cover image The Holdout

The Holdout

Graham Moore. Random House, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-59177-8

This stellar novel from bestseller Moore (The Last Days of Night) takes a searing look at the U.S. justice system, media scrutiny, and racism. A decade earlier, during a high-profile L.A. murder trial, idealist Maya Seale persuaded her fellow jurors to acquit African-American high school teacher Bobby Nock of killing Jessica Silver, his wealthy white 15-year-old student. The controversial trial had a powerful impact on all the jurors, most of whom regretted the verdict. Maya was vilified in the press, but the most stinging rebuke came from juror Rick Leonard, who published a book blaming the verdict on Maya’s bullying. Now the producers of Murder Town, a true crime documentary series, want to do a 10-year anniversary special with Maya, who’s since become a defense attorney, as the key participant. During a reunion of the jurors, one of them is murdered in Maya’s hotel room. The narrative builds tension as it shifts among the voices of the various jurors, including Maya. Moore has set a new standard for legal thrillers. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Feb.)