in the Window). But in Graham Moore’s The Holdout, the action builds in a way that feels unconventional to thrillers—and it’s still every bit as gripping.

Ten years after their notorious decision to let a man accused of murdering his fifteen-year-old student free, a woman named Maya and the other nine members of the jury reunite to record a murder podcast. One juror, who’s remained obsessed with the trial—none of them, as it turns out, have been fully able to leave it behind—claims he has evidence that may flip their “Not Guilty” verdict. But then, the night before the recording, he’s murdered in Maya’s hotel room, and she suddenly finds herself the accused. 

Set against the backdrop of Los Angeles, the book reads like a contemporary take on Twelve Angry Men as Maya sets out to find the killer and their motivation (she even compares herself to Henry Fonda), with significantly more drama and twists. And, as someone who has read her fair share of thrillers, I can genuinely tell you this is the highest praise: I did not see the ending coming.

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It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. 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, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all their lives forever.

Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence—by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed.

As the present-day murder investigation weaves together with the story of what really happened during their deliberation, told by each of the jurors in turn, the secrets they have all been keeping threaten to come out—with drastic consequences for all involved.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Holdout.

Member thoughts

All (13712)
All (13712)
Love (6621)
Like (6518)
Dislike (573)
13862 ratings
  • 48% Love
  • 47% Like
  • 4% Dislike
  • Agawam, MA

    Murder • thriller • deception • in the shadows • page-turner • slow build • who done it ? • reliable narrator (boo) • large cast of characters • Christie-esque • minimal cliff hanger • tied up ending

  • Gouverneur, NY

    If you’re looking for a reason to fear jury duty, I’d encourage you to read The Holdout. It’s practically a case study in “worst case scenarios as a juror.” Let me start by saying I ADORED this book

  • Midlothian, VA

    This is a book that will keep you turning page after page well after you set a bedtime. There is no stopping once you’ve started! There’s nothing better than an unexpected twist and a “happy” ending!

  • Bridgman, MI

    I couldn’t wait to read this book, and it did not disappoint. The way it’s told through each juror’s perspective makes for many unexpected revelations. Go read this immediately — you wont regret it!

  • jacksonville, FL

    Truly one of the best I’ver ever read. I love the back and forth way this book is written between present day and individual jurors. You’ll never guess how it ends!! Wish I had room to write more here

  • Delmar, NY

    I really enjoyed this book. “Loved” is too strong, but it was fast moving and full of turns I appreciate in murder mysteries. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a quick, exciting read.

  • Windham, NH

    I honestly loved the narrator in this. And the twists that happened.... I couldn't put it down. I thought it was so we'll written and really enjoyed the different stories that unfolded throughout the book

  • Spokane, WA

    I am always up to a “ who done it” mystery. Reading through this book, there were so many possibilities. I honestly did not see the outcome. I love a story with a twist at the end. Moore nailed it

  • East Islip, NY

    I didn’t find the narrarator to be as unlikeable as I anticipated based off what was listed about the book and i definitely didn’t see the ending coming! I really like courtrooms dramas and thrillers.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    I’m a murderino so this book was right up my alley. Worried it would be far fetched but proved me wrong at every point. Structured BEAUTIFULLY & ???????? deep dive into prejudices of the justice system.

  • Littleton, CO

    I adored this book. The dual timelines, the reveals, the growth of the heroine, the narrative voice. I’m a true crime fan who’s always coveted jury duty and finds controversial verdicts fascinating.

  • Aberdeen, WA

    Such a great read, and held my attention the entire time! I had to find out whodunnit! It felt real and had to remind myself that its fiction. The legal system and the defense “stories” are shocking!

  • Columbia, SC

    Being a defense attorney myself, I have always wanted to sit on a jury. Really illustrated the weight and importance of that type of decision, and why it’s so important to stand your ground on a jury.

  • San antonio , TX

    So I’m not usually the thriller type but this was so good that even after I spoiled it for myself (yes, I read the last two pages) I was still reading like crazy to figure out how all the pieces fit.

  • Mingo Junction , OH

    This book was so good! The mystery had so many layers to it! The ending was so shocking and explained it all! I couldn’t stop reading this! The author really kept me intrigued! I totally understood it

  • Rochester , WA

    Fun read,great characters. I enjoyed the different POVstories. The endwasn’t a huge shock but there is enough going on that it was enjoyable until the end. Will definitely read more from this author.

  • Davidson, NC

    As an attorney, I will say the author’s character development of his protagonist, Maya, was spot on. Great story! Quick read. Fantastic character development. At least 1 twist you will not see coming

  • Royal Palm Beach, FL

    ???? my face through the entire end of this book! Some very interesting twists and turns. Enjoyed the layout of the chapters going from past to present and hearing for the different jurors on the case.

  • De Pere, WI

    This book was so intense. It was slow at first but things get crazy, fast. I’ve never read anything having to do with court before but it was still great. Twists and turns all throughout until the end

  • Islip Terrace, NY

    Wow. I’m not usually a fan of courtroom thrillers because they always seem to romanticize the judicial system, but this book did the exact opposite and challenged the very HUMAN nature behind it all.

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