Book Review: The Holdout

As someone who works in podcasts and very recently served on a Grand Jury, this book spoke to me because it covers both of those things and even mentions Sports Illustrated (my previous job). I had to read it. But art imitating life isn’t enough to hold my interests; it has to be good. And this book is.

Ten years ago, Maya Seale served on the jury of a very high profile case. The high school-aged daughter of a powerful Los Angeles billionaire is murdered and her young black teacher is the prime suspect. Eventually, the jury votes “not guilty,” due, primarily, to Maya’s persuasion. Turns out, most of the country disagrees with Maya and she is vilified, along with her fellow jurors. In the decade since the trial, they’ve all tried to put the case behind them; yet, they begrudgingly agree to participate in filmed reunion for a popular true crime podcast. All is fine and dandy until one of the jurors is found murdered and Maya is again arguing that someone – herself – is not guilty.

This book has the twists and turns you want from a good thriller (makes sense, considering author Graham Moore is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game) but also reminds us of how racial biases work their way into our decision making process. It’s this extra layer that made this book special to me.

4 out of 5 stars.

Pair with: Ice cold water. No straw.